Thursday, December 22, 2011

continuous process

sutra 4.9
Desikachar translation: "Memory and latent impressions are strongly linked. This link remains even if there is an interval of time, place or context between similar actions."

Iyengar translation:
"Life is a continuous process, even though it is demarcated by race, place and time. Due to the uninterrupted close relationship between memory and subliminal impressions, the fruits of actions remain intact from one life to the next, as if there were no separation between births."

Iyengar tells that the theory of karma is explained to the sadhaka to inspire movement towards non-white and non-black actions. Since these desireless actions makes it possible to explore "the kingdom of the soul".
In my world this turns into; as Jenni is not driven by fears and/or wants, I get free to see what actually is and relate to reality more intensely and become.... more real :-) In asana words; when Jenni don't avoid an asana because I'm afraid what I might meet in me in this challenge and/or when Jenni don't do the asana to show off (to get your approval) -then I'm free to see what this asana really brings me. What really is there, and connect with this. NICE.

My master has told me to let go of this intense judgment, I have, of my lack of strength. I face it in some asanas (for example the virabhadrasanas). Instead he tells me to do less, either fewer of them or shorter time, so that I can experience ability (instead of failure) and work from this point. So the next time I go to these poses, my memory is not a failure, but a stable starting point. My possibility to start up new from where I'm really at.
Love and light - in the darkest day of the year..
Jenni Saunte

Monday, December 12, 2011

Iyengar translation of sutra 4.8:
"These three types of actions leave impressions which becomes manifest when conditions are favourable and ripe."
He writes that we have four types of actions, the first three leaves impression and memory, that builds a base for desires or disturbance (such as anger, lust, greed, infatuation, pride and envy). The desires and disturbances can rise right a way, but they can also become dormant.
But Patanjali describes a way out; even when in desire or in disturbance, if we turn our consciousness towards the inner seer, through the path of yoga, we can practice the fourth type of action that have no desire and no disturbance.

I relate to this through the instruction to recreate serenity in the inner environment by softening the face, throat and abdomen, and letting breath be smooth and even. To stabilize the mind and be able to see more clearly, more neutral again.
I also relate this to one of the good things by showing up and taking classes. Just follow the lead of a teacher, sometimes this brings me more neutrality from my disturbances about wants and don't wants. (sometimes not)
At least I do what I don't want in a class situation - at home I sometime just skip the annoying or provoking asanas:-) that might be good for me.

I know this in getting over grave challenges- it all (old crap)surfaces again (have tried so many therapeutic and self-help techniques), unless I give it to great reality (path of yoga).

So my guideline is to show up and go for neutrality, soften face abdomen and throat and smooth even breath.

Friday, December 09, 2011

A yogi's action are neither white nor black

"A yogi's action are neither white nor black. The actions of others are of three kinds, white, black and grey." (Iyengar translation of sutra 4.7)
Iyengar points out that "The unmixed action of the yogi are beyond sattva, rajas and tamas. They produce no positive or negative reactions in the consciousness and hence are free from duality". I get to be the one to see how duality expresses it self in yoga sometimes, and I'm Not attracted to it (this and this teacher say so and so,,, and this and that is right and wrong). It is really uncomfortable to sit in - so I move along. And feel release. I guess this is being safe and sound and not be part of the duality game (this time).

Desikachar points out that the "state of yoga" can lead us to "the highest state of clarity and detachment [we] can be beyond motivation" . I remember the first time I heard the stories of Mahabharata (11 years old) the meeting between Arjuna (my personal hero) and Krishna, made a lifelong impression on me. This is where Krishna tells Arjuna to be a warrior and go into battle, not to win, not to loose, not because of right or wrong, but just because this is what he is, and I think the word duty was used :-) and I could just return to this moment again and again. Today it connects to the thinking of "what's true will last" to me it's an encouragement to be what I am (it's a really smart shortcut to reality).

First thing I think, when I read the sutra is; this is an instrument to measure "what is and what is not"- yogic. If my action is neutral and undisturbed, it's probably part of living the yoga-state.
So in my asana work; if I'm undisturbed (this doesn't necessarily mean not shaking or not sweating), and not in judgment of my asana, just being and experiencing, well then it IS yoga. If I'm in judgment (comparing me to the others, or showing off or being ashamed) -then the yoga-state IS NOT.
My master just thought me that it's not about good or bad, or right or wrong, it just IS or it just IS NOT :-) so I'm complying to this suggestion.

My experience can only confirm this sutra is. And just as I wrote last week, I still long for more neutrality. Neutrality feels like heaven.

In my personal practice neutrality is often a part. I almost always feel more neutral and free when alone with asana than in a group setting. With my master the neutral yoga-state almost always is a part. When neutrality-blessing is there, I usually don't even think about it. I show up in my warm, tight woolen underwear, that really don't suit me :-) but it's easy, I live spiritual consent with my master to adjust whatever I do on my mat, so he better be able to see what's going on, and I need something warm, so... wool :-)
Last time I really could feel I lost the "state" was in Stavanger, where I just got so tired of being weak. All my expression, work and mind got unstable, by judging me as weak. It's non of my business and I get free by remaining neutral.

In the beginning (some ten years ago) I was very picky on who did what and how, but today this neutrality is more extended, sometimes things happens (body-adjustments), change appears over time, instead of trying to pull every little bit out this one class, I can see is this an expression for how this student shape is today or is it a part of a development, a change. It also works much better for me to welcome people that are late than to yell or ban them - I know most yoga-teachers do the opposite, it just is Not efficient in my experience.
In my personal practice my effort is neither black nor white but I get to be stable, by showing up on a daily basis, I get to have a daily practice by showing up every day. I get to be loving by loving my practice unfolding. I get to be amending and caring, by showing up in my practice. So, sure all three gunas are there at times, off course I'm sometime overly excited, sometime lazy (often) and sometime balanced and harmonious - but just by showing up - I'm blessed and grateful.


Friday, December 02, 2011

neutrality is given

"Of these activities of consciousness of perfected beings, only those which proceed from meditation are free from latent impressions and influences."
Sutra 4.6 Iyengar translation.
In Iyengars description; meditation set us free from the emotional wheel of obstacles like; lust, anger, greed, infatuation, pride and jealousy. Meditation leads us into the center of emotion to the consciousness of the heart so we can expand spiritually. Because this consciousness have "neither virtue, nor vice, fluctuations nor afflictions". This consciousness of heart is conducive to experience kaivalya (freedom/emancipation).

How do I relate to this?
I relate to this with my urge to become more neutral, more anonymous. To get to see things happen and not get disturbed, this sounds like heaven to me. I'm not there yet as you can tell, but in moments I have got to be identified with the observer instead of the "victim", or the "mother/ex-wife/lover/employee"... In yogaasana practice, this is "just do it" not because or to get or why or contingent on... bla bla bla but "just do it" and neutrality is given.

What is my experience?
My experience confirms this sutra. I felt absolutely free in the moments where I got to be neutral to the "stimuli" of the emotional wheel. Sometimes I have the opposite experience, to send or give something and then discover that I wasn't really free, wasn't neutral, because I want something from the other person, a certain response, or a certain action. I get to see I had a condition. The unconditional is, most of all; so easy , sometimes there is not even a thought of "having done something" and no judgments or wants or wills.

How can this inspire my personal daily practice my teaching?
I'm inspired to seek to develop the meditative state, in order to develop more and more of the neutral state - the observing position.
And I can seek to cultivate continuous awareness - by giving something to my students to focus on and to choose from the many suggestions of focal points in "light on life" that Iyengar suggests. I mean every sentence so far in this book could be a focal point for a class by it self!

Jenni Saunte

Sunday, November 20, 2011

free from the emotional wheel of obstacles

"Of these activities of consciousness of perfected beings, only those which proceed from meditation are free from latent impressions and influences."
Sutra 4.6 Iyengar translation.
He describes it as meditation sets us free from the emotional wheel of obstacles like; lust, anger, greed, infatuation, pride and jealousy.
Meditation leads us into the center of emotion, to the consciousness of the heart, so that we can expand spiritually.
Because this consciousness have "neither virtue, nor vice, fluctuations nor afflictions". This consciousness of the heart is conducive to experience kaivalya (freedom or emancipation).

How do I relate to this?
I relate to this with my urge to become more neutral, more anonymous. To get to see things happen and not get disturbed; this sounds like heaven to me. I'm not there YET (as you can tell), but in moments I have been given to be identified with the observer instead of the "victim", or some role like; the "mother/ex-wife/lover/employee"...

What is my experience?
My experience confirms this sutra. I felt absolutely free in the moments where I got to be neutral to the "stimuli" of the emotional wheel. Sometimes I have the opposite experience, to send or give something and then know that I wasn't free, wasn't neutral, because I want something from the other person, a certain response, or a certain action. I get to see I had a condition, I wasn't really free. The "free" action have qualities of the meditative state. It is calm, clear and at ease.

How can this inspire my personal daily practice my teaching??
I'm inspired to seek to develop the meditative state, in order to develop more and more of the neutral state - the observing position.
And I can seek to cultivate continuous awareness - by giving something to my students to focus on and to choose from the many suggestions of focal points in "light on life" that Iyengar suggests. I mean every sentence so far in this book could be a focal point for a class by it self!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

consciousness is single

Iyengar translation of sutra 4.5 "Consciousness is one, but it branches into many different types of activities and innumerable thought-waves."

Even though consciousness is single it still can cause disparities between thought and action, words and deeds.
If [consciousness] stops directing thoughts (in all these ways), the need to culture the consciousness towards transformation does not arise.

This is the sutra where Patanjali gives us a reminder to channel our energy into the right direction, and gather up the multiple focuses (foci's)..
and Iyengar gives us a goal to move towards; "all sorrows and joys come to an end".

How do I relate to this?
Right now I relate to this, by doing amends. Or showing up willing to make amends.
I need us to be one, since there is nothing but oneness. So if I think I've somehow acted like there was anything but oneness- I need to make this as right as possible again (not to buy me free-card from some kind of sin, but to get back in center, into balance). Until now, the other part haven't answered, this is not necessary, in my experience. I just have to find the inner answer of how to make amends or find a surrogate to make the amends to. In this case the making of amends is a single positive focus that replaces the multitude of ego-foci's - the "I want" "I am bad" "I should" defense and judgment. I've been given directions that is really quite simple: If they were wrong - forgive them. If I'm wrong - make amends.
And then on we move...

What is my experience?
In asana work, if I shift back and forth between adjustments and focus on this and that - I get more and more confused.
If I instead, focus only on one adjustment, all of the asana gets stronger, and some of the other adjustments happen.
Like if I focus on lifting the back side of my ears - my chest bone naturally rises, and then the top of the shoulders naturally falls back, and naturally the chest opens. Then there is more room for a free and spacious breath to move and re-energize the whole system. Fantastic! and doing all this I have a quiet head, that just registers all the exciting things that happens instead of talking about weather the asana have been long/short/comfortable/hard ... Fantastic!

How can this inspire my personal daily practice and inspire my teaching?
I care for one focus at a time, and I go where the spark is. I take notice of what we have in common and let the differences float on - for someone else to care about.
Jenni Saunte

Monday, November 07, 2011

Unity and individuality

Iyengar translation of sutra 4.4:
"Constructed or created mind springs from the sense of individuality (asmita)."

He writes: from self-awareness, numerous activities becomes associated in ones consciousness, thereby giving rise to mental states called moods... They taint, distort or disturb the intelligence" (amen!!) He tells me that if my confused and mood-driven mind becomes steered towards the right focus, it can unfold a fine sensitivity.

I relate Iyengars understanding of this sutra to a speaker I once heard, who said that all problems arise out of self, and that "being something else than "at-one" is the root of all pain and suffering. Iyengar writes "The sadhaka [the yoga practitioner] has to draw back ... the "I" consciousness, from the head towards its base, so as to lose its identity." To me this sounds like becoming the hole in the donut.

Ok, so in asana-work this means, to me, that if I'm in individuality-mode, trying to show off or comparing (pride or judgment) I'm not "at-one" with the asana and my mind is disturbed. Then my asana is weak and often off balance. My asana-work suffers. When the roles of individuality is gone, the asana just is, and it doesn't matter if anybody sees it or don't sees it, if I'm adjusted or not. It is just fulfilled - this is a blessed state.
I've had the same teacher where there was many intrigues in the room (loads of ego and showing off), and every asana was affected by these tensions, and with the same teacher and no comparison or ego-motifs were on, and the asanas deepened and were more soft and intense (which is a remarkable combination!)

I relate the unfolding of this sutra to the saying: "hold dig til din egen måtte" :-) in english something like: "keep the focus on your own mat". Words I was given to teach from my first education. It also gives depth to the words in every class about letting go of all ideas and expectations there might be to this now.

It inspires my daily practice... well I've been complaining in my head like mad about always always always doing supta padanghustasana - every time. Oh I've had a grudge on this asana big time. But this sutra tells me - that it's not about me and my wants and wills. I'm to go into the asana for unity and cultivating awareness.

Jenni Saunte

Sunday, October 30, 2011

breathing spirit

On sutra 4.3
"Nature's efficient cause does not impel its potentialities into action, but helps to remove the obstacles to evolution, just as a farmer builds banks to irrigate his fields." (Iyengar translation 4.3)
Iyengar writes: "Through yogic discipline, the yogi removes all obstacle to her evolution, and enjoys emancipation"

Prayer, as means to remove obstacles - or with connecting to "Natures cause" or "intelligence" through prayer. I use this in my daily practice, by not trying to force through an idea. Instead (this month) I've started to experiment with using my breath to adjust my body. To me this is a way to let nature have it's way and remove whatever obstacles shows up. I experience it most clearly when I work this in balance-poses. Ardha chandrasana, my old way of adjusting just created the motion of a pendulum. Just breathing towards an idea, feels ... slow, sane and caring. But sometime it feels too slow :-)
Breathing to me, is both prayer (exhalation) and meditation (inhalation). In latin "breath" is called "spiritus" and "spirit" is called "spiritus" - I think they were on to something, we have it in scandinavian languages as well - breath is "ånde (andas)" and spirit is "ånd (ande)". I experience this to be an authentic connection reflected in our languages.

Desikachar translation; How can such changes of mind be achieved? "But, such intelligence can only remove obstacles that obstruct certain changes. Its role is no more than that of a farmer who cuts a dam to allow water to flow into the field where it is needed" (D 4.3)
He describes it to be about knowing "what to do", in addition to having "good soil.." from the beginning. We must know the process and how to support it..

To me, the yoga-inventory, working the yamas and niyamas on a daily basis - in addition to the daily asana practice, brings me knowledge of my personal soil :-)
I get to be the farmer of the jenni-soil, it is most clear to me in these two mentioned practices (inventory and asana practice) But a set of guidelines grew out of these practices and they steers me towards something that I only can call ... more true/more appropriate or more authentic.
An example is; writing inventory about getting angry at people that don't come on time, then writing inventory on being angry at me for just waiting and putting everything else on hold, when they don't show up. Looking at these inventories again and again, and at the same time listening to a guide I have: I suddenly heard! I'm here ten minutes before and ten minutes after, if they haven't come ten minutes after and no messages !! I move on!! I have tested this guideline for the last 4 years! and this guideline sets me free from the obstacle of being disturbed (angry). Every time. Sometimes the other person gets upset, by me just not waiting - (that's their inventory :-)

Right now it inspires me, as a teacher, to do a bit more pranayama this week and work with the principle of vairagya (surrender), to let nature take care of the obstacles, instead of fighting them in the poses :-)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

rigorouse austerities

"Exceptional mental capabilities may be achieved through genetic inheritance, the use of herbs as prescribed in the sacred texts, recitation of incantations, rigorous austerities and through that state of mind which remains one with its object without distractions (samadhi)." 4.1 Desikachar translation

Iyengar translation of sutra 4.1: "Accomplishments may be attained through birth, the use of herbs, incantations, self-discipline or samhadi."
Iyengar specifies that this is about different means of spiritual accomplishment.

Well my well-being in the world is contingent on my spiritual growth. So this is an important sutra to me personally. I don't think I'm genetically more capable than anyone else to pursue a spiritual life. Then again this disease, I genetically inherited, made me reach a bottom in self-reliance pretty quick, so maybe thats a sort of genetic predisposition?! First good thing ever about this crappy disease. The use of herbs... just the thought scares me so much I move to the next part of the sentence. Recitations and rigorous austerities seems to be the way for me. Not, that I have any power in myself to "be" rigorouse, but since I've just showed up on the path, I seem to be given "rigorous austerities" in my everyday by my greater power. In no way, does it become a rigid path, but a frame of stability in my practice, that grant me so many gifts, working meditation, prayer, contemplation, yoga-asana-practice, inventory (yamas and niyamas) in my every morning, my every evening and precious contact to a loving fellow-journey-mates in between, just makes a jenni-variant of rigorous austerity happen in my life. Grateful for this.

This week I'm moved to adjust asana using breath - I seem to correct too much when I think "muscle power". As a teacher give room and place for working towards moving with conscious contact to the inner body. I've started to read mr. Iyengars book "light on life" and was inspired here. I love how my master starts us up in sitting pose, and when the body is seated, he says "now, wait for the inner body to settle" It makes so much sense and is a very concrete experience for me.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

immediate, spontaneus and total

Desikachar translation of sutra 3.54:
"Such clarity is not exclusive of any object, any particular situation or any moment. It is not the result of sequential logic. It is immediate, spontaneous and total."

We gain it by samyama on time and sequencing or as Iyengar writes about sacred knowledge, in the translation "the yogi... grasps instantly, clearly and wholly, the aims of all objects without going into the sequence of time or change".
I can relate to the sutra, since any experience I've had - however short - of a truth or an insight that makes sense in all ways possible, have been immediate, not growing. Suddenly it just makes sense. For example the realization that energy is not just another word for a "mood", or how “fresh or tired” we are. Maybe; I have been moving towards a new experience with what “energy” means, by showing up in classes and doing what was told. But !! suddenly a new sensation was there, that had nothing to do with “mood” or “power-level” in the muscles. It was: immediate, spontaneous and total.

Sometimes when I work the sutras this way, my ego wants me to be more humble :-) and suddenly I'm sooo new and soo small that I have nothing to contribute with. I guess, just like a micro macro cosmos, there are micro and macro connections to the sutras. Today, it is more important to share what I can relate to and have experience with, rather than be humble and connect to "I know oh soo little". Some days it is the opposite.

Sutra 3.55
What is freedom?
"Freedom is when the mind has complete identity with the perceiver." (D translation)
Desikachar explains; "The mind has no colour or features of its own."

This is where I have an experience of freedom in yoga asana practice these days:
1. after chest openers (ardha kapotasana on chair or elevated chest on block in supta bada konasana).
2 after class in savasana.
3 singing mantra in Italy :-) still mantra with my students resonates on the same experience.

These are areas in life I experience freedom this week:
1. When I find the humor angle (on me), I got frustrated at work, because of to much to do,, so I walked away of an situation very upset, and suddenly I could see myself behaving like a martyr, it just became completely funny and I could laugh and I was free - without the situation changed the least..
2. When a problem looses its importance (unsolved or solved). I have a relation that I choses to stay in because of my kids, it's a challenging one, but when I find that its not important what they communicate to me - I'm free, not because they communicated better or more respectful/lovingly.
3. I experience freedom with my partner. Freedom to be me and to chose to interact, do stuff together or not do stuff together. And more new - I experience freedom the reversed way to. I'm free from having anything to do with weather he wants to be alone or together. Nice!
My experience is, that if I feel it in one place in my life - it will spread!

Iyengar writes: "kaivalya [freedom] the indivisible state of existence" this is particularly interesting for me. I've studied the concepts of "sens" contra "reason" or in Scandinavian languages: fornuft - kontra- forstand. Both of the concepts has to do with our ability to understand, grasp or seeing clearly. But reason or "forstand" is in history of philosophy, understood as the power to analyze by dividing in to parts to put together in sense-making patterns. However sense or "fornuft" (slægt med fornemme) has to do with making whole, uniting, recognizing, relating and connecting. For me this just makes sense that Patanjali states that freedom is indivisible and still a sacred knowledge. One we get to know using another part of us than our analytical thinker. I might be slightly of track for the rest of you, but for me this is right on spot :-)

This is the last sutra in pada 3, now we move to pada 4: "Kaivalya Pada" where, as Iyengar writes; Patanjali takes us to the subtlest sheath, the soul

Thank you for reading and thank you for letting me share!

Friday, September 23, 2011

to distinguish, see clearly and to be in the now

Desikachar translation: "This clarity makes it possible to distinguish objects even when the distinction is not apparently clear. Apparent similarity should not deter one from the distinct perception of a chosen object."

Iyengar: "By this the yogi is able to distinguish unerringly the differences in similar objects which cannot be distinguished by rank, qualitative signs or position in space." (3.54)

The first thing I have to do - is to remind myself of "what" is this sutra referring to... It referres to last weeks sutra and how we can be set free from our stories about time and get into the clarity of the present moment.

Oh!! I'm having a revelation right now :-) This is why it is so important to share a moment with someone!!! in the moment we are clearly at one with whatever we are experiencing and as soon as the experience is "over" there is only a subjective story of an experience. If I have traveled to a place with someone this experience is alive in the now when we meet afterwards. If I saw a concert with someone the concert is alive in the moment we meet.
Well this sutra gives me some words to why it makes such a big difference to be together - it is in the clarity and authenticity in the here and now.

In my asana work this brings about why it is so vital to go to a teacher and to take classes - to share the experience - and no story about these can replace the direct wordless being together.

In asana and teaching it moves me into working with the "here and now" the wordless experience and the search for clarity.
Letting go of old stories and fear of coming stories.

It fit well (again) since I just borrowed a bunch of books and Cd's on the subject mindfulness. I have only tried a little of this, since every time I try it I can't figure out why this should be something other than yoga. But now I finally decided to educate myself a bit :-)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Moment and movement...

This feels like a very important and dense sutra.
As I read it, its about being in the present moment and reality.
Desikachars translation: "Samyama on time and its sequence brings about absolute clarity."
Desikachar gives us two definitions: "Clarity is the ability to see distinctly the difference between one object and another and to see each object in its totality without impediments." "Time is relative. It exists only by comparison of one moment with another. A unit of time is.. a representation of change." Change means that one characteristic have been replaced by another. We need to meditate on and integrate the link between time and change.

This is the why and the how of "a daily practice". We need to have a daily practice to be able to study, meditate on and integrate the difference between what changes and what is still. What is undisturbed and what is affected and transient. (new word for me - a good one!)
How to have a daily practice in the present moment is described by Iyengar: "One of the reasons why, as a teacher of asana, I'm so intense, and was in the past even harsh, is that I wanted to give the students one and a half hours of present life in a lesson." I recognize this, both as a teacher and as a student, when the demand and the challenge meet my ability and possibilities I land in the present moment - always in my teaching, and most times when taking classes. (I've only once left a yoga class because it was,,, well bad, and only very few out of hundreds have been boring, and this might just as well have been my state of mind as the teaching..)

I can relate to the description of the "now" as a timeless, changeless and sacred moment; "Moment comes between rising impression and their restraints and vice versa: it is a quiet intervining state, auspicious and pure, and is to be stabilized, prolonged and expanded so that consciousness becomes absolute."
It relates to my experience on meditating on the breath, the point in between inhaling and exhaling, and exhaling and inhaling. Where I start of with the quest to find the exact point in time where we go from one to the other, and by this is given prolonged pauses between the rise of the inhalation and the falling of the exhalation. I also have this amazing experience with meditating on the space between two thoughts. It also relates to the hatha-yoga teacher training I first took, that accentuated every pause between two asanas - gave time to experience the effect of the asana done and the neutrality on the inner palate, to be ready for the next asana.

Iyengar writes that; "Movement is timebound, transient and ever-changing", that movement of mind creates psychological time, and movements of moments creates chronological time (past and future..).
In yoga we are to stay attentive to the moment, not to the movement of moments.
The promise is that this will make it possible for us to stay undisturbed.
We need to stay undisturbed to see what is reality and connect to it.

So for this week - to be in the stillness between movement and stay attentive to the moment and not the movement.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

moving towards freedom

"The temptation to accept the respectful status as a consequence of acquiring knowledge through samyama should be restrained. Else, one is led to the same unpleasant consequences that arise from all obstacles to Yoga."(Desikachar translation)
Desikachar adds that obstacles can include false identity and he specifies that high learning is a smaller goal to the yogi than everlasting freedom.

This sutra reminds me of my goal. This is the most important; to become free or unfold being free! I'm grateful for the reminder.
Higher knowledge or more understanding is fine - clarity of vision and wisdom is a beauty - but it's not the goal. Being free is.

In asana "being free" means, to me, for example to be still while arms or legs moves, or to be at ease even though there is an effort (strength/flexibility)to invest.
In life "being free" means, to me, today :-) I'm not attached - to my work, role as girlfriend, mother, daughter, friend, bike owner :-) hihi to you liking me - to your approval of my writing or being or doing.

I have repulsive feelings both when I idealize someone but also when I'm being idealized - today I know this is a healthy reaction, to not be attracted by this, because it is a false identity.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

motivation for doing yoga

3.50 these extraordinary capabilities can be gained through samyama, should not be the final goal, in fact: "Freedom the last goal of yoga, is attained only when the desire to acquire extraordinary knowledge is rejected and the source of obstacles is completely controlled"

3.49 Iyengar "By destruction of the seeds of bondage and the renunciation of even these powers, comes eternal emancipation."
Iyengar talks about the seeds of sorrow, bondage and weakness - that comes if we mistakes the extraordinary power of yoga as the goal for doing yoga - the goal for engaging in the process...
When we pursue the goal of yoga (kaivalya) and renounce the powers that comes along the way- the self can achieve absolute independence and abide in it's own nature.

So I've felt great and free in some respects - by doing yoga on a hard situation in my life I've felt free and powerful like never before. But this sutra brings me awareness of what a dead-end it is to pursue the nice sensations of doing yoga. This sutra suggests to me, that maybe this is just part of what comes along the journey, not the goal for the journey. Maybe I can become totally independent in the challenging situation and neutral - not even feel great and strong and free. Just be - not feel- free... I'm curious and willing to try anything to become free from this dependent state of being (when the dependence is hooked on stimuli, affirmations, people, success and whatever that comes along).

For class; find out motivation for doing yoga, connect to this during class.
To go for neutrality and being free.
Jenni Saunte

Sunday, August 21, 2011

flawless perception of reality

Sutra 3.49 (Desikachar translation and count) “When there is clear understanding of the difference between the Perceiver and the mind, all the various states of mind and what affects them become known. Then, the mind becomes a perfect instrument for the flawless perception of all needs to be known.”
Oj I love this! Clear perception is my goal. My last six years have been dominated by a passionate love for reality – all included – even some of the worst things I could imagine to see, doesn’t touch this love for reality and the sensation of being real – authentic.
I’m told by my master to keep my eyes on the reason for doing yoga – not to be getting lost in the vast playing field of yoga. I guess this is it – yoga makes me more real and makes it possible to see what really is – even though it still just is in glimpses and moments. I treasure them.

Other stuff I’ve practiced this week and will continue on is keeping it simple and basic. I don’t fool around. I show up on my mat every day. What’s gets done gets done. I don’t even spend time thinking about the rest.
I’ve been teaching chair supported asanas – it’s like having a new toy. But here I also stay with the basics, I don’t try to do something advanced. Not that my lovely students couldn’t do it, but because I need to keep me grounded and real :-) also as a teacher.

So – flawless perception – to you all :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

keeping it simple

Sutra 3.49:“By mastery over the senses the yogi’s speed of body, senses and mind matches that of the soul, independent of primary causes of nature. Unaided by consciousness, she subdues the first principle of nature (mahat).” (Iyengar translation)
(This is Desikachars counting sutra 3.48, I was wrong, they still have different count)

I really have no experience with this. It reminds me of how many people say that flying goes so fast “you can’t get your soul with you”. And this sutra turns it around, to yoga can give us to always be in sync :-)

To work this, without having an experience to build upon I chose to work with coordination and synchronization. To let body, mind and breath be one. Inspired by this sutra I will continue my focus to find truth and reality and hereby I trust I get closer to mahat. I need to keep things easy right now and look at what I know and have experience with these days.

Inventory, daily posture practice and you know, seek reality, clean house, help others :-) will be it for this week.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Mastery over the senses

Sutra 3.47: "Mastery of over the senses is achieved through samyama on the ability of the senses to observe their respective objects, how such objects are understood, how the individual identifies with the object, how the object, the senses, the mind and the Perciever are interrelated and what results from such perception." (Desikachar translation)

I’ve been thought to monitor and measure my body in the asana, to get deeper and clearer on what’s going on and who I really am. Well here I’m given the characteristics of mind that assist perception; heaviness, activity and clarity. So I can monitor my perception, on what characteristic is dominant at the perceptive moment. This in order to measure the influence this have on my idea of the object (reality)and perhaps manage the influence to become less so that I get more close to the truth, closer to reality.

Iyengar writes "at some stage when the senses are appeased, they and the organs of action becomes passive, and a state of quietness is experienced.” Normally this is a passing state, until the next stimuli triggers the senses and we go of hunting for more (pleasure) or trying to avoid it (pain)… But samyama on this process may set us free, from being driven by the senses and this is what this summer retreat have been about for me – getting more and more free.

I thought I was going to get inspired as a teacher and more efficient as a teacher, this might be – I have no contact to this, but there is a clear contact to the experience of getting to know me honestly, authentically and I have a clear contact to this promise of "being set free" from being driven by wants and fears.



Sunday, July 31, 2011

hardness and brilliance

3.47 (Iyengar counting+translation) “Perfection of the body consists of beauty of form, grace, strength, compactedness, and the hardness and brilliance of a diamond.”

I relate to this, mainly by recognizing these aspects in teachers I’ve recognized a true yoga-relationship in. I relate to this as a body-sensation of the asana itself while doing it. When my teacher calls me – across the room- to tell me that my belly shouldn’t be hanging in ardha chandrasana :-) and I follow instruction, my sensation is that my body becomes more hard and the asana more sharp. As a teacher I guess that going for the exact detail, sharpness of movement, is a possible unfolding of this sutra.
Jenni Saunte

Saturday, July 30, 2011

stay unaffected while...

sutra 3.45 Thus, "When the elements are mastered, one is no longer disturbed by them. The body reaches perfection and extraordinary capabilities become possible." (Desikachar translation)
sutra 3.45 "From that arises perfection of the body, the ability to resist the play of the elements, and powers such as minuteness." (Iyengar translation)

here is my "YEY" we're back on the same count of the sutras again, relief to me, that always wants my world to be together :-) That’s why I posted both translations.

So a promise - working with yoga, meditation and integration ~samyama~ will set one free from being driven by outer circumstances.
To me this translates into; as becoming more and more one with the reality, the (illusion?) possibility of being driven, disappears in the true unity between the yogi and the great reality.
Iyengar writes that we gain "wealth of the body" and stops "falling victim to the obstacles posed by the elements.
As I read the comment on the sutra (Iyengars) I see that we are promised to be set free from the elements affect on us (to be neutral to heat/cold, dirt and damp) and the movements of the elements will no longer cause disturbance or obstructions.

What a great promise!!!! This is what my year has been about so far - to become less disturbed, more neutral and well… unaffected.
I don't know if I can relate this sutra to any of my own experiences...
Maybe in bits and pieces. I know that when I have made a decision and it is based on my inner most self - connected to reality and just right - nothing can affect it. It just is - done.
It's like when I'm in a balance pose and the foundation is right, it's almost restful even though it might have been the toughest and a very strength-demanding pose, just a second ago...

As a teacher I get to see how one information suddenly make a change for the student - that's a blessing- and it manifests in a stable and serene kind of expression.
So In personal practice, go for the stable – I experience it most clearly in the start, for example I stand in tadasana, and have great contact to the earth and a lifting! To keep the grounding and stay unaffected while lifting arms or moving back or legs.. This is a nice challenge.
Maybe I try to pass this on in teaching as well.
Love and light

Sunday, July 24, 2011

"come together, right now" sutra 3.42-44

Summer salutations from Italy
Here are the reflections on the sutras I brought with me to a wonderful yoga-retreat I went to for three weeks. Maybe I post the reflections on the retreat itself later...
But most important first!:

Sutra 3. 44 “Samyama on the origin of matter in all forms, appearances and uses can develop into mastery of the elements” (Desikachar translation)

Again I felt like this journey was supporting to me reading exactly this sutra. We were told about how all matter origins from the four elements and how their characteristics can change. This was the first time I ever wanted to listen to ayurveda wisdom. My masters wife spotted my true nature at once, and just because my heart knew she saw my energy and not talked about some “woman-magazine-quiz” I was open, at once, to recognize my truth. Well I know my right element and I have opened up and welcomed a few suggestions. Well You can’t expect me to give up my opinion –that all categorizing of the world into boxes are futile- to fast. I still don’t believe in it ...except for me myself. I know she spotted me and I know all her yogic- and my herbalist friends food- suggestions are true!

I know why I have craving for some asanas and what asanas can help me. I have a starting point – not bad for a vague, unclear person – yes! happyjenni

Sutra 3.43 “By examining these phenomena (how mind influences our perception) and developing conditions when the mind does not confuse perception, there arises an extraordinary faculty with which one can probe other minds. In addition, the clouds that obscure right perception are minimized.” (Desikachar translation)

I found that all my three weeks was about this – to become less obscure (stepping into the sun). More connected to the truth, to reality. My master talked about this (and I soo dearly love when what I read and what I hear support and connects to each other) and he called yoga posture practice a “house cleaning process” to be rid of what’s blocking us from perceiving truthfully.

I also got it – why it has to be yoga to the extreme, not only just nice and safe, for me. I get to meet the parts of me that are unavailable when I’m not at the “edge of reality”.

To be at the edge of reality, for me – is to be close to God (=reality) and very close to the most true in me – and it doesn’t matter that I don’t like it. It doesn’t matter that I don’t want to be that way. It just is, because when at the edge, my egos opinion have no power and egos hiding mechanisms are out of order.

I surely met some stuff in me I don’t want to see, but I also got to see things that had been transformed and healed. Yes we cry, laugh and sometimes both in this cleaning process, but it sets me free ...even though some of my crocketies most certainly traveled back to Denmark with me :-)

Sutra 3.42 “By doing samyama on the relationship between the body and space, and examining the properties of objects that can float, such as cotton fluff, the knowledge to move about in space can be achieved.” (Desikachar translation) Desikachar mentions that the cottonseed has a character that prevents it from floating, but when changed into cotton-fluff it floats easily. This is a promise to me that all my potentials might not be outlived right now, but (yoga-) transformation might make me free and light like the cotton-fluff so that I can unfold the possibilities in me that I hardly believe I contain at this moment.

I relate to this practice from my summer retreat in 2009 where I suddenly felt so thin, like paper in utthita trikonasana. I had this possibility in me all the time, but suddenly I could access it and –well the sensation was different. (wish I could have hold on to this experience, but I couldn’t, probably for my best)

In my three weeks in Italy this became a game, to collect “floating experiences” to stop up and take in every floating seed-fluff, butterfly, clouds, rose-pedals, blanket fluff and thin garment (see through shadow). I got to see the resemblance with the movement of things and people in water. I somehow know this is the easy part for me. The floating possibility is not a stranger to me.

Oh, and a personal favorite was when my master talked about being light and achieving a floating quality – I almost said out load “Yes! Like cotton fluff!” hihihi

Jenni Saunte

Saturday, June 18, 2011

lit a fire :-)

Here is a sutra I can only vaguely relate to:
Desikachar translation: "By mastering samana, one can experience sensations of excessive heat." (3.40)
or Iyengar translation: "By samyama on samana vayu, a yogi glows like fire and her aura shines." (3.41)

Desikachar places the focal point to the navel and Iyengar places it to be in the middle of the torso - maybe this is the same, kind of?? And they both writes about; heat, fire, digestion and life forces.

I've always believed in what I was told about agni - I was told this was the fire of life, that we could lit through yoga. This fire did not only digest food (or what we use to create body-heat), but it digested experiences (to me - it ate my bad experiences and set me free). Working with this, I know from experience that yoga can lit a fire in me and turn something into ashes and cleanse me.
Some of my colleagues tells that one can get pimples or bad breath from doing intense cleansing work with yoga, this, they tell, should be because the cleansing have been so strong that (affaldsstoffer) not poison but something along that line, let’s call it waste – has to come out afterwards. I have yet to try this, I only know of it from my mind, being cleansed from garbage in my mind/head and feeling neutral or clean like ashes afterwards.
Desikachars suggestion (passing down the tradition of) to work with retention after inhalation to access this, I have a vague baby experience with this from some of the longer retreats I've done but mostly, at home in my everyday- I don't get warm at all. My guess is that I have a long way to go.

Jenni Saunte

Saturday, June 11, 2011

mind, experience and stimuli

Sutra 3.38 "By mastering the forces that transmit sensations from the body to the mind, it is possible to master the external stimuli. For instance, one can tolerate water at any temperature or the effects of thorns, or one can walk on unstable surface, and even feel as light as a balloon." (Desikachar translation).

This sutra comments on how much the mind has to do with what we call external stimuli. Like hunger, or lack of external stimuli; food :-) Desikachar brings up an example I know too well: the child who cries violently for food and the next minute plays and smiles, all absorbed by the game. This are my kids when they were smaller.

I know this very well in my self, sometimes I get so hungry it almost hurts and I get really irritated and edgy to be with. Other times I’m so absorbed by the work or asana that I forget time and space.. and meals.

Desikachar also brings up the example of how one mans the trouble of walking in a jungle is the other mans trouble of walking in Manhattan, for the person who grew up in the tropics, in warmth of the tropics are no bother at all, just like cold arctic winter doesn’t cause distraction for the person who grew up here.

This addresses how the mind affects our experience by being a “storehouse of experiences”. Experiencing hot and cold, or the steadiness or unstableness of what we walk on is affected by our mind and our previous experiences (habits) but it doesn’t have to, is the fine message of this sutra. We all can get perfectly free from the domination of mind, by engaging in certain practices, like pranayama.

As a teacher I know that certain in asanas it helps to .. offer a possible distraction to the mind, so that the experience of being a long time in the pose doesn’t talk us out of being there. It can be of applying details and variation. This is also the toughest part of self-practice, to stay longer in an asana that brings about an effect after, but is tough during the “stay”. For me this is typical for poses that brings strength, I just want to get out of them – they almost feels painful to me. I have a few of the poses which bring about flexibility and serenity (haha) that almost gives me an explosion of thoughts about getting out of the pose. Hard, when there is nobody, but me, to keep me in the pose. Last year I put an egg-clock on five minutes in some poses, just to stay longer, but it was not the same as having a teacher to tell me to stay.
jenni Saunte

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Reach beyond the confines of oneself

I just love the challenge of this sutra!
the foundation is the understanding of the mind as a storehouse for distinct individual experience. "The function of the mind is limited to the individual to whom it belongs. Thus the mind becomes an isolated fortress, resisting all entry."
Desikachar translates the sutra 3.38:
"By enquiring into the cause of this rigid situation binding the mind to the individual, and examining the means of relaxing this rigidity, there is a great potential for an individual to reach beyond the confines of himself."
By working with these suggested disciplines for example pranayama and keeping the mind clean, "the mental activity can be extended to influence others". Desikachar exemplifies it as practical in the teaching situation.

To this I say - ok
I can relate to it this way; When I'm in a long time relationship I get more and more free from "wrong understanding" of my partner, I slowly get more and more clear insight into this persons universe and mind. This is due to yamas and niyamas work in the relation as well as each of the persons in the relation own personal inventory and unfolding.
When I'm experiencing that I'm safe and protected I get to challenge the rigidity of my mind and the limitations dissolves from inside slowly expanding the limits from the inside.
This is also where I get to experience being more than just an individual, or experiencing we are one or being part of something bigger. These experiences are the most valuable ones for me. Today I know I need them to live authentically and in accordance with my truth. I need to have a teacher who also have done the journey, I need to have many fellow-passengers to share the experience with.

In asana work (and thereby every situation in life) I have two types of understanding the "aha" experience, and the "dimmer" where I get to see the lights turned on slowly.
My literature (other than sutras) now tells me that understanding is a feeling. Nothing else. I can relate to this.
If the limit between two individuals minds, really goes away and there can be "true understanding" between persons is not important. But me sensing the feeling of being understood or understanding is great, but maybe just another color on the "palette of feelings".

I get a little dizzy when I think about how big the universe is, and I get the same weird feeling thinking that there maybe never is any understanding or meaning to it all, other than what we experience or project unto it....
So for this week, reach beyond the confines of oneself, opening and relating.
Maybe connecting or partner work?

Life is wonderful :-)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Desikachar talks about how the mind is like a double edged sword. The sweet gifts of yoga and samyama can easily be used by our creative mind to seduce us off the path and into seeking the gift that comes along instead of the ultimate state of freedom. Sutra 3.37 “For an individual who may revert to a state of distraction, this extraordinary knowledge and capabilities acquired through samyama ade worth possessing. But, for the one who seek nothing less than a sustained state of yoga, the results of samyama are obstacles in them selves.” (Desikachar translation and counting)

If I do continuous yoga posture practice I get rewarded with for example a sense of lightness or vitality in my everyday. But if I change my commitment to be about getting this sensation I somehow loose it and something else in my life breaks down or I loose contact with the sense of being free that was carrying the experience that brought about the sense of lightness hmm not easy to write about.
I can relate on a personal level as well. After a larger traumatic injury the healing process brought about some unexpected gains in form of new work and different living situation(s). And when I get sidetracked by these gains, and I do sometimes, I loose contact to what really matters… to be alive and my passion for life, being ultimately free. Somehow I find that the “sidetracks” has a lot to do with ego and my … character-challenges :-) oh yes let’s call them this today.

So I keep the focus and keep on working and walking the path that brings about truth, ease and being free. One daily practice at a time, one evening review (yama/niyamas) at a time. One asana at a time :-)
Jenni Saunte

Saturday, May 21, 2011

sense and move on

3.36 "Then, one begins to acquire extraordinary capacities" (Desikachar translation and count)
So the ordinary is to be driven by a hundred forms of fear and desires that clouds our sight and connection into the great reality and the state of yoga.
When I get set free set free from only focusing the outer object, and by samyama on the perceiving process gets connected to my inner seer, the inner truth gets revealed...
"So when I focus on the object my inner Perceiver stays unrevealed to me – but still strong. When I move my focus to the perceiving act or process, when I experience something in me receives or perceives the emotion or sensation – I start to experience the inner seer. That, which is not the stimuli, not the sensation but the canvas or the space. " from last week..

Sutra 3.36 promises me that some "extraordinary" capacities will arrive. In tha asana my surrender can lead me into completely new knowledge and experience. But reverse; my experience is that if my ego get boosted again, by for example insecurity, by visiting a new teacher, and I questions my inner truth. I can, suddenly, loose connection to the extraordinary strength or lightness I sometimes access.
This inspires my personal daily practice to keep sensing what I sense and try to move towards not being driven by my story about "why" I sense what I do and stay a bit longer
(I have a mind that always concludes I better stop, almost at any sensation of discomfort).

It can inspire my teaching to keep differentiating about what we sense in the asana and what the choices are based on. That the part of us that is sensing for example fatigue is not fatigue, the part of us that sense anger or grief is not angry or grieving. There is a possibility at all times to connect to this inner witness or observer.
I'm not good at this in asana practice, I'm actually a complete beginner in life to Not try to fix any attraction and repulsion I sense in life. In march I had this returning meditation on sensations being just like colors - not something we should put meaning into. Just sense and move on...
hard for me :-)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

change and stillness

Sutra 3.35 “The mind, which is subject to change and the Perceiver, which is not, are in proximity but are of distinct and different characters. When the mind is directed externally and acts mechanically towards objects there is either pleasure or pain. However, when at the appropriate time, an individual begins enquiry into the very nature of the link between the Perceiver and perception, the mind is disconnected from external objects and there arises the understanding of the Perceiver itself.” (Desikachar translation+counting)

So when I focus on the object my inner Perceiver stays unrevealed to me – but still strong. When I move my focus to the perceiving act or process, when I experience something in me receives or perceives the emotion or sensation – I start to experience the inner seer. That, which is not the stimuli, not the sensation but the canvas or the space.
Desikachar writes about how an attachment to an object is like having muddy glasses on – it doesn’t help that the eye is good and the sight is clear, the mud on the glass makes the object blurred.
Iyengar writes about being “free from egoism” this is very useful for me. I was given the definition of the ways ego “blurs the sight” we know them as “selfish, self-seeking, dishonesty and fear”. Or the yamas and niyamas give us useful hints :-)

When I read these two texts, I think what Iyengar calls the soul, is what Desikachar calls the perceiver. I find that in my world it is more easy to relate to the inner seer or inner Perceiver for now. But I’m not sure.
I love these sentences; “By samyama, the yogi has to disentangle the knot that binds the intellect and the self, and isolate the refined intelligence. From this comes isolation of the senses, mind and ego, and finally the release of the light of the soul.” (Iyengar on sutra 3.36)


Sunday, May 08, 2011

heart and mind

3.34 "Samyama on the heart will definitely reveal the qualities of the mind." (Desikachar translation+counting)
Heart is considered the seat of the mind.
If the mind's quality is unsteady, shifting and nervous - well my experience is that my heart beat is affected as well. If there is pain on my mind I can actually feel it in my heart region. Medically they have found that there are cells in that heart that we also have in the brain. You can read about it here:

"The idea that we can think with our hearts is no longer just a metaphor, but is, in fact, a very real phenomenon. We now know this because the combined research of two or three fields is proving that the heart is the major center of intelligence in human beings. Molecular biologists have discovered that the heart is the body's most important endocrine gland. In response to our experience of the world, it produces and releases a major hormone, ANF - which stands for Atriol Neuriatic Factor - that profoundly effects every operation in the limbic structure, or what we refer to as the "emotional brain." This includes the hippocampal area where memory and learning take place, and also the control centers for the entire hormonal system. And neurocardiologist have found that 60 to 65% of the cells of the heart are actually neural cells, not muscle cells as was previously believed. They are identical to the neural cells in the brain, operating through the same connecting links called ganglia, with the same axonal anddendritic connections that take place in the brain, as well as through the very same kinds of neurotransmitters found in the brain."

I had a slight problem to find the (french, I think) researcher who made the discovery... But I read his book 6 years ago, and this reference is describing the same thing.

Iyengar uses the word consciousness in this sutra- which is different.
I'm still not sure about what the mind is and what the consciousness is, in your beautiful language, but I will get there, I'm getting more and more close.
Iyengar writes that the yogi can tap the source of her being and identify herself with the supreme - by samyama on the heart.
If reality or authenticity is the supreme, and already the hearts movements so easily reveals to us where we're really at, I'm all open to the suggestion that samyama (meditation and integration) on the heart should lead me to my essence, and to the great reality within.

In class and practice; let the heart lead, connect to heart in practice and asana. Maybe make the connection more tangible by doing some chest-openers and some pranayama that make the area sensitive and aware.

Jenni Saunte

Saturday, April 30, 2011

to understand instead of being understod

Sutra 3.33 “Anything can be understood. With each attempt, fresh and spontaneous understanding arises.”(Desikachar translation and counting, Iyengar 3.34).
I resently took a class where the teacher passed on the word from Iyengar that “as long as we’re trying we haven’t failed”. I guess this makes sense to me. I’ve had some time to follow the guideline of “trial and error” what’s right will always survive, what’s true is still true after any test or tryout. Only the false and … wrong, will vanish or disappear (I love the later).

Godfrey Deveraux repeated to me that the birth of new cells and the new generation of cells, make it so vitally important – this attempt we’re in right now! right here.
To me this connects into this sutra.

This sutra also relates to Saint Francis of Assisi’s prayer; (grant me;) to understand instead of being understood. An authentic position for the “I” maker is to try to understand, it’s ok that it is a “trying” not just “doing” it :-) I’ve had some difficulties about the position as “trying” which ment for me, not to succeed but I’m another place now. Trying is just as true a position, alongside succeeding or doing – trying to understand, is just as fine as understanding. The balance or tension between these two positions is a spark, a transformative power.

Iyengar writes; “As day follows the dawn, impulsive nature is transformed into intuitive thought through which the yogi possesses universal knowledge”
Starting to trust, having an intuition is fantastic, nothing less, and doing this in a fellowship among others on the same path is even better, having a guide to share with; who has gone through the journey is a blessing. I get more real, sharing my experience and I get more connected to My path, My truth and clarity.
My path and truth becomes clearer when I listen to others expressing their truth and path.
When we are in very different worlds I get to reinvest in what’s working for me, free from “agreement” and safety of consensus. I get to play I choose my path as something different and as independent. When I listen to someone who’s having the same path as me, I also become more real and rich (this experience is just more pleasant for my ego ;-)

So this week; attempt and facilitate new understanding. Keep on trying and keep on living it – moving towards and being already there!!!
And experiment in practice, with trusting new intuition.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

reality is here to live

3.32 “Samyama on the source of high intelligence in an individual develops supernormal capabilities.” (Desikachar translation and count)
Through this, he writes, we may receive support and greater vision from the divine forces. To me it means supernormal, so deep into the normal (real) that it touches its essence.
To receive support and vision from the divine forces, is to me to connect into what’s real on a deeper more true level. When my mind and perception is less disturbed, I can see more clear and thereby find guidance and support in something real instead of my disturbed story of whats going on…
So this week go for a deeper more steady connection – reach out to touch and sense and be as awake as ever possible!
We will be working with heart and chest, with feet and foundation.
Partly because this is as real as it get’s for me these days, but also because this is the most rewarding and transforming part of my practice – as a teacher I stay true to where I’m at, and thereby I give the best I have to my students at all times.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

the scared is here to die

“Samyama on the chest area and enquiry into the sensations felt there in different physical and mental states gives one the means to remain stable and calm even in very stressful situations.” Sutra 3.21 Desikachar translation+counting)

We experience the symptoms of stress and anxiety in chest area.
Iyengar mentions the six spokes of the mind; lust, anger, greed, infatuation, pride and envy. Samyama on the chest transforms them into friends and brings steadiness and the emotional center into a state of undisturbed.

I relate to this, intuitively I've searched into asanas where I can feel my chest (and meditate on this sensation) in times of stress or anxiety. It works. In my world it's been formulated as - chest-openers takes courage and brings courage.
The sunsalutation, the virabhadrasanas, the natarajasana and chandrasana...
Mostly this year I've enjoyed the preparation work for kapotasana.

I also have had great enjoyment of a teachers words about the "yoga-heart" where he tried to talk about this sensation where the heart is more and transcending the heart and chest area - an energy clearly felt and beautiful to meditate on.

In my life I have a gesture where I touch my chest with my right hand, to invite the scared or worried position in me to join in the situation we're at.

I guess for practice this is an observation-point that enriches the practice. It's easter so my focus is also on being reborn. I guess the scared is here to die and the position of being reborn into courage is a possibility - for example this could be via the journey of samyama on the chest.


Jenni Saunte
happy easter light

Saturday, April 09, 2011

throat is a vital area

Sutra 3.29 (Desikachar counting) “Using the throat as the point of enquiry Samyama provides an understanding of thirst and hunger. This enables one to control extreme symptoms” (Desikachar translation)
My first reaction was that I have nothing what so ever to relate to this, but I love the suggestion and the game it invites to. I’m a pig for candy and sugar is a stimulant that just grabs me and I get this urge or craving for it sometimes… oh yes. So this sutra suggest the game, next time with sugar-craving try focusing on my throat ;-) and see what happens. Ok! I’m on it.

I can relate to Desikachars words “the throat is a vital area” and to me appetite is a part of loving life and a sign of vitality. When it’s in balance… I know that something is working when the bandhas just happen, and the jalandhara bandha is fabulous and clear to experience.
To the women that have given birth; I think the most similar experience to the bandhas are the experience of giving birth; when the body(or reality) just takes over and uses the body and the only position left for “me” to take; is to follow along, observe, enjoy (not so much the birth, but the bandha). We can make certain effort to make it happen (tired of the rhino–experience, remember? We tried to make the birth happen with sex :-) walk, wash the floor, drink certain tea, and hospital can give drugs..) but we still can’t do it, suddenly it appears and we can be more or less consciously participating (or trying to get out of it). Ok, I’m not completely sure, but that’s fine.

Now I have been in teacher training for a month and I love it! I love the focus on the everyday practice and I love the transformation that happens. I have to order some of my books still…

Saturday, April 02, 2011

navel navel who am I??

Sutra 3.28 (Iyenhgar counting) “By samyama on the navel, the yogi acquires perfect knowledge of the disposition of the human body” (Iyengar translation)

And since it’s the body we gain knowledge Iyengar recalls what the five layers of the body are.. I just keep on quoting;
“The anatomical sheath consists of seven substances: skin, blod, flesh, sinew, bone, marrow and semen…
The physiological sheath consists of the circulatory, respiratory, digestive, excretory, endocrine, lymphatic, nervous and reproductive systems.
The psychological sheath is the seat of motivation…
The intellectual sheath, reasons and judges.
The spiritual sheath, body of bliss, is also called the casual body.”

So these are the areas of knowledge we are promised to achieve, if we meditate on and integrate (samyama) the navel.
One of my daughters had a very close relation to her navel her first 7 years in the world. She should always touch it if she was sad or when the evening came.. She called it “maldi” which means nothing in Nordic languages (it’s called navel here as well…), so when Iyengar mentions that the navel is a centre of all the nadis in the body, known as kandasthana (kanda=egg) and that all our energy arrives from this centre, well I’m not completely surprised :-) even though I still have only a vague idea of the nadis.
But this new form of Yoga I’m committed to, shows me so much more from the inside, (wordless I’m gaining knowledge of the nadis and the chakras – sorry guys if this is too flowery for you)
I don’t have to read books (haha working at a library, even if I work a lot with development it’s still a BIG statement). Actually the organization of the sheaths is also interesting if you work with organization of knowledge or databases in any old way (Linné, dk5…Dewey classification system). It serves as an opposing force – beautifully to us westerners thinking we have it all put into the right places – I just love this!!

So for the asanas, the teaching, the home practice this week; energy of the body (thanks) and focus on the navel, recognizing the sheaths or starting to experience some of this wisdom (not instead, but along with).
Jenni Saunte

Monday, March 28, 2011

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sutra 3.28 “Samyama on Polaris gives knowledge about the relative movements of the stars” Desikachar translation (3.29 Iyengar counting).

So by integrating and meditation on the Polar star the yogi will get knowledge of the movement of the stars. I have never tried this, I have no experience with this. But I can relate to Iyengars word by word translation;
dhruve – fixed, firm, permanent, the Pole star, era, tip of the nose
tat – from that, of their
gati – movement, course of events, fortune
jnanam – knowledge

To me this means by meditation on and integrating what's firm and fixed I get to know what's changing and moving.

I can relate to this! For example, in the asanas where I twist, when a part of the spin is fixated (upper back fixated by arms along the floor to the sides or lower back fixated by knees together...) I get to deepen my experience the part which actually moves. The sutra also brings to mind "looking at the sky" and how intense the clouds movements gets when there is a high building or a mountain to look at simultaneously.
The sutra gets turned over in me to every time I know something about the change and movement I know it from an integration of a fixed polar star in me. My position as an observer is that of firmness and steadiness.

In my teaching this becomes working the foundation (feet) working the focal points in balances and perhaps using floor and wall a bit more than usually.



Saturday, March 19, 2011

smooth even breaths ;-)

Sutra 3.28 “By samyama on the moon, the yogi will know the position and system of the stars” Iyengar translation (3.27 Desikachar counting)

Like the sun is equated with the seat of the soul (the core of ones being) spreading light through our life, the moon (candra) can be equated with the mind and the consciousness.
Coming from a country with four seasons I love the metaphor of how the sun changes in seasons, more or less light and warmth, but the cooling system stays the same all through.
We will gain knowledge of position and system. This last weekend I started Iyengar Teacher Training – I love it and I am in awe for the greatness of this gift in my life. Welcome.
One of the things, this sutra connects to the TT, for me, is for example that when we sit – we wait for the inner body to be still. This is for me to get the lunar aspect to be included in what’s next. The sutra also connects to the fact that in every asana we move our energy body as well, as the physical and the mental. And :-) Most Important for ME!! We’re on a quest for indifference, neutrality or getting undisturbed – I can’t tell you how grateful I’m for this. And this sutra, to me, means the same. Going for something smooth, cool and still. This reminds me of yogas words: “soft abdomen, throat and face, smooth even breaths”. It connects to the idea of learning to be indifferent in order to be able to observe everything with a clear mind and see reality more clear (instead of seeing little selfs stories) Great Reality. Seeing the system and the position in us and around us. Love love love

So, this week go for experiencing the inner body settle in every asana (every action in life). Starting up work with headstand and candrasana.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

my inner milky way

Sutra 3.27 (Iyengar counting) "By samyama on the sun the yogi will have knowledge of the seven worlds, and of the seven cosmic centers of the body"

This is one of these "coincidences" - that I love. Last week I asked the great reality to reveal itself to me within, free and clear from my intellectual interpretation of a sign. And I was given a day where I woke up a 4 am with a feeling that my whole inner center was a cosmos, a planetary system, a milky way within, slowly turning around itself.
Now Iyengar writes that Patanjali doesn't only talk about how the yogi should meditate and integrate the sun (in the sky) - but to search within! "As microcosm represents the macrocosm, man's body epitomizes the entire structure of the great universe."

So.. I say yes! I can relate. He also writes about the sun of within "The light that shines from the seat of the soul is the sun of life".
My teacher says that the Gayatri mantra is a celebration of the sun - that we pray to shine our light on all around us, as life giving and generous and not judgmental but including. We give thanks for the life that the sun gives and the light that makes us able to see clearly (awaken) the world.

So focus for this week - my inner sun (and the outer spring sun coming around) the Gayatri mantra and going for integration and meditative state on this :-) exploring the micro- and macrocosm.
love jenni saunte

Saturday, February 26, 2011

focusing on the life force

Sutra 3.25 (3.24 Iyengars counting) “Directing the mind to the life force itself, and through samyama, sustaining that direction, results in the ability to observe fine subtleties and understand what is preventing deep observation.” (Desikachar translation)
In my asana practice focusing on life force is most clear, when I focus on prana, experiencing presence, awareness, the sensation of energy flow or well some kind of power.
This will be my weeks focus point – life force itself.
It’s just a blessing, because this is exactly where I am. This week I’ve been in contact to being a survivor, being alive and my passion for life today.
And I have a meditation focus from before I read this sutra that is “Great Reality will reveal the Great Reality to me” so it all comes together.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

my structure and course is solid

Sutra 3.25 (3.24 Iyengars counting) “Samyama on the physical strength of an elephant can give one the strength of an elephant.” Desikarchar translation, he writes it up like an example of the previous sutra; that in our yoga practice we can cultivate different qualities of the mind and the body.

My first thought was: “Yes – it’s like that stone in the middle of the hill that you don’t want to hit, skiing. But the more you think about the stone, the more your skis somehow go there, and yes…
Samyama means integration, so I guess it’s natural we partly become what we integrate with.

This sutra also reminds me of earlier sutras, that talks about choosing our focusing point and/or our teacher as an important decision. I get this. What I focus on rubs of on me. After my first teacher training I used many of the same sentences and movements as my master, partly because I was new and didn’t have my own expression yet, but also because in the intense process of teaching/learning there is most certainly an element of samyama especially the integrative part.

But I will focus on strength this week. Asanas that give and require strength. But also being strong as shown in choosing reality, staying within personal limitations and being strong as daring to look and admit weakness. My meditation has been on “faith, love and worship” being the tissue of my life, the qualities that set my structure and my course. This relates into strength as well, and point of focus. If I worship … a man, or money or being right, the structure I build will have a base in human/material limitations, it will be weak. If I worship my gift of having this experience of being alive, having sensations or worship my solution – my structure and course is solid.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

my inner friend :)

Sutra 3.24 (3.23 Desikachars counting)
“Different qualities such as friendliness, compassion and contentment can be enquired into through samyama, Thus, one can learn how to strengthen a chosen quality” (Desikachar translation) In the same way as a mental or physical skill can be obtained.

“[The sadhaka] gains moral and emotional strength by performing friendliness and other virtues towards one and all.” (Iyengar translation)
Iyengar writes that the practice of friendliness, compassion and benevolence keeps the consciousness free from desire, anger, greed, lust, pride and envy. This disposition of the mind creates a graceful disposition of the heart.

How do I relate to this?
I relate this sutra to my daily inventory-practice, where I ask my self how the yamas and niyamas have been unfolded in my day.
In my yoga posture practice, I relate this sutra to how, asana to me, symbolizes all action in every day, and how I get to develope patience, loving kindness or acceptance in my relation to the asana and my human limitedness or amazement today :-)

What is my experience?
The sutra reminds me of starting to do the inventory many years ago gave me insight into being innocent. This last year with the yamas and niyamas, the inventory given me knowledge of where I'm consciously aware of for example "being moderate" or "being considerate". These inventories and moments of meditation on my actions also have the effect that I sometime during my day consciously get in touch with the idea - "ok, I'm listening and not talking here - this is me practicing "being moderate" today"...

This inspires me to go for working with the attitude of being friendly and with my inner friend. Both in my personal practice but also as a teacher..
My mind works with compassion to me - giving me a voice that says "Oh, honey" in a loving motherly way, really nice and comforting and I get to feel accepted.
"Do not listen to friends when the inner friend says: Do this!” (Gandhi)
Jenni Saunte

Saturday, February 05, 2011

My purpose of writing is to connect into a tradition and let it influence my life and teaching

Sutra 3.22 (3.23 Iyengars counting) “The results of action may be immediate or delayed. Samyama on this can give one the ability to predict the course of future actions and even one’s own death.” (Desikachar translation)

The translations are very close to each other here. I love that – ease and comfort to me.
My everyday inventory of my actions is a meditation on this. And it is my experience that it brings me the ability to see where I’m steering at :-) and where I’m most likely to end up, unless my course is changed. I don’t know anything about foreseeing my own death, but I sometime have a big ego-trip, almost compulsive (ok let’s say compulsive) and my meditation on my actions can give me insight into when this part of my ego will die. But until now I haven’t had much to do about it, well knowing I should not do/say/argue/eat cake :) I have to let it take the time it takes. Other times I feel like I access a power greater than this ego-trip and I just stop. I’ve come to love them both. In asana work, I can know an obstacle and that there will be freedom after its removal. I can feel how long this will take and give into it.

Desikachar writes that all action is influenced by “the purpose of the action, the state of mind of the actor, the clarity at our disposal and the circumstances”. I love this list. I don’t have anything to add, that’s satisfying. My purpose of writing is to connect into a tradition and let it influence my life and teaching. My state of mind is somehow agitated (reacting to a stupid e-mail) but also smiling and calm. Clarity is given freely and in overwhelming amounts doing this!! My situation is a bit influenced by having kids at home, and part of me is paying attention to them, but this is also a situation I’m used to and embrace! Love this here and now!!
Namasté ¬

Saturday, January 29, 2011

to be the black pattern on black

Sutra 3.21 relates to being noticed or not – to be the black pattern on black, or the white pattern on black, so to speak… “Samyama on the relationship between the features of the body and what affects them, can give one the means to merge with one’s surroundings in such a way that one’s form is indistinguishable” (Desikachar translation).
To me this is a great promise. If I work with inventory, meditation and integration I can get to choose weather to be noticed or not. To attract more or less attention.
In the last years I’ve been given the experience to sit in company with “attention-demanding” persons or persons who I don’t agree with at all or in big companies where I got all the attention or none at all.
The new thing, to me, is that I’ve been consciously aware of this and sometime been given the experience of choosing to not “take any attention” or choose to be seen and heard. This is new and very exciting to me.
In my past I always felt like a victim, or all powerful :-) not much in between – haha! For example; after a big dinner where I got a lot of attention, I could get all remorseful “Oh, I shouldn’t have told this/that. I should have appeared more humble and silent –haha “Oh, ego!” But it could also go the other way; “Why don’t they listen to Me?!”, “If I left – nobody would take notice”
I love that the Sanskrit word for ego is the same as for pride; ahamkara :-)

This sutra promises me to get power to make a conscious choice and feel content with the outcome.
I know it is my investment in the path that has given me the baby-experience of this.
I actually felt free when I don’t fill up. When I don’t “stand by my convictions” they can still fill me up – I get to experience my love for them inside me, freely. Without the attachment (addiction) to somebody’s confirmation of me.

To my teaching situation, this tells me that I can as a teacher choose how controlling or “visible” I want to be, if I work samyama on the relationship between the features of the body and what affects them. This is a gift to both my students and me. It also tells me that I can recognize when others fill up the room or try to become one with the wall. It’s ok.
Being part of something and consciously aware of how I participate. Going for balance and honesty in every asana.
Jenni Saunte

Practical note

After sutra 1.21, my three texts differ in the numbering of the sutras. Iyengar gives space to a sutra 1.22 that has the same content as sutra 1.21 (about attracting less or no attention from our surroundings), but this sutra relates to other senses than sight, not being heard/smelled or felt…
I will relate to sutra 1.22 in Iyengars translation, together with sutra 1.21 in all my texts.
Therefore when I move on to sutra 1.22, this will be Iyengars sutra 1.23.
My texts put different numbers on the sutras – but (almost) the same focus/content/subject.
If this is not clear, write to me :-) and I will try to make it more understandable.
Jenni Saunte

Saturday, January 22, 2011

grace of yoga

“But can we see from [our ability to know the mind of others] what the origin is of the state of mind?” Desikachars translation of Sutra 3.20, answers: “No, the cause of state of mind of one individual is beyond the scope of observation by another”

Ok, so in asana and teaching situation I can see symptoms of what’s going on in the student. I can have an idea of the origin of these symptoms, but I cannot know for sure. The more experienced I get, the more qualified are my ideas, but I still cannot know. And maybe it’s not important. “It’s not why, why, why it just is” like Van Morrison sings. Let’s just go with the answer “it’s the big bang” to all the “why” questions. Iyengar writes that for a yogi to try to look into the minds of others is a waste of time and a risk to loose “the grace of yoga”, unless it is to know how to act best towards this person. I have personal experience with this, it’s like staring into an abyss, to try to understand some people in my surroundings that act so… let’s call it negative. Trying to relate to this or trying to understand this and worst: trying to change this – I loose my contact to consciously knowing that I live in grace.

So here I am in my graceful morning. 1. I’m alive! 2. I love life and being 3. I love my idea for today! –whatever-

Iyengars translation is somewhat different, and he points out that this sutra is sometimes omitted, because it should be a later addition. I’m just keeping it simple and going with what makes sense to me right now. Desikachars translation gives me contact to my perception, experiences and it fits into a whole.
For this weeks class I’m going with “grace”. Right now it means to me; going with the position as “treasure-hunter” the one who receives and gets to experience. Not deserving the grace of yoga, just receiving it from showing up on the mat.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

To see a world in a grain of sand

Sutra 3.19, Desikachar translation "Samyama on the changes that arise in an individual's mind and their consequences, develops in one the ability to acutely observe the state of mind of others."
I relate this to William Blake's "To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour."
It's actually a shortcut :-) getting to know my fellow human beings - through getting to know me. I'm always around, I can always hear my ideas, opinions, thoughts -sometimes unfortunately :-)
At my other work, we been through some user innovation processes, they gave me insight to a problem and a gain that easily can apply to the process of this sutra.
The problem with examining or inventorying ourselves - is that we cannot see the tip of our own nose :-) the gift of examining ourselves, is that when we hit our target it goes deep and is most efficient! To me this is one of the sutras that builds upon the truth that "we are all one". Whatever I see in you or call you - is me. If you're an as so am I, if you are great, well, so am I.
Iyengar translates the sutra into: "(S)he acquires the ability to understand others"

At an asana perspective, Desikachar writes; "Every mental activity produces a distinct physical effects" like sleeping with slow, almost invisible breath and being agitated and red in the face, and almost hyperventilating :-) By knowing us and our physics we get to know something about our mind and thereby we will know the mind of others..

Iyengar; "The word "saksatkarnat... means seeing realilty" (oh, I love that), "The word pratyaya means perceiving the content of mind." "Both convey the same meaning."
By knowing me, I will know you. Knowing reality and knowing content of mind is not separated but inclusive.
I always act at the most awaken state I know.
This is the big forgiveness and the big love-declaration from universe to me.
In my practice and my teaching this means to inquire, to measure to explore every breath, every asana. And to experience and live the most awake in every moment of every asana - which is possible for me today!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

espresso asana experience!

90 days "with asanas on a chair" celebration!!
soo what did it bring to the celebration?
I found out that I mostly just did preparation work for kapotasana but I never aimed to reach a certain variant of this pose, or even start to pursue it. From day one, it started out as a "follow up" from this summers intense yoga-work. I had troubles breathing (at the Orvieto retreat)with ease and in several other poses fought with stiffness in my shoulders. Soo, this was my motivation to start. To loosen up in shoulders and get to breath in the chair-variant of this pose...
I had only done it for a week or two before I noticed it had kind of an espresso-effect to me - it wakes me up! And it's reliable. If I don't have energy to do my daily practice I can always convince me to lay in kapotasana on a chair - and when I come out of it - I'm in "bring it on" mood :-)
Another great benefit is that I found out how much my ribs "sack together" in my ordinary work-life. Like an accordion that nobody played on :-( so vitalizing and pure melody was created through the kapotasana with chair pose - some days I even felt my abdominal muscles stretch - I didn't think that was possible!!!! I mean, pregnancies no strength what so ever...
I became longer, lighter and more straight out of this practice!

To take care of my back, I used a pillow, especially when I did the asana as the first thing in the morning practice, or when I was tired and had -not a back pain- but something in that direction. The asana was most suited for me, to do in the afternoon and after a "warm up", not as the very first thing. But I got too awake to do it as part of my practice in the evening, so many days I did the kapotasana on chair, when I got home from work, and than my practice later in the evening.
It was the perfect thing to start out with, with the tiny exception that my back was.. well let's call it overwhelmed. To do this I started with just laying still with my arms straight and a bit hanging, and after a minute -when my breathing is smoothe and easy- I reach for the little "plank" between the feet of the chair. Grabbing this plank is an "oh-have mercy" moment - but this is part of being set-free, for me.

I can highly recommend anyone to go ahead and use the chair as a tool in the hunt for clear perception and deepening experience on the way through change to freedom :-)
love jenni

Saturday, January 08, 2011

a love relationship to reality

Iyengar translation, sutra 3.18; ""Through direct perception of his subliminal impressions, the yogi gains knowledge of her previous lives"

When Iyengar writes and uses the Hindu concepts of "past and present" lives. I can relate, today.
It is not so much tied up in the death of my body. I actually know something about death and birth going on in my lifetime. The death of an old role, like "wife" she had to die or transcend being divorced. “Daughter” has died many deaths, in order for me and my mum to have a healthy present relationship. "Mother" and co-parent have to die several deaths, the kids and our circumstances and the relation to their father changed so drastically that death and birth is the most accurate description of the process. Going from being a student to being an employee was a death and a birth.

At my last sessions with Godfrey Devereux he insisted to stay on his mat and not play along in the "ending-story" of the class. "There are no endings" well maybe there are deaths, I've experienced this total transformation of mind: I suddenly see the world as I never did before. Maybe "detachment" is a death, death of an old idea or an old story... Maybe awakenings are births, something that dramatically changes the whole perspective and living afterwards.
To me it makes sense to play along and call it an "ending of the class" even doing it consciously as an symbolic act (to see clearly I'm playing). This is the same reason that makes “celebrate new years eve”, as if there is an ending of a year and a start of a new year, meaningfull – to play symbolically. These things that I do, isn't a reflection of my truth or beliefs but recognition of death and birth in a symbolical way. Celebrating them, separated from when they occur to me or my family as human beings.

"Samyama on one's tendencies and habits will lead one to his/her origins. Consequently, one gains deep knowledge of one's past." The same sutra 3.18, translated by Desikachar.
I have been doing daily inventory for 4-5 years. The last year it's been with the yamas and niyamas as inventory-model. It gives me insight into me, it brings perspective and proportions - not a bad thing and; Yes! very deep. This also relates to the asana-work. Doing the same asanas, daily, for about three months in a row, gives me deep knowledge of my habits and tendencies, but like with my inventory I don't enjoy the knowledge as much as seeing what this knowledge gives me - balance, strength, flexibility, lightness and wellbeing, comfort, contentment.
This is how I relate to the words of Desikachar:
"We learn how our behaviour and personal characteristics developed and what events in the past influenced our attitudes, likes and dislikes."
Or in Iyengar's words: "pains and pleasures experienced in present life as a result of good and bad actions in past lives"

Iyengar writes that: "When we see in truth, we see directly "independent of memory, and feelings of joy and sorrow""
This gets turned around for me into a guideline: The things in my life I'm not emotionally reacting to, is the things I'm closest to the truth about.
And :-)
When I’m emotional excited/sad/angry and on a “very important” mission – I might not be in contact with the most truth there is… Good guideline to wait until the wave have crusted and is retracting… I know this is true for me. I know how it feels when the story about "it is soo important!!" lets go and there is suddenly a possibility to move and change and; unlike nothing else, a sense of being real. After I started to have these experiences I've developed a passionate love-relationship with reality - loving it above all else - even when it hurts. (I'm done painting my red flags green - thanks for these words)
Jenni Saunte