Tuesday, January 6, 2009

My philosophy and teaching style (part 11)

It’s extremely rewarding for me, when I see my students being able to breath correctly , and experience the prana of their practice, holding the posture comfortable and steady, both values of which are prescribed by Patanjali. I know at the moment in Penang, most yoga practitioners are so obsessed with how a pose should look, how far one can touch their toes to their head, how high they can lift their legs, get totally sidetracked with the mere aesthetics of poses, rather than feeling the energy and the silent point of their practice. The deep connection formed with the breath, when movement merges into breath, breath into movement, when the movement pauses, so does the breath, and when the breath moves again, so does the movement. That is the principle of vinyasa. The tricky part is to see them as one. Breath and movement. I cringe when I see people ‘Doing’ yoga rather than ‘Being’ yoga. I feel like telling them, that there’s so much more to yoga than just a physical workout. Yoga is the start of internal work. Lame men think that when you breath, only the areas in the chest rise and fall, but little do they realize that even the deeply intricate muscles in the pelvic floor are connected to your breathing. Even the skull expands slightly with your inhalation. Breathing is a FULL BODY EXPERIENCE.

A student of mine, Ernest, asked me what is the real purpose we do yoga? I asked him if he wanted the yoga truth or superficial answers. So I ended up telling him that yoga is actually teaching us the art of dying. Wait, let me reassure those of you reading not to navigate away from this blog just yet. It’s not morbid. Yoga is not morbid, in fact yoga teaches us how to live, so we can die in the most graceful way. A dying person will fight, fighting what is certain and imminent, yet a dying yogi would be meditating on AUM, which would be most appropriate, it is said that the atma(soul) will merge with pure consciousness and not be reborn. Yoga teaches us to live in the moment, as the saying goes, the present is a gift. We live life often not to the fullest, but yoga teaches us to be in totality with the moment itself, to be fully conscious of the moment, and not seek out anything more. I mean sure, yoga won’t make you a rich man, but yoga will give you the greatest wealth of spirituality. We suffer from creating attachments, and we are attached to attachments, we don’t know how to live without them, and yet everybody says they want to be happy, this is not possible. What makes us happy, equally makes us sad, have you ever noticed? Because it is an exterior stimuli, thus anything exterior is “not real” and therefore can be taken away. Everybody is so afraid with death, but death is always with us, it is within our breath, the moment we were born, death was also part of it. Birth and death are no two separate things, if you notice the pauses between the breath, there is a calm, dead, quiet silence, where you “die” for a second or so, where there is no breath in the body, and we are merged with our higher self. Each breath we take is a risk, we actually don’t know if the breath will come back each time we exhale. Life ends with an exhale, and begins with an inhale. So death is within us, not something exterior. It is said in the yoga scriptures, that everyone is born with a predetermined number of breaths in this lifetime, and so not to exhaust that number too quickly, we slow down our breath, pray, we may live longer on earth.

A wise old woman once told me that the relaxed state is the most beautiful state of all, but do not let these words imprint the thought of wanting to be beautiful, that is not the focus. The most relaxed state brings out the most natural side of us, and what is organic, is at in its purest form. I have a friend who always is uptight, and very edgy. But one day, I was fortunate enough to catch this friend of mine at the reflexology centre and had his head laid back on the comfy massage chair, he was resting, the deeply relaxed kind, I had never seen him wear ‘natural’ before, at that moment, only did I see a pure natural side to him I had never seen before previously, I wish I didn’t have to put a definition to what I saw, but for understanding purpose, I was moved by such ‘beauty’. I saw an innocent child in that seat, for that split second. For that moment, he had no barriers up, he was like a hollow bamboo allowing purity to flow right through him. I really wish I didn’t have to define that moment, because anything with a definition becomes “ugly”. It loses its original value. Osho teaches one such type of inner relaxation technique; to simply sit quietly, and allow the lower jaw to hang softly open, and breath a shallow breath throw the mouth, I tried this, and what I noticed is the that upper palate of the mouth will lift up towards the cranium, and thus creating a blissful effect, a centering energy as it lifts towards the crown of the head. It somewhat resembles the Shambavi mudra in yoga.

That's all for now,

Light and love, namaste.

Michelle Q