Day 4 was set up into practice in the morning and then Chanting-Lecture-Yoga Therapy in the afternoon. And what an afternoon it was! By the end of it my head was buzzing…buzzing with so much info! All this philosophy i had already covered in my Ashtanga Vinyasa TTC in Rishikesh India, but it’s ALWAYS good to go over it again, and again, and again….it needs to sink in, and since it’s so different to what we are used to, it takes time.
We bagan by singing the Shakti Mantra followed by 3 rounds of Anuloma Viloma (alternate nostril breathing).
The next Mantra we sang is the Durga Mantra:
“Om Dum Durgayai Namaha” and we sang this 108 times at the end we sat in silence for a few mins.
We then sang a sacred mantra, a divine mantra – i don’t have the name, it’s so sacred & divine that it’s name is a secret! 😉
Bija – literally means seed – used for mystical “seed syllables” contained within Mantras. These seeds do not have precise meanings, but are thought to carry connections to spiritual principles. The best-known bīja syllable is Om.
It is said that when you repeat a Bija Mantra a certain amount of times, the energy of that Mantra will grow – sounds pretty cool huh? There is a catch: you have to repeat it 400,000 times before it’s energy starts to grow!
For example, the triangles in a Yantra are seeds of potential energy, when you chant a bija regularly, the energy grows in the field of consciousness.
You can sing a simple bija – Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha or Om Dum Durgayai Namaha. Eddie then gave us the example of the Gayatri Mantra and said that each bija each syllable must be sang a certain amount of time. He also told us that Brahmin’s had to repeat 1million bija’s and that they started at the tender age of 7 by repeating the bija 108 times a day, 3 times a day – this meant that one would finally finish at the age of 45!
This just goes to show that the spiritual evolution in India has a long evolution.
“How long does it take for a dove with a piece of silk in it’s mouth to wear down a rock that rises from the sea level?” – it doesn’t matter, just need to know that it takes a long time!
Bhagavad Gita ch.6 – Arjuna asks Krishna “When was the 1st Karma started?” Krisna’s answer? “The web of Karma is unfathomable, it can’t be known”
Suffering is beginning less, but it has an end (that’s good to know!)
When & Why questions are based on Space & Time – the answer satisfies for a temporary period.
Thru the practice you get your own inner understanding and little by little doubts will go away. (Eddie told us that Guruji didn’t believe in the word question, and that to him, questions were just doubts.)
What are the different ways one can gain knowledge from a wise person (Sage or Guru)?
– service (prostrate)
Back to Bija’s & Mantras 😉
Then we sang the “Om Aim Hreem Kleem Chamundaye Vichche” Mantra either 27 or 54 times (not 100% sure) followed by silence.
Then we did 3 rounds of alternate nostril breathing on our own – as we inhaled & as we exhaled we mad to mentally repeat the mantra Om Aim Hreem Kleem Chamundaye Vichche” (this was actually really nice).
Then we moved on to the lecture part of the afternoon. The topic was Asanas: Yoga Poses.
We addressed 3 questions:
1. How are Asanas related to spirituality?
2. Is Yoga physical or spiritual?
3. Is Yoga religious?
4. Who owns Yoga?
We began with Samkhya – there are 25 things postulated about Samkhya, 2 eternal thing.
A postulation is an educated assumption about something based on observation and experience but you don’t know it to be true or not. It’s a way of explaining something that you think is true, but not necessarily sure.
Postulations in India Philosophy have been upheld for a long time (1,500-5000years), as time goes by, adjustments are made, but initial idea remains.
The India/Vedic tradition is an oral tradition.
Samkhya is an enumerationist philosophy & regards the universe as consisting of two realities:
1. Consciousness – pure awareness (doesn’t create anything or do anything, but is eternal), power of seeing & beingness
2. Nature – infinite creativity (created & is eternal), power of becoming).
Within Nature there are 3 qualities: the 3 Gunas: Satva, Tamas, Rajas (rope like quality) – 3 ropes intertwining in infinite ways, energetic patterns of everything .
3 things happening:
2. Process of Observing
3. Object of Observation
Ahamkara – Cosmic I-ness
Satvic – harmony, pure, poise, fineness, lightness, illumination, and joy;
Tatmasic – coarseness, heaviness, obstruction, and sloth;
Rajasic – dynamism, activity, excitation, and pain;
Eddie then gave us an example to better understand the 3 Gunas:
Take a candle -> all 3 gunas are represented in 1 object = in all the universe
– the wax is inert (tamasic – heavy, won’t move unless you move it)
– then we have the wick
– then the flame, the fire (rajasic – activity)
– warmth & light coming from the candle (satvic – warm, bright, light, nice)
– bones are tamasic
– nervous system (electric impulses) is rajasic
– mind – principle of Satva (quality of reflection)
Tamasic – 5 elements (Pancha Mahabhuta): earth, water, air, fire, ether
5 Tanmatras: hearing, tasting, smelling, seeing, touching
Satva – 5 organs of Perception: eyes, ears, noce, tongue, skin
linked to element + potential (smelling – earth – nose)
5 organs of Action: locomotion legs, arms, mouth, procreation, evacuation (how we move about in the world)
linked to element + potential
Raja – nothing! It’s the Spark which brings about activity between the two – it’s the spark which brings everything to life!
So that we can know ourselves – this whole model in yoga & Samkya is to understand how we look at things.
Senses – Physical visible world – mind
1. manas 2. ahamkara (self identity) 3. intellect
underlying all this
Jiva -> higher self (universal self) Purusha (where we started)
How is this related to Yoga you may ask?
Yoga came out of this larger philosophical system
What are Yoga asanas? This question was asked to Krishnamacharya – realise link between individual soul &universal soul – yoga s union
union of the individual self + mind
Yoga is both physical & spiritual depending on your perspective of the universe.
There are different ways/levels to approach asanas:
1. Physical exercise
2. Refined physical exercise
3. Mental exercise
4. Spiritual practice
5. Spiritual experience
6 things bring success in Yoga:
– Sense of Adventure
– Faith that what you’re doing is good/Conviction
– Faith/Belief in Teacher’s word
– Don’t spend time with people that pull you away from practice
In Yoga as a Physical Exercise you need Enthusiasm, Determination, Patience. You will gain flexibility, strength & reduced fat, but there can be adverse effects too. If you do anything for a purely physical reason, you take more risks, you do things that are prob not very intelligent – pure physicality is fun (i.e. skydiving) but quite often stupid [here he tells us a story of how he got injured skating].
We should recognise this in our practice – this cuts out other possibilities.
In Refined Physical Exercise, we are still doing things in a physical way, but we think of other aspects: body, organs, health. Qualifications needed: concentration on breath + guidance (qualified teacher to guide) + determination + Patience + Enthusiasm.
We get the same results are Physical Exercise + preventative health care, address existing diseases, ensure proper functioning of physiological system.
There are 3 qualities to consciousness: Satchidananda
Truth – consciousness – being
Truth – consciousness – beauty
Infinite creativity expresses itself thru all manifestations in the world. express thru truth – being – beauty.