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!