Alex: Tracing the Source
|We are all students of life and Yoga puts us in contact with who we truly are - beyond our wildest imagination, expectations and fears - and hopefully instils an integration of something that is uncluttered by our conditioning, something that is real at all times. But we live in a world of ups and downs, time and space, name and form so any definition we give to Yoga will naturally be coloured by our environment, exposure and context. I feel grateful to Pure Yoga for the invitation to join their Teaching Faculty. But I'm first and foremost a student of Yoga who lives nine months of the year in Mysore, India where I study Sanskrit and Yoga, and where the legendary T. Krisnamacharya began to teach Pattabhi Jois, BKS Iyengar, Indra Devi etc. |
All of these blogs may be personal reflections, wild ramblings and fancy, but they will also give an account of interviews with other Yoga teachers, as well as common practitioners and seekers of Yoga. Yoga displays a great diversity all over the world, but hopefully in our shared efforts to articulate it, maybe we can all become a little wiser to what the great heritage of Yoga truly has to offer us?
For Alex's bio, please click here
|07.05.08 Hong Kong This practice we engage in|
|So let's talk a little bit about this thing called Ashtanga Yoga. Not necessarily the eight limbs, but rather how a better experience of them may awaken from practicing this thing called Ashtanga Yoga. Strange I know when there is so much focus on the physical practice, but once I asked Pattabhi Jois why he called it Ashtanga Yoga, when it seems to only be an Ekanga Yoga practice. Well his simple answer was simply: "Yoga must be practical, otherwise no use!"|
So what is then so practical with coming to class every day and sweating your heart out doing all of these weird postures? Well the idea is that we're supposed to observe the mind in the process and if we can succeed in that some great yoga may actually happen to us. The so-called practice of yoga is often advertised as fun, light and easy and by all means we certainly need something to cheer us up in the gloomy daily chores that awaits us, but for yoga to be truly healing it helps to face all sides of our being. What better way to start with out body?
It may indeed be very depressing to actually acknowledge that we're really uptight and holding on in a trillion places and often it's much easier to just push on through with our own will power and high ideas of who/what/where we would like to be rather than taking a good look at what is. But whenever we find the time to just stop, pause and breath for a little, a space opens up and although there is tightness all around, the potentially of greater freedom is tapped into and that has us coming back for more stepping onto our mats trying out our various acrobatics.
But the end goal of all our practice was of course never to impress others or our deluded Ego of who we like to think we are. The particular postures and breathing exercises we engage in were created to heal the dying process we are all consciously or unconsciously a part of. To take a look at our various imbalances, tension and strain and give us a panacea to free up the universal life force within us and allow that to flow more freely throughout the body. That takes a lot of courage, patience and steady practice to get better glimpses of what is actually going on.
So when Pattabhi Jois calls it Ashtanga Yoga it's because he believes that is a valuable tool to get a better practical experience of this thing called yoga by learning to first purify our body/mind organisms on all levels and then eventually be more open to receive the greater gift of yoga. He's not a man of many words and his famous dictum is always: "Practice, practice and all is coming". Well this coming bit may certainly be different to each and every individual, but for those that have time a patience a beautiful new field may arise, where they come to experience their body/mind organism in a completely different way. Where all our high ambition, all the stuff we wanted to do, all the stuff we like and don't like suddenly is not that important any more in the presence of the luminous majestic of what is. When that start to live up in us all this other stuff loose their impact and all that really mattes is to be in harmony with what is.
Now it may involve a heck of a lot of efforts to finally get there and they say the awakening comes with practice and surrender. But when you step on the mat next time, be introspect and alert and according to capability and look at all the stuff that binds you and restricts you rather than just push on through with the many ideas of what you think you should be? Take it slow, learn how to breathe a new life force into the body by first opening up the various strains and tensions that had us cramped in a fix. Then slowly, slowly a greater awakening to yoga may arise. It is never quite what we would like it to be, but for those that are patient enough to first and foremost explore the honest simplicity of what is, a new dawn will certainly awaken within you, where you begin to experience the inter connectedness of all that is and your beautiful place in its midst. If we can only step out of the way and create a little distance to who we think we are and rather let the healing energy that comes from a proper practice breath a new life force into your system. An energy that heals and transforms rather than obstructs and defects, then there may be yoga overflowing and our mind is centered enough to fully perceive it.
That is the purpose of (Ashtanga) Yoga, to gradually step by step, shed all the blemishes and crazy ideas of who we think we are and finally get a taste of what is real and allow that to shine through on all levels. Nobody claims it is easy with all the tricks and treats our mind gets entangled up in, but once started the process, better continue because although the journey may first involve a few aches and pains the gradual experience you are left with gives a true taste of the Self and there is nothing greater to neither taste nor experience.
|Your recent one about "holding on in a trilllion places" is so true it hurts. But, I often feel that most people do not even see this in|
themselves.... or maybe they don't wish to see it....not sure.
It reminds me of this little girl I interviewed during my thesis work...She told me, 'I think my friends don't do yoga because they found out they are not that flexible and are embarassed by it."
Maybe people are really embarassed to see themselves. And certainly yoga will not let you hide even from yourself!
Posted by: Heather | 2008-05-12 20:26:58
POST A COMMENT
All comments are moderated and subject to review by Pure. Because comments
published on any website ultimately contribute to the character of that website, we may decline
to publish comments that are irrelevant, redundant, or that do not adhere to generally accepted
standards of courtesy.