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Yoga Intention and Techniques

    I will never stop being amazed at the depth of yoga's probe into the study of consciousness. Yoga is to the mind, what the telescope is to the eyes.  The telescope extends the capacity of our eyes to see distant stars and planets in greater detail. Yoga practices extend the capacity of our mind to "see" a greater human consciousness.

     I just completed a three day online yoga practice intensive with a program that I have been studying with for the past several years.  It follows a lineage that dates back over a thousand plus years. Through this program I have been practicing Vishoka meditation.  Vishoka meditation has been taught over millennia with tweaks by the sages here and there according to the needs of the times. It is a meditation to resource ourselves through the pain and suffering in the world.  Vishoka meditation is to bring forth our own inner luminosity and joy.

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What is Yoga?

         Often the way that yoga is portrayed in the West is through an emphasis on physicality by the execution of various postures. To think of yoga as being purely about physical movement is missing the core purpose of yoga. In the tradition of yoga the main goal is to alleviate personal suffering.  

         Yoga describes several paths to obtain this goal. (More on the different paths of yoga in the next blog.) Yoga is often defined by the root word “yuj” which in Sanskrit means “to join”. This is ultimately the union of the impermanent individual self with the permanent “beingness”. In the words of BKS Iyengar, “Yoga is the union of the body with the mind and of the mind with the soul.” [1] This union elevates the person from the torrents of the mundane existence.

         On the path of Raja yoga the focus is to...

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Being in Presence

     I could have easily titled this blog, "Being in Stillness" for I find that it is in the stillness that I am able to find presence.   But, first I have learn to be still.  My body can't be figidity nor in discomfort.  My mind can't be restless bouncing one thought off of another, nor be sleepy that I drift into a dream world. When my body is stable and comfortable, and my mind is alert and single-focused on the breath, I can sink into stillness for brief moments.  Of course, I am not totally still as my heart keeps beating and the cycles of breath continue. But, sometimes even my breath seems to drop away.   My conscious muscular movements are held in stillness. My mental wandering is stilled by maintaining singular focus. This stillness is the containment of my  output with the world. In this stillness I become aware of presence. Sitting in meditation I can find this presence very profound in the degree of...

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The Kleshas - Part 2

 

     In the previous blog ( https://somalumina-yoga.mykajabi.com/blog/the-kleshas)  I began to address the Sanskrit term, kleshas.  In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali five kleshas are listed as the causes of our mental suffering and pain.  The five kleshas are avidya(ignorance), asmita( I-feeling), raga(likes/attraction), dvesha (dislike/aversion); and abhinivesha (fear of death).  Kleshas arise as painful thought waves. Avidya, or ignorance, is the root of suffering and the cause of the other four kleshas.

     In the last blog I made the analogy of the contents of the mind being like a cluttered closet that is so full we cannot gain access to the secret door way in the back. Like a cluttered closet, a cluttered mind presents chaos rather than peace. Through our avidya, or ignorance,  we continue to collect experiences or objects in the outer world for our mind to collect clutter further...

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The Kleshas - Part 1

      Yoga is to grow one’s individual consciousness into universal consciousness, a unified state known as samadhi. What gets in the way of this growth? The mind.  Yet, it is the mind that we have to pass through to reach samadhi.  Samadhi is the state in which we find fulfillment and liberation in being. From this vantage point of samadhi the pain and suffering of this physical world do not exist.  Samadhi is not escapism but a real experience to inform us of our true nature.  Knowing our true nature we can come off the meditation cushion into the world retaining this awareness of our true Self and act from a newly informed body mind with greater peace, more contentment, and  a better relationship to oneself and to others.

      Yoga is the practice of disciplining the mind in order to clear the pathway to higher Self-realization. It’s like learning of a secret door in the back of a deep and overly...

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The Chakras - Part 2

      Just as the earth rests in a subtler body called atmosphere, extending from the surface of the earth as the troposphere to the exosphere 6,000 miles out from the earth’s surface,  our bodies rest in a subtle body.  This subtle body holds the subtler properties of the elements of earth, water, fire, air and space as well as mind and pure consciousness. The connection of the subtle body to the gross physical body is through the chakras. The body’s connection to element of earth connects through the root chakra, the element of water through the sacral chakra. the element of fire through the navel chakra, the element air through he heart chakra, and the element of space through the throat chakra, the mind at third eye, and absolute consciousness at the crown.

      From the yogic teachings we are the evolute of absolute consciousness. Starting from the more subtle element to the gross elements we come into physical...

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The Chakras - Part 1

     What are chakras?  Chakra means “wheel” in Sanskrit language.  Think of a bicycle wheel with spokes connecting the hub to the rim of the wheel.  The bicycle moves through the spinning of the two wheels.  If it had one wheel it would not be a bicycle it would be a unicycle. The number and type of wheels gives the object its characteristics.

     In the tantric yoga perspective we as humans move or are animated by chakras.  Generally, seven major chakras are listed although there are other minor chakras. These are non-physical nodes where the power of intention and the power of manifestation interact.  These are considered psycho-spiritual centers. In tantric yoga terms chakras arise from the interplay of consciousness, or Shiva, interacting with prana, or Shakti. The unchanging and unmanifest interacting with the power to manifest. We are all unique expressions of this interaction. 

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That Which is Never Born can Not Die

  I did not know that I was going to write this post until 30 minutes ago after returning from the veterinary clinic because my cat, Padme, stopped eating and was wobbly.  I was given the news that she has end stage renal failure. (Padme had been in renal failure before and bounced back.) She was a bit too quick to say that I could see her one last time and they would euthanize her on the spot, or I could spend the next twenty four hours with her and bring her in tomorrow to be euthanized. It was said, I thought, a little too cavalier.  Also, she said how cats are good at "hiding" their discomfort.  I'm thinking, "Do cats do the hiding or do humans do the hiding of difficult emotions around death?"  Cats are more instinctual than humans.  Maybe cats have something to "show" the humans who "hide". In any event, Padme is back home with me and we are here for her death march.  I want to be the best attendant to her as I can be.  She will...

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School of Life

      We are here to learn.  When I refer to learning it is not about learning in public or private institutions of education.  I am referring to the classroom of life to teach us lessons in how to live.

      Some people approach life like it is the opportunity to “get ahead”.  To them getting ahead means a big home and at least two fancy cars, children in college, a second home at the beach, and several vacations a year to exotic places.  They look for the opportunities to advance further in acquisitions. They raise their anxiety in trying to fill an insatiable urge to possess. They see possessions as a reflection of their self-worth.             

     Some people approach life “just to get by” and scratch out a living making barely enough to pay the rent, food and utilities. They see themselves in continual anxiety living at the edge of a  ...

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The Inseparable Ripple

    I am so fortunate to be sitting out here on a deck overlooking the Gulf Coast. The sun is shining. The air is calm. The water has ripples, after ripples, after ripples approaching the shore.

     There is a metaphor often use in yoga, that we exist in life as a small ripple in the vast ocean of pure consciousness.  We mistake our self to only exist as a ripple when in fact we are also very intimately connected to the whole ocean. We arise out of this ocean with our own individual identity and consciousness and at death we dissolve back into the vastness of this cosmic consciousness. When we exist as a ripple we are ignorant of our being a connected and supported by the ocean. 

     For those who believe in reincarnation, we may re-emerge up from the ocean as another ripple to experience individuality one again.  But one does not have to believe in death and reincarnation to experience re-emergence from dissolution.  We...

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