I left it for quite a while, so much been going on, but here are the notes on Eddie Stern’s day 5 of the Ashtanga Workshop in Milan.
He began by talking to us about the different mantras:
Deity’s represent many things, they each have particular qualities which make them stand out. Distinctive energy you can feel when you chant.
Earth element, vibrant energy as he’s half elephant (great strength). So when you sing his mantra you can feel the strength.
energy smoothes out, represents pure consciousness, internalised awareness for the mantras.
Mantra & Goddesses
Joyous & creative as they are principle of creation. Praise in song – distinctive energy.
Sun mantra is not very common.
Preserving aspect of universe, all pervasive – who preserves & also protects. Traditionally used for world peace.
3 rounds of anuloma viloma.
In the am we did surya & chandra bedhan pranayama, in the pm we did anuloma viloma.
“Om Namo Narayanaya” 108 times
3 rounds Anuloma viloma
Following by the Ashtanga closing mantra.
If you’re doing it at home, you can:
1. salut your guru + ganesha
2. chant meditation sloka
4. repeat mantra
6. sing swasti prajanam (offering the efforts of spiritual practice to all beings).
Back to lecture. Asanas.
3. Mental exercise (internal exercise)
functions of the mind – use body + breath to discipline the mind.
Qualification: enthusiasm, patience, determination (perseverance) [these are needed always for all levels], qualified teacher + concentration on breath, satvic lifestyle (cleaning up diet affects our mind & ability to do our practice – certain yoga requires clean clear mind.
Food makes you feel heavy/dull -> difficult to step on mat or meditate.
Other food makes you feel clean/clear -> makes the body feel light & overall feeling of health.
Being able to retain in our memory/mind our intention/purpose is NB because the mind moves all the time.
Maintaining a good diet & lifestyle will keep purpose & direction.
The mind goes where the senses go. When we feel/taste/smell – the mind goes there. The mind is the 6th sense organ – attached to the other 5 sense organs.
So if you want to control the way the mind is working, you need to control the senses – discipline in disciplining control senses.
If you have 1 bad habit that you want to stop, if you want to begin disciplining – i.e. tiramisu, when you want it, don’t have it. New pattern being created. If you choose not to do something that you know if bad for you, start creating new habits creating distance – realise it’s just perception, have created perception in the mind that you need it, but just temporary, so leads to attachment to that which is pleasurable is desire, but desire is a form of ignorance where you become attached to or drawn to something that is transient or impermanent, thinking that it is real and lasting.
5 ways to suffer Kleshas:
1. not knowing who we are;
2. becoming attached to thinking we are something we are not;
3. attached to transient pleasures;
4. fear of Death (causes clinging to life – what is this life? Misperception of not knowing who we are)
Can all be resolved by resolving the 1st one….So who are we?
Pattern of looking for happiness in secondary obj – we seek to know ourselves thru other things & identifying with other things.
Happiness and understanding of our being should be at the center of heart.
Making self secondary to external achievement. We are trying to make our happiness & self-knowing primary, i.e. we come to yoga, but the same thing can happen with yoga – we can get caught up with external things: next asana, second series -> caught in the cycle, happens quickly.
-> understand how we can notice when are making our happiness primary & when is it becoming secondary?
All related to sense organs!
What are we looking for in yoga -> uncaused happiness!
This comes in the opening prayer (2nd line) – spontaneously rising happiness of one’s own self revealed.
Benefits: strength, flexibility, reduction of bad fat, preventative health care, structural alignment, steadiness of mind.
4. Spiritual Practice
What’s the difference to mental exercise? Devotion + feeling of devotion + feeling of faith (conviction).
Alone can only get so far, then we need a teacher & faith – surrender – let go – create space to allow something else to flow thru. In yoga we are trying to create space – in the joints, breath, minds, heart.
6 things that won’t bring success in yoga/that will destroy our yoga/our practice:
1. over eating
2. over working
4. observing/holding onto extreme austerity -> can be confused with spiritual practice / -> misperception will destroy practice / moderation
5. keeping company with bad people
Within spiritual practice doubt is removed thru faith & conviction. By making happiness primary -> practice for happiness, for understanding of myself so can be better person in the world.
Benefits: as before + transformation of negative qualities & transformation of our perception. We are perceiving obj of our perception in a different way. Obj hasn’t changed – our perception changes – when this happens – new found freedom & enthusiasm in journey.
5. Spiritual experience
Don’t just wanna know – wanna become something – our true essential self.
Need our own personal experience – comes from everything spoken so far + Patanjali.
After a long time of uninterrupted practice, done with sense & feeling of devotion, will become grounded in practice – lead to experience of state of yoga -> means to something at the end it’s a state where the mind is controlled.
When ignorance disappears thru maturity & practice>
Facial nerves affect the brain – smiles can trick the brain into happiness.
Smiling during practice – laugh at self – not taking self too seriously, it’s a sign of being able to step back.
-> make you doubt your practice
-> make you drink more/sleep less
Spiritual practice is hard – need to be surrounded by positive, sensible people that cheer us on.
People that live with unhealthy habits – can be positive & push us to our higher good. it’s all in how they influence us that’s NB – not what they do (their habits).
There you have it guys – the last of my notes on Eddie Stern’s Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga Workshop here in Milan! I’ve got Chuck Miller & David Swenson’s notes to type up next! But please, don’t hold your breaths, in due time 🙂 Enjoy!