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