Saturday, October 31, 2009

to avoid future pains... back into practice

“When pains that are yet to come can be and are to be avoided” (Iyengar) through yoga and practice in the here and now.
Let’s try that, devote ourselves to the practice in today, and see if the pains, that are yet to come can be avoided. I love that, as an experiment :-)
I see evidence of this both physically, yoga gives me the smoothest, happiest body ever, and prevents physical illness in so many ways. But I love the consequence for my mind and spirit… If I really dedicate myself into the now, all future problems and pains are gone – immediately. That is my experience of the absorbance of the moment. Sometimes when I go to teach or take a class, I can be filled up with fear or resentments of what will come after class or next day or even the upcoming 90 minutes (I’m too tired or not motivated enough for the class). But as soon as the first asana starts it’s all gone – magic and wonders in my everyday life!
Desikachar writes that it’s through increasing clarity we anticipates, prevents, reduce or accepts painful effects. For me that’s the same as Iyengar writes.
To my teaching it increases my priority of talking about the present moment, and what ever can move us into this precious space. To me personally it confirms that it’s true that pain is to be avoided :-) but there is one way out of all pain (perseverant practice), not one ego-way for each fear/pain. I still love the gayatri mantra – it calls for this clarity that leads to being free.
Jenni Saunte

Friday, October 23, 2009

trial and error and being new

“Painful effects from any object or situation can be a result of one or more of the following – changes in the perceived object, the desire to repeat pleasurable experiences and the strong effect of conditioning from the past. In addition, changes within the individual can be contributory factors.” Desikachar translation.

This reminds me of my reactions towards change, I’m a habit-lover :-) I really am. My attachment to inner or outside order – to be in a certain way can be strong, and when these orders change (according to their nature, thanks I.) I react, sometimes with fear, sometimes with confusion or resistance. This also reminds me of the idea of finding my starting point before class, to work in authenticity (of here and now) instead of working according to my thought of how it was yesterday or usually is or how my persistent idea of how it should be.

“The wise man knows that owing to fluctuations, the qualities of nature, and subliminal impressions, even pleasant experiences are tinged with sorrow, and keeps aloof from them.” Iyengar translation.

What am I afraid of? If I don’t act to get satisfaction, I won’t ever feel satisfied again? Pain is all there is :-) I know, from personal experience, that there are other soft sides of “feel good” and “satisfied”. Well, maybe I lack words, but these softies don’t seem to come from action, but rather from neutrality or detachment. How can I be enthusiastic and neutral at the same time? Well, right now, there is one experience that pops up, when I do my daily routine, and just do it even though I didn’t want to when I rolled out my mat, to start with. I’ve tried to experience that after some breaths the resentment is gone, and after some more breaths, there is a commitment to the breath and movement I’m in, and a fickle enthusiasm, that reminds me more of intensity than “it’s soo important” what I do.

To my class it inspires me to work with trial and error and being new.
It is not so important what the result of the asana is, we can be assured that everything will be ok and just give it a try. Just do it – trial and error - don’t over think it.
When I discover a habit I sometimes break it, like; take another place in the room. Sometimes I go back to my habit (less noise or less windy) and sometimes I just change it whenever I see that it just become a crutch. To try something new gives me intensity (both pleasant and unpleasant) and it makes my “very important and professional” role or "this is the only right way" vaporise.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

to be born again

“The consequences of an action will be painful or beneficial depending on weather the obstacles were present in the conception or implementation of the action.” Desikachar translation.
So pain/pleasure doesn’t come from the situation or what the other part did. This sets me free, in so many ways. I always felt that people telling me their judgement after class (you are so good or this is not right) isn’t real. I never known why, but this sutra spell it out for me. My students’ judgment has more to do with their inner world than with my teaching and the right or wrong action. Mostly this sutra is smashing a lifetime’s focus on “everybody out there”. This is why “keep the focus on my own mat” works wonders for me.

This has been a week with two new revelations about karma :-) Iyengars focus on karmic law stirs something up… I always heard that you need to be good to get born into something good or better. It always meant flesh and blood and funeral for me. I never connected it with dying an ego-death, and awakening as rebirth. This is very nutritious ideas for me, and they are still … digested (suddenly don’t like the metaphor ;).
This week Iyengar continues to translate the sutra into karma understanding, and gives us the goal for the yoga-practitioner; “to minimize imprints of action”, both good and bad imprints. As I read him, it is to be set free from karmic law of cause and effect. Again, this shakes my foundation. I’ve been so focused on the doing good to get good – idea, that the freedom and being set free from, this ever ongoing chase for “feel-good” slipped my attention. Very interesting, more to digest (hatch upon/ponder upon/contemplate on…).
Bouanchaud puts words on why, both good and bad imprints are to be avoided “(Patanjali) once more questions our natural tendency to think that unhappiness comes from others and suggest we be very careful about our real motives in the present” and he points out that pleasure and pain are imprints that can foster dependence and hatred/avoidance.
In class this gives the idea to just do, not think. Observe. Maybe we do the same asana, when we don’t seek pleasure as when we seek, but the inner condition is free from the obstacle of “expectation or addiction” to what comes out of doing the asana. There is space for something new to happen. To be born again :-)
Jenni Saunte

Saturday, October 10, 2009

observing with awareness

So they have slightly different take on this one… Iyengar connects the sutra with the teaching of karma – what you send out you get back, and he writes about past and future lifetimes. Bouanchaud digs into the self-observation, he talks about how to get free, from this circle (the karma-circle that Iyengar focuses on, as I read the text). In my reading, Desikachar clarifies; why to do yoga, or the promises of yoga, my motivation for even attempting to work with self-observation. “As long as the obstacles prevail, they will affect action in every respect- in its execution, duration and consequences.” In “home made easy karma-language” as long as you keep doing what you don’t like (actions influenced by obstacles) you will be doing what you don’t like. Hmm, probably to tired to write stuff like that. But this is the beauty of it all, to me. To just write this, even though I’m tired, there is not much “pride” to get by putting my name on the text written when I’m tired. But there is loads of possibilities for self-observance to get, by seeing me write in different moods and wants.

I love that Bouanchaud asks us to consider how the action we’re about to take might affect my quality of existence, my perception and how I spend my time and pleasure in my daily life.
It’s a lucky day if I have time to consider this before every action :-) But that is probably not the idea. Nothing would get done.
I’ve been listening to a guide, he talks about awareness, if we use the power to be aware instead of the thinking, when we do the observation, another kind of truth will avail itself to us.
Maybe this is what Bouanchaud means when he writes that we analyze events “by observing them as we live them”. It’s all happening in the now.
Love and Namasté

Saturday, October 03, 2009

reality and obstacles

Desikachar: “Our actions and their consequences are influenced by these obstacles. The consequences may or may not be evident at the time of the action.”
This is a big one and I can see it unfolds in the coming sutras. I think I need to make it a bit more concrete. To me, in my life and in my asana work, my prejudice and my concepts are both vitally important and big obstacles. They most certainly influence my actions and consequences of these actions.
For many years my labelling me as “weak” kept me from doing certain asanas. The concept was so strong that it overruled my experience in the asana. It was always an awakening to suddenly see that “Hey! I’m doing it!!” This is also true in other areas of my life. For a long time my concepts of a “good” and “bad” day, overruled the experience of the day. I need these concepts to communicate with other people and to relate and play with some of my minds capabilities, but I also need to let go of concepts. They are set in a way that they never express reality. Reality, for me, is richer, more personal, more nuanced, it is moving, flexible, ever changing and reality is whole, full, and dense. I am in reality and my concepts are a communication or mind- stimulating games. So, if I connect this with the last sutra, when my prejudice or my concepts solely rules my understanding of reality I need to move towards a state of meditation.
I still have Iyengar and Bouanchaud to read this weekend.
Love and Namasté
Jenni Saunte