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