Saturday, October 4, 2008

My philosophy and teaching style (yoga beyond your mat)

I had a morning on a day off so I went to indulge myself by attending a yoga class at one of the small scale gyms. The teacher started on time, which is always good, I think that's very important, but there was always the distraction of other students coming in later, like 10 mins after class is in session. Switching up the roles once in a while is good for my soul because in my line of work, I constantly give and hardly receive any back. So it was good to be a student for a change and receiving instructions. 20 minutes into the class, I hear a woman in the front row moaning. It sounds like something you would hear in the privacy of your own bedroom. Nonetheless she was trying to get the male yoga teacher to come over and see what she was doing wrong. Makes me wonder what has happened to class ettique. Oh well, just something I had to get off my chest.

3 weeks ago, I was at my usual chillout spot in Queensbay when the restaurant manager came to say hello. Having exchanged plesantries and name cards, he asked me what yoga is all about. Now this guy was smoking and I assume he drinks too, but nevertheless, I gladly entertained his question. I proceeded to ask him if he had any hobbies, or any particular activity which he liked to do for relaxation. He told me computer games, well, that was a starting point to tell me what yoga is about. I asked him if there was a point or moments when he was playing his computer games when he was totally absorbed in concentration that he was one with the game, in other words, he became the game itself where "he", the doer had disappeared. In yoga, we achieve glimpses of the higher self when we concentrate deeply, called dharana(the 6th limb of ashtanga yoga), then when that concentration is streamed(kinda like when you videos on the internet are streaming seamlessly), it's called dhayana(the 7th limb of ashtanga yoga), when in this state of no-mind, we are lifted into a space called Samadhi(the last, 8th limb of ashtanga yoga). We are one with the Supreme Consciousness. Of course I didn't want to freak the manager out so I just said that when you are one with the game, you have yoga, a union because you are no longer the observer, you become the observed.

The state of meditation is not only exclusive to a Bodhi tree or at your yoga mat. It can happen anywhere, and anytime. Just the other day I was teaching my Nirmaya students to listen to their internal sound, a sound which resonates within all of us, called the Nada, the Inner Sound(refer to Yin Yoga by Paul Grilley). It is done by sealing your eyes and ears completely and touching your tip of tongue to the upper palate, thus cutting off any external stimuli, this exercise also known as pratyhara(the 5th limb in ashtanga yoga). As we continue to practice Nada, our meditative state helps to reveal more subtle sounds, but when we start off, we hear it as a background static sound. But the culmination of this sound is said to be "AUM". Not the word "AUM" which we can pronounce but the sound "AUM" which reverberates throughout the cosmos. I bring this up because I want you to realise that meditation is not held rigid to where you are or how long you can maintain breathlessness.

This is my example, I was in a movie, watching an action film with my two good friends, and there was a moment when I had slipped into a meditative state, without even trying or even thinking about it, all I know is I was concentrating on the movie(perhaps it was Dharana),but yes, beyond the noise and colour from the huge cinema screen and beyond the chips being munched, I was at a point of calm and inner stillness, I was looking at the screen, looking yet, not defining, no attachment whatsoever to what was in front of me. I was detached from the movie, I became the observer. I could hear my own heartbeat, everything started to seem like it was moving slower than it should, and I heard my Nada, that sound within me. It was one of the most interesting moments I had since my spontaneous meditation early this year at a bookstore.

Now, there are 2 types of union. Both are union, only one of which is where you unite with your higher self, and the other you completely lose yourself, both use the mechanics of the mind, they pass thru the mind, only the losing yourself part does not constitute transcendance. In a union, the "I" part of the ego is no longer there. It disappears, one to a higher level, one lower, depending on the yogi's level of practice. When you become absorbed in something, say dancing, we tend to lose ourselves in the thrill. It's so easy to slip out, but it's out the back door. Or in anger, and we do things we would never do while conscious, you slipped out, out the back door, you were not there in that moment of anger, and most people cannot remember what they did when angry especially in crimes of killing, because they had slipped out, they were not present, all using the mind. But when we pull ourselves from the attachment to the certain object/activity or person, we slip out the royal door, or front door, so to speak. We connect with our higher self, the atman, or soul, inner divinity. A certain aloofness is noticed. If you ever noticed, that the traditional yogis or monks have a quality of aloofness, at least it is perceived that way by laymen. But what goes on is that they are in a state of peace, tranquilty, a state of no-mind. They are only watching, and as they continue to watch, all that is around them seems to crumble like ashes, a realisation dawns upon them that the world is not real.(anything which changes is not real, prakriti) Nothing is real except consiciousness(purusha), which is eternal. I have felt this realisation before.

But being a follower of Osho, he has a "remedy" for union in our state of the world nowadays. It is a fusion of the higher and lower union. He says that for example when you are dancing, be totally present in your dancing, flow with your dance, be the dance, not the dancer. Remain aware of your consciousness, don't slip away, don't be tempted to slip away. Let the dance be your meditation, let it take you higher, to fuse with your consciousness. Try it, do it, and be totally present. In his words, be in totality. Don't miss a single moment of celebration.

That's all for now,

Lots of love and light,

Namaste.