Saturday, August 28, 2010

every end is a new beginning...

We are at the end of chapter 2 :-) and I’m at the end, having my last class at my old work-place and at the same time moving into the newborn yoga-space at
The last sutra 2.55 “Then the senses are mastered” (Desikachar translation), can seem so little, but oh! What a long way to go – to let go of the “needs” and the “must haves”, the “I don’t wanna” and the “it hurts”.
But when it all is done – by the practice of yoga, then this sutra promises us total freedom from being driven by our senses. “The senses cooperate in the chosen enquiry instead of being a cause of distraction.” (Desikachar)
Chapter 2 have brought up the self inventorying, the practice of the body and the breath, the art of living together in society and the cleansing acts to impurities. How to get focused and how to maintain balance.
Now we can move toward “the internal quest of yoga” (Iyengar)

Maybe that’s the walk of the last seven years of teaching… From construction work, in some kind of control trying to build up poses, to go for the nuances, to let go of the control and be of service to the group as a teacher, to discover how impurities –wrong sayings, tensions or disturbance from outside (or my head) – get cleansed, not by me, but by focusing into the practice we are working with –right here right now!
More and more the nuances appear to me, the subtle differences that make a world change.
More and more I get to step into a certainty of teaching, which is evolving through me and to be a god enough teacher is perfect(tak Winnicot). Always improving is true, not a threat, a promise of there is more :-)

Things are changing in so many ways for me, and I can’t control them, I can’t fix them and it’s not about me. It just is. Welcome!

I wish I could tell you that “I” control my senses – this is just not my experience. I do relate to this sutra, as a sadakha (aspirant) I feel that yoga, the power of daily practice and the power of this practice masters my senses. That my senses follow along and I become more whole, more unified.
But I know several yoga-teachers that have the experience that they can master their senses – to this I say: “beautiful!! – good on you!”

Being free is my focus. Every ending is a new beginning is my focus and this is written to you with paint-spots on my fingers – from painting the lovely yoga room, where we can meet and get access to some of this caring, harmonious power of yoga!
Jenni Saunte

Saturday, August 21, 2010

not to be deprived - to be free

Sutra 2.53 Patanjali defines “Pratyahara”(the fifth aspect of yoga see sutra 2.29):
“Restraint of the senses occurs when the mind is able to remain in its chosen direction and the senses disregard the different objects around them and faithfully follow the mind.” (Desikachar translation)
My first recognition of this sutra is from the trataka-meditation, where the whole world can disappear and there is only the flame of light and oneness. First after this initiating recollection I can relate, and recognize that pranayama is a good source for this type of experiences.
Ups I looked ahead, this is the second last sutra of chapter 2… (and the last one is really very revealing, long and challenging and important so you can look forward to next week!!)
Oh and there my focus went off…. Back into centre Jenni – Pratyahara, restraint of the senses, or focus in the inner world, the possibility to perceive everything directly (Iyengar on this sutra) the movement “towards the realization of the soul” (Iyengar).

What I personally get from reading Iyengar is that now! the journey back to the origin starts. The body and mind have been moving towards something external for gratification. We become hypnotized and drawn outwards towards pleasure. The need of pleasure and gratification (of the ego) is ever ongoing and brings us out of centre. “Pratyahara is the withdrawal of the mind from its contact with the senses of perception and the organs of action; then its direction is towards the soul.” (Iyengar) We get the suggestion that the science of restraining the senses is: “depriving them from what feeds them, the external objective world”.
All this in order to be free. Not to be deprived :-) to be free

Inspiration for class, focus on inner state. Does this mean to lay back on corrections/adjustments? Don’t think so. Maybe it is conscious contact in class to the focus on what is, in asana, before and after. We always do this, but increased contact… Maybe it is a “letting go” of seeking pleasure in every asana, and go for being free instead? To have a meditation focus point for the whole class, maybe personal maybe in fellowship?

Inspiration for my daily practice; I can feel my urge for this withdrawal. External world can make me absolutely disturbed (or I can use external focus to stimulate my own ego to boost and “disturbedness” is absolutely a good ego-booster). These sutras show me the way. I can follow.
Thank you – Namasté

Saturday, August 14, 2010

to get fit for focusing... and daily practice..

Soo, a regular pranayama-practice reduces obstacles to clear perception "And the mind is now prepared for the process of direction towards a chosen goal." sutra 2.53,
(Desikachar translation)
Iyengar: "the mind becomes fit for concentration" sutra 2.53

I get some poetry this week as well, that talking about pranayama seems to bring about. Iyengar writes: "Once the new light of knowledge has dawned through the practice of pranayama, the mind is fit and competent to move on towards the realization of the soul"
I really want this. I can tell that some people use 2-3 hours a day to be in meetings with other people on the same path, some people can have a daily practice of 3 hours yoga asana-pranayama-meditation.
This is not me.
Sometime I think that having an enormous posture-practice or being in 2-3 meetings with others a day is the only way and I'm just doomed... but
Here I am.

Reality keeps sending me messengers that tell me that my everyday is my ashram, my work and caring for my kids is my yoga practice, my listening to the negative persons is a gift for my development in staying centered. My guru is the random next person on my path every day, ever-changing.
I have as much time as anyone. Right.
The best yoga-practice is to be. With this. Do the next thing.
God or yoga or universe haven't told me to leave my kids and go into a monastery. One strong sense of direction I get is to experience the promises of Patanjali come alive in my everyday.
I get to experience it here and now, I don't have to change my whole life (other than it has been changed for me). I just have to engage in today.
I found the courage to tell my teacher and guide that I have 30 minutes for yoga posture practice a day, that off course there were days every week where I could do more, but 30 minutes was the continuous possibility. “I”(the inner jock) felt so much shame, there is a very strict jock in me - that think no less than 3 hours a day can do it.

The fact is my regular practice often takes 3-4 hours a day, but as you can tell yoga posture practice is only a 4th of my regular practice. I haven't chosen how much time should be spent on prayer/meditation/study/inventory/posture practice. Life and what keeps me alive and in sanity have formed my daily practice.
Today it is more important to have continuity, than to be able to fulfill my inner jocks need to brag about loads of training time :-)
To have a reasonable goal like 30 minutes is something that takes me on the mat.

Some days I'm not still while doing yoga - oh-oh!!! bad jenni :-) but it is true. Sometimes while standing in adhomukha svanasana my kids come and show me drawings - and they turn the picture upside down - well those are the days where I know I'm too tired to do the practice when they sleep, so I do it in the kitchen with them, often they join me for a while.
Some days my ego is the only thing that brings me to the mat - oh-oh!! bad jenni :-) but it is true.. why not, it makes so much mess, let it use some pride (I do it every day!) to bring me into what works for me.

What really makes my daily practice a possibility is reality, it just brings practice into my life. Reality have brought a group of women that also have a daily practice to me. So that I can talk to them and we can share about having this practice and the efforts and effortlessness the gifts and the obstacles on the path.

Iyengar also writes that the practitioner of yoga, "who had to struggle initially to cultivate a yogic way of life by self-discipline and study, now finds her efforts transformed into a natural zeal" Here my ego could jump in and say that this transformation and zeal is to serve ego and make me more important than others but Iyengar passes down the goal for this transformation; we are transformed in order: "to proceed in her sadhana (practice)". I just love that the goal for the process is to keep on being in the process. It makes so much sense for me.

ok - so I got off on an tangent, I obviously have to share about having a daily practice... again. Maybe because it makes my life full of purpose and freedom or maybe I just have a weird brain - thank you for reading!!!
Jenni Saunte

Saturday, August 07, 2010

rythm of our every day

Sutra 2.52 “The regular practice of pranayama reduces the obstacles that inhibit clear perception”

How can I relate to this?
Well regular practice of anything gives me perspective. It is only the last 7-8 years I’ve been given a steady practice. But I can tell that perspective is a part of clarity, it gives proportions. And proportions give me that some things actually shrink and become insignificant – they don’t fill up my sight, so that’s contributing to clear perception. Right now the regular practice of staying in my centre, when talking to a very negative person on a returning almost daily occasion gives me clear vision that the other person is not my problem, I get clear vision into me. My yoga practice can teach me something here.
Smiling helps to stay centred in the asana, not to become a fighter a militant gymnast :-) In order to smile in real life, I share my experience (the strugle with the negative person), with somebody outside the whole situation. We can smile and laugh at my reactions and sometimes confused actions – well I experience the same release into a centeredness and lightness, as in the asana. In this centeredness I experience clear perception.

I’m not avoiding to write about the “pranayama-part” in this sutra :-)
I’m very grateful to get, yet another push into action on everyday basis.
You see, last weeks sutra made me start my morning yoga-practice again – it was soo nice!!!! Until Tuesday (haha), where me and the girls left for a mini-vacation on an island… I just couldn’t get it done. Yoga and meditation become the walk alongside the water, the engaging in the kids play, tales and the sound of the waves and the amending meeting with oldtime friends and family. Which is all fine, but not the same, so continuity…

But this weeks sutra gives me, that this is fine. It’s true that we do all sorts of things in life and situations change, continuity breaks and we follow along. Then when we are back – there can be a rhythm in our everyday, that unfolds in for example a yoga-routine, a pranayama practice. Keep coming back, like in meditation. Not to do the same thing every day, but to keep coming back to what works..

My teaching will start up soon. This sutra encourages me to go for clarity in teaching situations. To try on whatever tiny start up level to introduce pranayama or conscious contact to the breath. It also tells me that I as a teacher is not the “problem remover” but the practice is. I love that!!

Love and light
Jenni Saunte