Friday, October 24, 2008

My philosophy and teaching style (part 9 - subtle energies)

As I take a new interest in instrumental music, I realise that at the end of the day, words don't really matter at all. We say alot during our waking hours, perhaps too much, most of the time knowingly or unknowingly hurting other people. Words, as time goes by, change meaning, as the world changes, the best example is the word gay, in the 1920's it meant being happy and joyous, nowadays the word is used to represent an individual or a society who are homosexual (and just for the record, I've got nothing against homosexuals). And as we know by now, prakriti is the nature which is in constant changing motion, thus it is not something real or eternal. But if you must insist that words still matter, I can't entirely be against that either because like the Sanskrit names of the poses are said to project their own vibrational essence when vocalised. A stirring is said to occur in the realm of consciousness when the posture is vocalised. Or when you say someone is ugly, you destroy their confidence, or when you thank someone for a kind deed, it changes the person from the inside. So in that way, words matter.

But in my humble opinion, the less one says, the more impact there is. Less is always more. So by right, I shouldn't be saying so much in this blog, but I can only try to adapt so much to the changing times. There should be pauses, silences between instructions, when students find their own voice, their own inner guide, it's not about what I have to say, but what the student has to listen to their personal teacher, most often that little voice in the back of the head, or for the intermediate student, perhaps their breath. The intermediate student will then perhaps back off from the pose or any present bad pain, or go further into the pose depending on the depth and length of the breath, thus the breath basically becomes their inner guru, as I always say, I can only suggest, but you know your body best.

When I see the alignment of posture, I think of two things, one is how the body moves in accordance of the midline of the body and two, how the body maintains the natural skeletal organisation when in postures.

For example, when one is holding Warrior 3, one engages the inside of the standing leg, because that is closer to the midline of the body, to get a better image, draw a line from the centre of your forehead all the way down to your navel. So muscular energy wise, one will engage the thigh of the standing leg, and energetically shift energy towards the inside line of the leg, as anatomically, the larger leg bone is on the inside, providing better stability. From a skeletal view, the hips have to stake over the heel of the standing leg, and chest remains higher than the hips while in Warrior 3. The same observation can be made if you study the organisation of the skeletal bones, I mean, have you REALLY noticed that your hips will always have to stack over your heels, and chest is always above the hips, while in a simple standing position, if otherwise will always cause discomfort.

Another example would be Cobra pose, when viewed from the front, one would need to keep both legs zipped up closer together instead of extending beyond the front view line(legs taken wider then hip width) of the body which places undue strain to the lower back, especially if you don't engage the uddhiyana bandha(the navel energy lock). Thus the legs have moved closer to the center line of the body, just by drawing the legs together. Yoga in this sense can mean bringing your limbs closer to the core of the body, while mantaining a dynamic tension holding a certain posture, keeping the limbs working in harmony with the center line of the body. Muscular energy wise, you would need to engage both sets of thighs to fully lift them off the floor, pressing the big toes down and front of your feet downwards(where your shoe laces are meant to be), to sustain your posture in equinamity. Then you would need to energetically lift the sternum to feel like someone is supporting the head like a bouy floating on the water surface. Have you REALLY noticed that your hands or wrists are always hanging below your shoulders in a simple standing position. The same is replicated in Cobra pose, where I would remind you to stack the shoulders over the wrists, and not have the wrists anywhere else. I hope I'm making sense and not confusing you.

So speaking of energies, even if you don't do any yoga, you have definately come across subtle energies which can affect us dramatically. A simple hand shake or a simple friendly hug can determine the sort of person you're dealing with. Some hands I shake feel very dead, like no one's home, just like an empty shell, and they transmit a negative energy, their hands generally feel heavy, cold, and are aurically closed up. I cannot read any positive energy from there. Individuals who are self absorbed tend to not emit any welcoming energy from their hands for obvious reasons. Same thing is readable from a hug. We all have the ability of an energy radar chemically and energetically embedded in our skin, it's only whether you have chosen to listen to it, or not. Some are more sensitive and observant, some less, or not at all.

Coming back to a bit more on breathing, have you noticed why most monks/religious teachers speak quite slowly? It's not because they're old, think slowly, or feel like they need to make a point by speaking slow, but rather, their breathing is slow and deeped, it's so paced, that there is no way for the brain-mouth connection to move fast. It is impossible to speak quickly with slow deep breaths. Try it. You would also notice that when a person is angry, he speaks fast and loud, because his breathing is short, shallow and irregular. Do you see a connection between breath and movement now? When breath moves, the prana(energy) moves. Which brings us back to the basis of vinyasa(flow), when the breath moves, the movement follows. Hence, if your breathing is faster, your movements should move at the same speed as the breath. If breathing is more quiet, the movement is generally slower and graceful. It does not mean slow breath or faster breath is better. There is no competition here, merely you gotta listen to the pace of your breath. Embody your breath.

There is a reason why Tantra yoga students are taught to equalise the length of the inhalation and the length of the exhalation. Tantra is a branch of yoga which is founded by a school of thought whereby when you unite male and female, they re-enact the same union Lord Shiva and Goddess Shakti which was the precursor to a new world. As the yoga scriptures go, they were once united, and then the Goddess left her seat of home(the third eye center of consciousness) then walked 7 steps down, (thus creating the path of 7 chakras in our spine) in her wake, then She lies dormant at the base chakra, coiled underneath it waiting to be awaken and reunited with Lord Shiva, and when that happens, a new world is born again, or in Tantra, a cleansed soul will be revealed, of pureness and light. According to Osho, he says that the Tantrica students are taught how to make love for hours without having orgasms, reasoning that when the inhales are equal in length and depth as the exhales, there is no expanse of energy, it stays within the field itself, but because of shortened, shallow breaths, the result is wastage of energy, and the energy needs to channel outwards, to rebalance the flow, thus resulting in an orgasm.

That's all for now,

Lots of light and love,