Saturday, July 31, 2010

awakening and evening review :-)

Desikachar translation: In the state of yoga “Then the breath transcends the level of the consciousness” sutra 2.51. I love that he writes “It is not possible to be more specific” Yes! Gotta go there, gotta try, do, experience -not all this talking. Can’t learn to surf by watching the tv… go, do, try, experience. And it is a language-philosophically-logic fulfilment; not trying to explain what is beyond consciousness.

"The fourth type of pranayama transcends the external and internal pranayamas, and appears effortless and non-deliberate" (Iyengar translation, sutra 2.51)

I relate this to "being breathed" instead of being the "breather". Iyengar writes that this state goes beyond the ordinary pranayama retention and conscious contact to the breath. He writes about the experience of an awakening and the experience of being penetrated by "the light of intelligence" to our innermost being.

My focus will be on awakening; to live as awakened as ever possible in every situation, every relation. Morning as a focal point, this is really needed after my long journey I have had problems starting up my morning routine (kids still sleeping and Copenhagen still sleeping). Right now, thinking about awakening a big yawn comes to me, the picture of a cat waking up and stretching the back - so some long stretches will be included.

I will take some space here to write about my evening review. For a month (or 47 days) I've been relating to the yamas and niyamas before I go to sleep in the evening.
You can see the "evening-review-format" here.
These are some halfway reflections:
I love writing about how consideration have been a part of my day. I love discovering that it usually is a part of my day. I don't think, however, that my focusing on this makes me more considerate...
Often the considerate experiences are the same as the unfolding of "being at service", but not always...

"Resisting desire" have turned into the same as "moderation", since living with my desires as the driver, lack moderation in all kind of ways. I also think this change of meaning has something to do with not having a longing for other peoples stuff or stuff, this haven't been a big part of these 47 days :-) This is an old experience with writing reviews every day, if the question/stimuli don’t relate the inspiring level turns the question into something that does ring a bell (living moderation)

"cleanliness" and "the removal of impurities" could be seen as the same thing, but to me it have been turned into - cleanliness practical hygienic actions - spiritual life as karma yoga or spiritual life as the servant... and removal of impurities as actions or situations that cleanses mind, unfolds pure being, innocence, truth...

I love that work and study is something on my agenda every day - and the whole idea of vacation is abnormal, fit very well with my experience of how to live and not loose sight of "the goal".

The two non-yama related questions: "What did I put into the stream of life today?" and "How have I unfolded unity with my past and how have I lived meditation and visions for today?" are old questions in my review but what power they bring!! Presence of my meditations purpose and presence of becoming more whole more in unity. It was good for me to add these two questions.

I've been reading about the seven deadly sins and the seven virtues :-) and I must say I think the yamas-niyamas got it all. For example, the check into the "moderation" kind of includes all of it :-)

So this is it for now -
I'm moving my classes after 6½ year into a new baby yoga place here in Copenhagen: Yogacentralen You are allways welcome!
Jenni Saunte

Read more about Yogacentralen at: and

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pranayama and the forgotten sutra :-)

This week is still in the name of pranayama, sutra 2.50 “Pranayama has three movements: prolonged and fine inhalation, exhalation and retention; all regulated with precision according to duration and place.” (Iyengar translation)
This is really a hard text for me to read, this much I get; during inhalation the inner body (the seer) moves toward the outer body. In exhalation the outer body moves towards the inner seer. The first three components of breath we’ve touched and consciously contacted in pranayama classes with Glenn and also the retention following inhalation (antara kumbhaka).

Iyengar gives us some guidelines or focusing points. If the retention after the inhalation “establishes consecration of the seer” if the retention of the exhalation establishes “frees one from the four aims of life”.

Dear – if you want to know more about these four aims of life ;-) you have to keep on working the sutras (or your yoga practice) because Iyengar refers us to the very last sutra, and there are no shortcuts in this…

I forgot my papers about sutra 2.48 in Italy, so now I’ve spent some extra time to recreate the reflections that came in that weeks meditation on the sutra (and maybe some new ;-)

2.48 “From then on the sadhaka [yoga-practitioner] is undisturbed by dualities” (Iyengar translation)
Just for myself I remind me that it is after performing asanas has become effortless ;-) that we can become undisturbed by dualities…

Iyengar talks about, in this sutra, how the practitioner gets undisturbed. I love that, I have a guide who suggests that we should make "getting undisturbed" our top priority. He also says that if there is something "wrong" it’s not with them or the situation; it's with us - we're disturbed :-)
I also love that it is undisturbed by dualities - I can surely relate to how often dualities are part of me being undisturbed. Typical example is when I think I have to choose this or that, and (I) drive me crazy, thinking of what to do, and then the, never thought off, third option comes along –haha
I guess that there is no opposition any longer when the effortless state has been reached.

In Desikachars translation he writes about how external influences get minimized. This is a great motivator for me. He talks in terms not being influenced by age, climate and diet. But for me the big promise (in this days) is from other persons, their judgements, opinions and wellbeing as well as not being influenced by situations that might evolve and negativity or … bad energy (in lack of a better description).

Back to this week’s sutra: 2.50 it calls for some more pranayama work, to follow up on what have been granted me to learn and to explore life under water in the air :-) And I have to figure out what this consecration of the seer means – since it is a measuring point for the pranayama work.

Friday, July 23, 2010


I’m back from a beautiful and challenging retreat in Italy (Quercia calante). We were about 25 yoga-teachers from all over the world that met in the most beautiful nature and worked about 7- 8 hours a day with Glenn Ceresoli (Iyengar yoga) with change. Around the practice every possible comfort, that I can imagine, was seen to.
Personally my focus point was change – so it suited me just fine, that he stressed this as a fellow-focus-point, for the retreat – I was so grateful for this. Other main subjects occurred during practice, for example there was a pranayama focus, for me. My pranayama-practice was both disturbed and developed, by changing the sitting position so drastically. Sometimes I had to open my eyes (secretly ;-) to check if it was really true – that I moved so much or so little… Often it visually didn’t look like so much – that I internally experienced the movement.

I brought 3 sutras to my three weeks of travelling. They beautifully matched the yoga-work. My teacher even used some of the pictures that Iyengar uses to describe prana :-) in the sutras I was studying the night before.
Now, I start posting about sutra 2.47 and 2.49 – since I have the papers from my contemplation and meditations on these sutras with me home. Somehow I have lost the papers for sutra 2.48… But it’s all in me, so I will write it down soon.

2.47 "Perfection in asana is achieved when the effort to perform it becomes effortless and the infinite being within is reached" (Iyengar translation)

The first experience that I remember, when I read this, is learning to drive a car or a MC for that sake. In the beginning I had tension in every muscle, even my tongue :-) when I was driving, as the effort to make the vehicle move and join traffic became ... almost subconscious - effortless I often experience "the stream of life" or the truth of the travelling position, while driving. Effortlessness.
I can also relate this to my yoga-asana-practice. But right now, I’ve done (to me) seriouse challenging yoga, so the effortless is a bit further away from me, but I can relate :-)
A more tangible experience is when the prop I've been using to hold a pose is no longer needed or when the pose I've been struggling to get into, suddenly (typically for me, by learning a small technique) is just there and available and easy.

Iyengar writes that there is a balancing edge for us, between the effortless state and the way to get to this state; through "perseverance, alertness and insight". I get this, sometimes I can try too hard. Often I give up before I even tried, the two "out of balance" or off the edge positions that lead nowhere. From the yoga-work I've been doing in Italy, this reminds me of the words from our teacher about not to lose our goal in the techniques and details that gets presented to us. To me the most significant touchable goal is lightness and ease. (tak gud)

Sutra 2.49 "Pranayama is the regulation of the incoming and outgoing flow of breath with retention. It is to be practiced only after perfection in asana is attained" (Desikachar translation)
The first thing I read is the clarity (in all my different translations) that pranayama comes AFTER mastering asanas. I take this as a very clear guideline. Don’t mess with this. And my tiny experiences of how huge I experience the subtlest of movement in my body – while doing pranayama – makes it easy for me to understand why this is so.
I only teach pranayama, for longer times with more experienced students, that chose to take this class. But I also do introductions, small “conscious contact” to the breath in every class, I think it is so important to start having a relationship with our very essence of life, or as Iyengar writes: Prana is "the prime mover of all activity. It is the wealth of life"

I love this poetry that comes in trying to describe prana "Prana is an auto-energizing force which creates a magnetic field in the form of the universe and plays with it, both to maintain, and to destroy for further creation". This is significant to me. The both destroying and creating, the both being and non-being - the all inclusive. And maybe this is change? Does all change include something dying? Our teacher said that the only thing that hurts in change is our resistance to the change. But can the death of something (like an old idea) be felt?

I’ll be back on sutra 2.48
Jenni Saunte