Think of a car with missing parts: Imagine you see a car, and your friend says, “What’s that?” You say, “It’s a car”. Imagine that the car is missing a wheel, and your friend asks you the same question. Still, you say, “It’s a car”. But what if all four wheels were gone, and the doors were gone, and the engine was gone. Then, what would you say when your friend asked, “What’s that?” You might say something like, “Junk”. We may not know the exact point of change, but somewhere along the way, in removing the parts, you’d naturally stop saying, “It’s a car”…… and you are certainly not picking me up at 8 o’clock. Get the point?
Think of Yoga with missing parts: At what point, and after how much adaptation to modern culture, does Yoga cease to be Yoga? When Yoga is stripped of its higher goals and methods, can it still be called Yoga? When is Yoga no longer Yoga?
Bricks and houses: Imagine that you hold a brick in your hand, and say to a person, “This is a house!” To hold out asanas (postures) and say, “This is Yoga!” makes as much sense as saying that a single brick is a house. Both are confusing a minor, though useful part with the whole.
One of the most common comments used to justify the modern devolutions of Yoga is in saying something like, “But it’s useful! It helped me!” It is as if they think that pointing out the true nature of Yoga is somehow in opposition to doing other activities that are of benefit to human beings. The argument is that if people become flexible and less stressed, the method is therefore called Yoga. Sorry, it is not.
The fact that physical postures or the modern revisions are effective is not the question. Doing asanas is beneficial, but calling it Yoga is a different matter. The fact that the brick is useful does not make it a house. Any physical exercise, such as walking or playing tennis is useful, but that does not make it Yoga. Aerobics, calisthenics, jazzercise, and kickboxing may also be useful, but that does not make them Yoga. Massage therapy, physical therapy, and respiratory therapy are useful, but that does not make them Yoga. Psychotherapy and counseling are useful, but that does not make them Yoga.
The argument that the tiny piece of Yoga called asana, when not even practiced as the foundations of knowledge from that paradigm, is useful is not a legitimate justification to reverse the part and the whole, and thus claim that Yoga, when stripped of its path, goal, and practices, is still Yoga. It is not.
The Emperor’s New Clothes
Want to get blissed out? Wanna rock out to the latest yoga beats while jumping from downward dog to crow pose into a handstand? How about being on top of the latest fashions for your yoga class? Don’t wanna miss the group meet up at the local coffee bar after class for the latest gossip. Got a crush on your teacher although you know he is sleeping with four of his students, all at the same time, but they don’t know? Wanna find the best class to get a really good sweat on that makes you wake up sore in the morning? Make sure you set your best intention and desires before class? Did your yoga guru get caught with his pants down in actions that are not fitting with the system he created or the guru status you gave him? Does your teacher jump around half naked, chanting at the beginning of class, slaughtering the sanskrit pronunciations of mantras and deities that are supposed to be worshipped only at night or at certain times? Maybe even your yoga teacher has been giving spiritual names to students, yes, this and more is happening out there.
Okay. Yes, I am being sarcastic or picking fun at the laughable truth of the stuff that is going on out there in this Modern World of Yoga. It is really kinda sick and insane when you have the sight of and reverence of the sacred and depth of knowledge of what these sciences are and where they come from. if you have this sight, you see just how delusional the modern world is.
The thing is, most people don’t have a clue what yoga is and are blindly just accepting anything as yoga now. They have just jumped upon the newest bandwagon blindly and are now walking around believing that they are becoming spiritual because of exercise and breathing. Most of what is going on out there is pretending and copying with very little knowledge of any foundation of what, why, and how. Other reading this right now might be saying that I am being judgmental or that there is so many forms of yoga or that yoga is what yoga is to the individual. Check it out. With that attitude nothing is truth, there is no belief in anything, nothing has any knowledge as it is only what one thinks it is, and there is certainly no validity to any experience your having except a narcissistic one. That idea, negates and invalidates this science and the entirety of all ancient texts ever being written about yoga and also what you yourself are supposed to be experiencing in what yoga is supposed to deliver today. This great system did manifest somewhere. It has been written down and codified by many lineages that have experience and real progress as well as results on spiritual paths, and has been relatively the same in its foundations since it conception until the Western culture got its hands on it. Now it is hardly recognizable to the original thing and has no results of what it is stated in the texts as. So what is the basis of it all?
The past maybe 15 posts or so have been quotes from those ancient texts and there are more coming. Read them for yourself, see what you think. Red pill or blue pill? Think you really know anything about yoga?
निर्विषेणापि सर्पेण कर्तव्या महति फणा |
विषमस्तु न चाप्यस्तु फटाटोपो भयंकर: ||
The non poisonous snake should also imitate like a poisonous one! (Only for the sake of self defense) Regardless of whether the snake has poison or not the hissing of snake will create the terror in the other’s mind.
There is one small story regarding this. Once a poisonous snake used to bite many people passing by the way. When Sri Shankaracharya came to know this he advised the snake not to bite people and trouble them. After few months when Sri Shankaracharya was passing by the same way he noticed that the snake had become very much weak and had many wounds. “What’s the matter? Why have you become like this?”, asked the great seer. It replied, “Oh guruji! You only had told me not to bite the people. When people came to know that I do not cause any harm, they started pelting stones at me”. Sri Shankaracharya replied, “I had only told you not to bite the people. But I didn’t tell you that you should stop hissing at the others!” It is said that a ‘yogi’ should not loose his temper and should be above all the emotions. Then how should a ‘yogi’ react to the wrong/ill things that people may commit around him? It’s like the nonpoisonous snake above!! He should ‘hiss’ but should not cause any harm to others.
Yoga, Ayurveda, (sister sciences) and Chinese medicine is all based on energy. In the western culture we don’t even have a language for energy much less even believe in it. The “bibles” of Yoga are the Bhagavad Gita and The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Narada Sutras on bhakti. The Rig Veda and Artharvaveda. The Katha Upanishad and the Shvetasvatara Upanishad is where the term yoga is first used. The Brahmanas is where all the prana and pranayama is deeply written about and sub “bibles” (tikas) of yoga are plentiful too but are not on the NY Times best seller list and most are only in Hindi or other languages not yet translated to english. These ancient texts have brought to us the knowledge of what “yoga” is, what it has to offer, and the results of that path when followed. They are clear when one spends time with them and with a practice. Even when its only an english translation. They are not for ones open interpretation and manipulation and it is clearly not what ever someone in the Western world wants it to be. One would have to be quite arrogant and ignorant to think that a system that has been in place for over 5,000 years and has so many texts describing the depth can then be changed because one think it should be or it should be changed for the adharmic culture to fit. Specially without understanding and having experience of that system completely beforehand. It makes no sense at all. But alas, Na punyam na paapam na saukhyam na dukham, chidananda rupa Shivoham Shivoham.Georg Feurstein, another well recognized scholar and teacher, is quoted in a July/August 2003 article in the online LA Yoga Magazine. When asked, “How would you describe Yoga in the US today?” he responded: “It’s a mess! And you can quote me on that. Anything that comes to America or the West in general, immediately gets individualized and commercialized…. Today even beginning teachers feel qualified to innovate and create their own trademarked Yoga system.
Asana alone is not yoga at all. It will not and can not bring you there and won’t. It is a car without an engine or wheels. You do not become enlightened from exercise. In truth, Western exercise does just the opposite. Exercise (vyayam or saahasa) is Rajasic (specially based on the western theory of exercise and not yogic fundamental understanding) or the force which promotes action. It pulls you away from the light. It will just spin you further away, further into the external. It creates activity of the mind. Like increases like. But there is so much more than that.
In ayurveda and yoga, vata is the air and ether elements combined. It is one of the three elemental energies or humors. It is responsible for all of the sensory and motor functions of the body or in other words it is energy, prana, chi, or vital force. It is subcategorized into the 5 pranas. It is prana.
(The following is very very superficial knowledge and there is so much more to all of this. I hesitate to even write this post because of how much more depth there is. If you are a yoga teacher and you do not know all of this already, you really should be ashamed to call yourself a yoga teacher.)
The prana are:
There are 5 more in yoga:
Asana is simply and only to balance the five pranas of the body. This balance creates health in the body mind by creating healthy functioning of these energies. Every organs functioning is due to the proper functioning of the proper flow of energy. Every asana has a specific effect on the prana. If you are just going through a yoga class that the teacher has strung something together because he or she likes it, well…. Disastrous. Actually more than that, disease forming from the lens of the very fundamentals of asana. But we have made it whatever we want today based in Western exercise. Interesting huh?
There are twelve substances as prana factors that are associated as prana:
Vata – activating and animating force
Pitta – transforming force
Kapha – developmental and structural force
Sattva – (see other post)
Rajas – (on the mahagunas)
Tamas – (or trigunya)
The 5 sense organs (jnanendriya): the eye, ear, nose, tongue, and skin
and the Purusha (soul) with all of its past karma.
Hardly known, but there are actually over 30 different physically discernable pranas in the gross body. And most everyone out there just thinks energy is whatever they want it to be. It really does not work like that at all. There is so much detail to all of this as you can see.
There are ten seats of prana (dasha pranayatana):
—– These first 6 are also marmas—–
Moordha - the head
Kantha – the throat
Hrdayam – the heart
Nabhi – the umbilicus
Guda – the anal region
Basti – the bladder region
Ojas – ojas the essence of all 7 tissues (sapta dhatus) (ojas is not immunity)
Shukra – the semen
Shonita – the blood
Mamsa - the flesh
These are the ten ashrayas of prana. Though the 12 prana factors remains in each of the tissue of the body, there are a few places as these that are the seat of prana and any injury, damage or loss in the structure on these places may lead to death as these are also the vital organs of the body. If they are involved in the disease process along with other vital organs then the disease becomes difficult to cure. Shukra being in this list speaks of the meaning of Brahmacharya in yoga. The sperm is a seat of prana. Think.
In yoga there are 72,000 nadis or energy channels that this Prana is carried through. There are three main channels that are focused upon in yoga.
These were explained in Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Gheranda Samhita and Siva Samhita but not in Patanjali Yoga Sutras. The pranic system with the chakras was then taken into the Buddhist world where it was elaborated upon even more. Moreover, there is a text called the Shivaswarodaya that is all about the pranic flow in the system that speaks about the changing of the flow from one nostril to another in detail. In general though…
The three main channels are:
Sushumna Nadi connects the base chakra to the crown chakra. It is very important in Yoga and Tantra in general. In Raja Yoga or Yoga of Patanjali, when the mind is quieted or controlled through the following of Yama, Niyama, Asana, and Pranayama the important state of Pratyahara begins. A person entering this state never has problems of dispersion of mind. This is characterised by observing the movements/jerks in sushumna, the central canal in the subtle body. The movements indicate the flow of prana through the central canal and in the process, the sushumna makes the way for the ascent of Kundalini.
Pingala is associated with solar energy. The word pingala means “tawny” in Sanskrit. Pingala is masculine energy. Its temperature is heating and courses from the left testicle to the right nostril. Pingala is the extroverted, solar nadi, and corresponds to the left hand side of the brain. Pingala nadi controls all the vital processes.
Ida is associated with lunar energy sometime it is based on solar energy. The word ida means “comfort” in Sanskrit. Idā is the feminine energy and has a cooling effect. It courses from the right testicle to the left nostril. Ida nadi controls all the mental processes. Ida is the introverted, lunar nadi, and refers to the right hand side of the brain.
Right solar channel
masculine, logic, action, external, objectivity, sympathetic nervous system, conscious mind, rajas, physical activity, eating, intellectual study, commerce and business deals, travel and sex. When you are about to eat the right nostril should be open as to create a proper digestive capacity.
Left nostril open is good for sleep. The opposites apply for the left.
In the morning at sunrise the center channel is open in a healthy being, same as at the sunset. Between these times the air flow changes between the two nostrils from left to right and right to left, about every hour and a half. The biorhythms, one might say, are controlled by this rhythm of change of the flow of the nostrils. Right nostril open and the left brain is active. Left… the opposite. Right is Pingala, left is Ida. They are those solar and lunar channels. The left nostril open is cooling of the body and mind, an introverted mind is active and the PH balance of the body is alkaline. (sorry all of you PH balance diet people out there, it is controlled by deeper functions in the system) When the right is dominant, just the opposite occurs. When sushumna nadi is open, the mind is calm and quite. You are in your unconscious mind in a dormant state. This is why you can enter into deep meditation and samadhi without much effort. Rishis, yogis, and scriptures speak very highly of these two periods of time.
In the 1970s “chronopsychology” was the science of the biorhythms of the body and how your biorhythms affect the mind, emotions and physical activity capacity of the body. Funny how western science continues to try to reinvent the wheel but forgets the hub every time. They still didn’t correlate the breath in their findings.
The entire health of the body is based upon the energy balance and proper flow at the proper times. For example if you were to take a cotton ball, try this, and close one nostril for several hours, you will definitely feel what I mean. Actually don’t try this, it is dangerous, it can create emotional disturbances, ph chemistry and functioning of the physiology imbalances, digestive issues, among many other disturbances.
What does this say for a yoga practice, well check this out. Try this out for yourself. If you have any awareness of energy of the body and how it flows you can easily feel that if you are to do a sun salutation with only one nostril open it imbalances the bodily energy system. Try it. Then compare it to another time when sushumna nadi is open and both nostrils are equal.
This is why an asana practice is only practiced when the center channel is open at sun rise or sunset or if you know how to manipulate it open.
As you can see a yoga practice is meant from its foundational understanding to be an extremely aware solo practice or under the guidance of a true guru. Every asana has an energetic focus and result on the body. A sun salutation, when done correctly is quite balanced and balancing to the system. It is also the easiest to learn and perform. Done improperly, it will imbalance the entire system.
Chakras are nothing more than large nadis, bioenergetic activity emanating from the major nerve ganglia branching forward from the spinal column. We usually have only heard of the 7 basic popular ones. There are many more but these are them. The deeper understanding of the chakras unfolds the subtle anatomy and understanding about how these energy centers are linked to your actions, thoughts, physical health and how you relate internally to externally. They also are at a focus of asana and creating expansion and liberation or dissolving karma. There are also front (conscious) sides to the chakras and back (unconscious) sides of them.
Adhara Base or Root Chakra relates to Bhuloka or Maartyaloka
Swadhisthana Sacral Chakra relates to Bhuvaloka with the navagraha devatas
Manipura Solar Plexus Chakra relates to Svargaloka and the digpala devatas
Anahata Heart Chakra relates to Mahaloka
Vishuddha Throat Chakra relates to Janaloka
Soma Pineal Gland
Tala Upper Palate
Ajnakhya Brow or Third Eye Chakra relates to Tapaloka
Amrit Responsible for Moksha
Guru Top back of head
Sahasrara Crown Chakra relates to Satyaloka
No you are not going to balance your chakras, that is a totally Western thing. it is so much more than some superficial idea like that. Your chakras are seen in your birth chart in Jyotish. So you think you have the power by having a massage to tune your chakras huh? Really? How deep do you think that knowledge is? Just another gimmick in the Western world of feel good about myself mundane spirituality.
Koshas are sheaths and are connected intimately to the chakras. They are more how we are seen in the world or how we relate to the external.
The physical sheath (annamaya kosha) is made of food. It is the physical body.The physical body is the grossest form of thought. The food consumed by the parents is converted into Shukra (semen) in men and Sonita in women (the reproductive fluid or apparatus) and by the combination of these the physical body is formed. After birth, the body grows drinking the mother’s milk which is only a transformation of the food consumed by the mother. The body is further developed by eating food. It gets dissolved in earth which is another form of food. The body is itself a food for other creatures. Hence it is called the food sheath, the material cage of the soul. The food sheath is an object of perception. The Atman (self) is the cogniser and the body is the cognized. Self is different from the body. In dream and deep sleep there is no consciousness of the body. The five elements of space, air, fire, water and earth make up the physical body. They are only modifications of Maya (illusory world) and are not the truth. The body, its name, shape, color, size, form, birth and death are not of the Self. The are qualities of the body. There is no physical body either before birth or after death. It is noneternal. Existence, birth, growth, modification, decay and death are the six Vikaras (defects) of the physical body. The space inside of a pot is not changed by the dropping and shattering of the pot. Atman (self) is the space.
Within it is the vital sheath made up of life-energy (pranamaya kosha)
The Pranamaya Kosha consists of the five Pranas and five Karma-Indriyas (organs of action). Prana is vata or the five pranas discussed earlier. It is devoid of sensation or consciousness; it is inanimate. Prana is only the active working of the mind. When clear headed we breath easily and healthfully when we are disturbed the breath is disturbed. Controlling the mind allows the prana to be controlled. The pranas are the rajasic manifestations of the mind which make up the individual existence. When the prana leaves the body the body dies, just as a car is with its gas, when it runs out the engine can no longer run.
Within the vital sheath is the mental sheath (manomaya kosha)
Made up of thought patterns. It consists of the mind and the five Jnana Indriyas (organs of knowledge). It is a means of enjoying pleasure and pain. The mind causes egoism in the body and “mine”-ness and passes outside through the avenues or channels of these five Indriyas. It is the internal instrument for gaining the experiences and knowledge of this material world. Mind is associated with the Vrittis (mind stuff or eddies), and is a terrible objectifying agent. Mind constantly changes itself. Yoga itself is the release of that functioning, completely dropping out of it, a totally different thing than a class on exercise. Yogashchittanirodhah = yoga is the complete cessation of the modifications of the mind, meaning no more, not less of.
Within the mental sheath is the wisdom sheath (vijnanamaya kosha)
Made up of detachment. It consists of the intellect in conjunction with the five organs of knowledge or the Jnana-Indriyas. During sleep it gets involution (Laya) along with Chidabhasa (the reflection of Pure Consciousness). During waking state it is the doer. It is an effect like a jar and is inanimate. It is just like the moon borrowing its light from the sun. It is not the eternal Self.
Within the wisdom sheath is the bliss sheath (anandamaya kosha)
Made up of pure joyous awareness. It is made of Mula-Ajnana (root potentialities) . It is the Karana Sarira (causal body) which is the substratum of all other sheaths which are external to it. Its three attributes are Priya (affection), Moda (delight) and Pramoda (intense bliss). It is the indescribable beginningless Avidya (ignorance), the nescience of the Atma (self), and is composed of Malina Sattwa (Sattva mixed with Rajas and Tamas). It is inanimate, beginningless, but has an end in Atma-Jnana (self knowledge).
- Taittiriya Upanishad and Moksha Gita
(Okay, here is the rant)
How many teachers even understand the five pranas or any of this stuff much less heard of them? How many teachers understand what each asanas purpose is or have ever read the Bhagavad Gita, Yoga Sutras or any of the other ancient texts of Yoga? Not many, very few in fact. Not their fault though, our culture has sold yoga to the lowest bidder. Did you know that 85% of the yoga teachers out there have only done a 200 hour teacher training? That is most of the time 8 weekends only. The public does not know that you pay the membership club of yoga to authorize your teacher training then your students that have taken that training pay them as well. Much less is there any checks and balances or tests in these trainings. All of them (9) that I have personally attended, you show up and you get certified. The trainings I have attended have been extremely low in the terms of education of what yoga is really and completely focused on exercise based from a western lens. Yes, they do touch, for an hour or two, upon some of the other aspects of the yoga science but only in a side bar mention. Most of the trainings are about asana from a form of western exercise. Unfortunately, a good yoga teacher in America is based upon their looks and their charisma or charm more than real experience or knowledge. How do you know a yoga teacher is good? Can you refer a good brain surgeon based off of his charisma?
(okay, now back to the good stuff)
In the body there are other channels or srotas. One of them is the ambu maha srotas or water channel. This as well as other channels (srotamsi) get completely imbalanced and cause disease when you over exert. How about the pranas? Lets talk of that for a second. In yoga and ayurveda the limits of vyayama or saahasa (exercise) is to half capacity ever, and in that it is dependent upon the season (due to the seasons effect on the strength of the body) and the individuals overall health. This is the limit to the point you have to breath through your mouth or when you start to sweat. Beyond this means you have passed your limits. What happens is that when you have these physiological changes the energies of the body (5 pranas) are going out of balance. In both Western and Eastern systems one of the main cause of disease in later life is ativyayam or excessive exercise or atisaahasa or exertion in earlier life and you don’t see the results till much later in life.
When you start to sweat or break perspiration on your brow or under your nose, the body heat has increased to the point that the body needs to cool it off. Naturally the body makes you open your mouth to cool down the excessive internal heat. When you open your mouth to breath there is a conflict between heat and cold within your body. It confuses the body and creates an imbalance of doshas and prana and causes harm to the tissues. The strength of the body tissues weakens in time. This is why in yoga you only breathe through the nose.
Think about what turning the heat up in the “hot yoga” room beyond the core temperature of the body does to the body and the mind. The body tries to cool itself down and shuts down the digestive function as well as pours out the water of the system by sweating (Sveda Vaha Srotas is the sweat channel) to cool off. This will destroy the digestive system as well as others internal organs functions. It depletes and weakens body and mind as well as weakens the tissues, creates an imbalance of doshas and creates disease. The digestive capacity is know as agni or the digestive fire. In the summer the digestive fire is weak due to the heat of the long days of sun. In the winter the digestive fire is strong due to the external cold and how it pushes the heat to the koshta or torso and the hands and feet get cold. Not only this but then from a hot room you walk wet with sweat out into a cool or colder environment. This shocks the body, again vitiates vata, moves any disease that are already prevalent deeper or even worse, to the periphery where it is either impossible or much harder to treat.
ShatKarmas - The shatkarma or six exercises purification:
Dhauti, Vashti, Neti, Lauliki, Trataka, and Kapalabhati.
First kriya: dhauti.
The dhauti remove impurities from the body and are four types:
Antar—dhauti, Or cleansing;
Danta—dhauti, Or dental cleaning;
Hrid—dhauti, Or cleaning of the esophagus;
Mula—shodhana, or cleaning the rectum.
Antar—dhauti, Is divided into four parts:
Vatas or air cleaning;
Varisara or clean water;
Vahnisara (Agnis) or cleaning with fire
Bahishkrita or extraction cleaning.
Imitate with his mouth as the beak of a raven (kaki—mudra) And inspire slowly. Fill the stomach and air move in there. Then, gradually forcing it to eject through of the rectum.Vatas is a highly secret that purifies the body, cure all diseases and increases fire stomach.
Fill mouth thoroughly with water. Swallow slowly. In the stomach, move from side to side. Then slowly push it to eject through straight. This procedure should be kept secret, purifies the body and practiced carefully, you get a luminous body or shining. Varisara is the greatest dhauti. Whoever runs with easily cleanse your body unclean and become a heavenly body (divya—deha).
Vahnisara (Agnis)—dhauti: Press a hundred times abdomen against the spine. Namely Agnis or cleaning with fire. It assumes the successful practice of yoga, cures all diseases of the stomach and increases the internal fire. This form of dhauti, difficult to achieve even for the gods, must be kept secret because provides a heavenly body (divya—deha).
Adopt kaki—mudra (Beak-shaped mouth of a crow) and inspire slowly. Fill the air stomach and keep it there for hours. Then push forcing air into the intestines. This dhauti should be kept in great secrecy and not disclose it to anyone. Then up and submerged in water until belly button, remove the large intestine (shakti—nadi.) Hand wash until completely clean. Finally, reintroduce the abdomen. This procedure is difficult to achieve even for the gods, must be kept secret, it provides a heavenly body (deva—deha). While you can not hold your breath or air in the stomach for an hour and media, may not be that great dhauti or purification, known as bahishkrita.
Danta—dhauti includes the following practices:
Cleaning teeth (tapir—mule—dhauti),
Cleaning language (jihvâ—dhauti),
Cleaning ears (Karna—dhauti), And
Cleaning of the frontal sinuses (kapala—randhra—dhauti).
Danta—mule—dhauti: Rub the teeth with powdered acacia or with Pure Land to remove all the impurities. This cleaning is a great dhauti and yogis is a very important procedure in the practice of Yoga. Should be performed daily, every morning, to keep teeth healthy. The Yogis approved for purification.
Jihvâ—dhauti (jihvâ—sodhana.) I’ll tell you now the cleaning method language, which cancels lengthening old age, death and disease. Join the index and ring fingers and half entered into the throat. Rub it the root of the tongue and back cleaning, removing the mucus. Next, clean the tongue and rub with butter and milk and again. Squeeze and pull it over and over, as if it ordered. Finally, holding the tip of the tongue with a steel instrument, pulling gently. This practice should be carefully every day to the rising and setting the sun. This is achieved by the elongation of the tongue.
Karna—dhauti: Clean the holes in the ears index and ring fingers. The regular daily practice leads to the perception subtle sounds (nothing).
Kapala—randhra—dhauti: Rub depression front along the bridge of the nose with the thumb of his right hand. With this practice cure diseases caused by disorders of the humours phlegmatic (dosha).
The nadi are purified and obtained clairvoyance, or divine vision (divya—drishti.) Should be practiced waking day after each meal and at dusk.
Hrid—dhauti is of three types:
Danda—dhauti (Cleaning with a stem)
Vamana—dhauti (Clean water), and
Glass—dhauti (Cleaning with a strip of fabric).
Danda—dhauti: Take a stalk of bananas, turmeric, Plantain or cane and insert it slowly into the esophagus, taking it out then care. This practice would eliminate all mucus (kapha), Bile (pitta) And other impurities from the mouth and chest. Through danda—dhauti heal all chest diseases.
Vamana—dhauti: After meals should drink water to fill the stomach. then must be maintained time looking up. Finally, we proceed to vomit. Executed daily, heal the disorders caused by phlegm (kapha) And bile (pitta).
Glass—dhauti: Slowly swallowing thin cloth four fingers wide and take it out later. Namely glass—dhauti (vastra—dhauti). This technique eliminates the cure fever and abdominal diseases (Gulman), Dilatation spleen, leprosy, skin diseases and disorders related to by phlegm (kapha) and bile (pitta.) So, day by day, the practitioner increases his health, strength and encouragement.
Mula—shodhana: apana does not flow properly until rectum is cleaned properly. Therefore must be carefully Purification of the large intestine. The rectum is cleaned several times with water, using the middle finger or stem of turmeric (Haridra). This eliminates constipation, indigestion and dyspepsia, increases beauty and the body and enlivens the field of fire (gastric juice).
Second kriya: vasti.
The vasti are of two types:
Jala—vasti, (Enema water): this is done put in the water;
Shushka—vasti. (Dry enema) is a dry basis.
It is called jala—vasti the following practice: immersed in water up to the navel. It takes the position of the chair (utkatasana.) It contracts and relaxes the anal sphincter. This procedure cures urinary disorders (prameha), Gastrointestinal problems (udavarta) And related problems different prâna (krûra—vayu.) The body is free of any disease and becomes beautiful as a god.
Shushka—vasti (Sthala—vasti): Adopting the position of the clamp (paschimottanasana.) Move slowly down the intestines. Contract and relax the anal sphincter by Ashvini—mudra. This practice prevents constipation, increases gastric fire cured flatulence.
Third kriya: neti.
Introduce a thin thread of half a cubit long (22-28 cm.) by a nostril. Push it until you peek inside the mouth on the inside. Seized with hand and pull him out through the mouth. By practicing neti—kriya provides khechari—mudra, heal the disorders due to phlegm (kapha) And magnifies the view interior.
Fourth kriya: Lauliki.
Move vigorously intestines and stomach from side to side. Namely laulikiYoga. Eliminate all diseases and increases the gastric fire.
Fifth kriya: tratakam.
Staring without blinking, any small object until they start tears flow. This is called tratakam, according to the wise. By practicing this yoga, you get shambavi—mudra, Removes all eye diseases and vision emerges.
Sixth kriya: kapalabhati.
Kapalabhati eliminate disorders caused by phlegm (kapha) And is of three types:
Vama (Method from left);
Vyut (Method reverse);
Shit (Method of sound).
Vama: Draws gently through the left nostril of the nose and exhale through the right. A then inhale through the right and exhale through the left side. This practice should be without effort. With it removed disorders produced by phlegm (kapha).
Vyut: absorb water through both nostrils and pour slowly through your mouth. With vyut—branch is eliminate disturbances caused by phlegm (kapha).
Shit: absorb water through the mouth and pour slowly through the nostrils. With this practice, the yogi becomes beautiful as the god Kama. Aging and degeneration does not reach is not enough. The body becomes healthier and flexible. The disorders due to phlegm are eliminated.
Purification comes with the regular practice of the six kriya.
Above is the kriyas that are taught in HYP, GS and SS. The following is from The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.
Patanjali codified yoga as what we tend to talk about today. He didn’t speak of chakras or what was written above. His codification is alot of what follows.
Asana is not yoga and yoga is not exercise, specially the kind from the western lens of exercise. Yoga is the science of enlightenment, the path to moksha, not causing illness. So lets start from the beginning with the entire ladder/limbs of yoga starting with the very first step which is the most important and completely stepped over in modern yoga…..
The do’s and don’ts of daily life:
* Yama – code of conduct, self-restraint
They are found in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (YSP), Sadhana Pada Verse 30 as:
* Niyama – religious observances, commitments to practice, such as study and devotion
They are found in the YSP, Sadhana Pada Verse 32 as:
These two are the first because following this lifestyle path clears karma from being created by you, your thinking, your speech and your actions from here onwards. It is about the control of your conduct and all the ripples that you create from it. It is the cleanliness if the inner and the outer. It is the first steps before anything else along the path, yet you will hear all kinds of people give all sorts of reasons why it is just enough to work on ahimsa and whatnot, utter BS. Live the yama and niyama, no need at all for asana. They are what grow the strength and balance of the three main mental functions of dhi (learning), dhriti (retention), and smriti (long-term memory). This is why they are first. The ability to determine what is a healthy choice, strength to make healthy choices and the follow through maintain making those healthy choices in all speech and action which later works on thought. An entire thesis can be written on the aspects of the yama and niyama alone and how they cascade into every aspect of living and the mind. Without these faculties functioning clearly, the mind is lost and unstable. Prana effects the mind’s three functions: 1. dhi, or acquisition of knowledge, 2. dhriti, or retention of knowledge, and 3. smriti, or recall of that knowledge. Any imbalance of prana and these functions are disturbed in some way.
If you break the yama and niyama down, they truly are the subcategories of the same underlying principle of a healthy life in all facets. Most of them you cannot live without living the others. They are all quite black and white with no wiggle room as they all have their deeper meaning and functions within the mind and/or physical body. Because of our misunderstanding and lack of depth of knowledge or studies, many people have tried to bend them to their own desires, such as bramhacharya meaning controlling of sexual energy rather than celibacy. With a much deeper understanding of why and how, form and function, bramacharya can only be celibacy and nothing else. The upper levels are not reachable when lower level functions are not in balance.
What if these were only taught first in a “yoga” class. What if these were mastered before moving on to asana like they are supposed to be. Well you absolutely wouldn’t see all the pop star “yoga” teachers running around sleeping with their students and cheating on their partners, doing drugs, and spiritual bypass. There would be no loud pump up the volume to get you all juiced up “yoga” classes. You would actually see some pretty great results in the world from this path being followed. Yoga would be an entirely different animal than what it is in the West. Unfortunately the consumer world would not be able to buy this.
How about Saucha. This one is loaded because it speaks to so many things like food, lifestyle, action, speech and thought.
The reason why yogis are vegetarian is not of morality because doesn’t a tiger kill to eat? Are you saying a tiger is immoral? It should eat asparagus?
No, the food that you eat is you. Meaning that the food you eat becomes you, if you are digesting properly that is. Really you are what you digest, mind, body and all. Food and your digestion affects how you think and act as well as the quality of tissue and your overall health. With this, a yogis diet is very simple. Rice, Milk, Ghee. That is about it. The choice is of sattika foods. This is one of the very first steps. It applies to Santosha (cleanliness), one of the niyama. It would also apply to Ahimsa or nonviolence.
Also the food eaten is only satvika foods, not raw food, not smoothies, not what is popular in the Western world and surely not what Western nutrition thinks is healthy. Nothing in yoga is based on Western science at all.
From the Hatha Yoga Pradipika:
piṇyāka-hingghu-laśunādyamapathyamāhuḥ || 61 ||
Bitter, sour, salty, hot, green vegetables, fermented, oily, mixed with sesame seed, rape seed, intoxicating liquors, fish, meat, curds, chhaasa pulses, plums, oil-cake, asafetida (hînga), garlic, onion, etc., should not be eaten.
bhojanamahitaṃ vidyātpunarasyoṣhṇī-kṝtaṃ rūkṣham |
atilavaṇamamla-yuktaṃ kadaśana-śākotkaṃ varjyam || 62 ||
Food heated again, dry, having too much salt, sour, minor grains, and vegetables that cause burning sensation, should not be eaten, Fire, women, travelling, etc., should be avoided.
athāsane dṝdhe yoghī vaśī hita-mitāśanaḥ |
ghurūpadiṣhṭa-mārgheṇa prāṇāyāmānsamabhyaset || 1 ||
Posture becoming established, a Yogî, master of himself, eating salutary and moderate food, should practice Prâṇâyâma, instructed by his guru.
* Āsana – physical poses based on energy that balances the panchavayu (5 Pranas) of the body. The proper practice balances the physiology and it starts to function optimally but only if the proper rules of nutrition, biomechanics and posture are followed. The digestive system needs to be empty before doing asana. Otherwise what is in it will turn to toxins as the digestion will be stopped. This creates disease. Think about this next time your getting sushi before class.
Just doing a forward bend does not mean that the prana is flowing in the correct fashion that it is supposed to in a forward bend. There is so much more to it than just a movement. Take breath for example. Breathing in when you stand up verses exhaling when you stand up. The energies move with the breath. Just try this on your own. When you exhale to stand up or worse hold your breath, you will experience lightheadedness. This is not because of low blood sugar but because of the incorrect movement of prana with the breath connected to the movement of the body you are doing. This is why there is a specific breath with every asana. Inhaling or exhaling.
Another example for your experience; do a forward bend. Stand back up and feel what happened. Take a breath and feel where the breath is moving to, shallow or deeper, up or down more. Now do another forward bend and keep the weight in your heels when you fold forward. Stand back up and check the same. Do this a third time but this time keep the weight in the balls of the feet. Do the awareness and breath test. You will notice that when you forward bend with the weight in the balls of the feet 1. your abdomen and internal stability turns off. 2. when you stand back up the breath is smaller and more in the neck and shoulder region. 3. you may feel light headed or ungrounded, in fact you have no grounding after that. When you do a forward bend with the weight in the heels and not hyperextending the knees 1. you will notice the abdomen and core muscularity are on and support you. 2. it was easier and more stable. 3. you feel grounded and maybe even feel more of your feet on the ground. All of this is the movement of prana during the asana. Once again, not knowing what is supposed to be done or doing things attention-less or uneducated will disturb the pranas and cause disease. This is all very, very basic.
Asana clears karma of the physical body, the Annamaya kosha. It creates health of the physical being, balance in the mind due to prana and creates balance within the Pranamaya kosha.
The only mention of asana in Patanjali’s yoga sutras is verse 2.46 of states Sthira Sukham Asanam. First the fact that this is really the only mention states that asana is not a main focus of Yoga and speaks to what asana is. Sthira means stable and motionless. Sukha (su = good, kha = space) means good space. Asanam means seat derived from the root “as” which means to sit. There is so much garbage out there written by Western minds about this one sloka. Really think. So many more verses. Just one about asana and it states that it is seated and motionless. This is more so backed up by the foundational understanding of Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas. Movement is Rajas. It stimulates the mind, it creates, it imbalances prana. This is oh so obvious. Asana is just a seated position for meditation, the only thing that is going to lead to moksha.
* Pranayama – Pra and na denotes consistency, being a force in constant motion, life force. Pra is a root word meaning first or original. Na is a word meaning the subtlest unit or in other words energy, it also means death. Prana and ayama are the roots that pranayama comes from. This means pranic capacity or length. The whole thing is regulation of energy or cleansing the pranic body, assimilating prana and cleansing karma from the pranamaya kosha. It is the same thing as Qi Gong (energy skill). Lightness is achieved by pranayama.
In Sutra 49 of Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Patanjali states that only retention (kumbhaka) is pranayama.
Pranayama clears the karma in the pranamaya kosha. It is very much about building the energy of the body now that it is balanced due to asana. It is concise as well, if done wrong it will effect the entire physiology and mind very easily. Doing less and starting from the beginning is very important. The first step is yogic breathing or three part breath. It involves the balancing of the nervous system and breathing. In 3 part breathing the first part of the inhale is into the belly and low back. It continues into diaphragmatic breathing or the bottom of the rib cage opens to the sides and backwards like bucket handles being lifted off the side of a bucket, not forward as if you are doing a back bend. this stops the diaphragm from moving properly and forces the breath to be only from the neck and scalene muscles. The third part of the breath is now the neck and shoulders. The scalene muscles in the neck contract at the end of the breath filling the very top of the lungs. The exhale is just in reverse order. Shoulders, ribcage/diaphragm and then belly. Doing this balances the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. Most people are stuck in sympathetic breathing which is seen by that back bend from the kidneys to inhale as well as the shoulders lifting and the neck breathing that happens when the scalene muscle works as the primary muscle of breath. This pranayama is difficult for most people and needs some practice before moving on to anything else. If it is skipped, the imbalance of the breathing is magnified and strengthened with other pranayama practice causing troubles in the physiology, mind and disease forming down the line.
* Pratyahara – abstraction of the senses, withdrawal of the senses of perception from their objects. Calm is achieved through pratyahara.
Withdrawal is complete withdrawal, where the external disappears completely and you are not distracted by the outside world because it is no longer there. I mean it is there of course, your attention is just so deep that sounds and other sensory input from the external just can’t get in. This practice needs to be more than just like going to church on Sunday to repent what has been done throughout the week. It is to extend into your daily living as well. When the senses are withdrawn, the outward sense desires start to lessen and contentment is left. A balance of inner and outer remains. A knowing of ones self is the result. The practice of pranayama prior draws one inside anyway. It makes you quiet and internal as long as you are not using your pranayama practice to get high. The term bliss bunny applies here. Someone who is completely ungrounded, vata (the five pranas) disturbed and is actually gonna have a big crash sooner or later. This turning of the senses inward is really the start of the true yogic path or nivritti marga. It is a path of renouncing the external and is the path that leads through unfolding back to the spiritual worlds; often called the path of light or luminous arc.
Okay these next ones go quickly one into the other.
* Dharana – concentration, one-pointedness of mind
Single pointed focus in practice melts duality and the object and subject combine. You and the object of focus become one, non dual.
This is also brought out into the external world and your daily life. Withdrawing the senses is the start of the start of the path of nivritti marga (infolding path) or a path of a mumukshu (one who wants liberation). The senses are turned inward and the inner world unfolds. This ties into all of the yamas and niyamas and one of the reasons why brahmacharya is strictly celibacy and not what we have made in into as just watching your sexual energy.
This and only this leads to..
* Dhyana – meditation. Correct perception is achieved by dhyana.
Quiet mind with no vrittis (eddies) or monkey mind. No thought waves at all. No daydreaming as well. Seriously, yogic meditation is not mindful. The mentalism is not embodiment. It may be someone else’s thought of what meditation is but not to the depth of what yoga is speaking about at all. Most of us in this culture are stuck in our heads. Our minds are going so much that we don’t even recognize it at all. We think we are our minds and have no other experience of anything other than that. There is no spirituality there. It can only become narcissism. That is far from spiritual. Get out of your head and into beingness with meditation. Meditation is ONLY when the subject and the object merge. Running is not a meditation, ever. Think about how all this works and you will understand that meditation is the focus of yoga.
And only this leads to…
* Samādhi – the quiet state of blissful awareness, super-conscious state. Loneliness is achieved by samadhi.
This state may be brief at first but then over extended time it extends and much like the recitation of japa with a mala becomes ajapa or the lack of the recitation but just silence and bliss. No conscious thought. That ended back when the merging started.
Bliss is not being happy. This is what we have turned it into. This is so opposite to what it is. Aananda is bliss. it is the state of no happiness and also no unhappiness. they both do not exist at all in that realm. Ananda is the state of suffering and attachment and identification. The search for happiness is not what yoga is about at all.
Then if you believe it or not there are nine more levels to samadhi as well. That first stage is only getting to the gates of the mansion not even anywhere near the front door.
When was the last time anything like this was taught in a class of “yoga” in the modern world of yoga?
The “union” that Yoga (to yoke from the word yog) is talking about is samadhi and the word is synonymous; the connection of the earth and the stars, the material and the immaterial, the balance of the cosmic and individual, the terrestrial and the celestial, the individuals merging with god. Whatever way you want to say it, itis still the same thing.
This is a ladder of yoga, a path to get you there, clearly described. There are many other parts to it as well. The details in-between even break down into more details. For a uneducated, untrained or unexperienced layman, it might seem inexplicably rigorous and hair splitting but to get there, this very subtlety and vigor of the details is what bring the beauty, the different hues, the true experience and growth on this path that makes this metaphysical or esoteric systems like this one actually work and also stand the test of time and tide of fashion. Unfortunately today, the world is selling spirituality. It is in fashion and the true teachings are hard to find in the dense ignorance of 200 hour teacher trainings taught by others of the same lot.
When you put the Western lens of exercise theory or western medicine upon this science you have completely cut yourself off from all of its benefits. It is from a different paradigm. A paradigm that has many different rules and half of those rules are opposite to what the Western ideas are.
Just for a little more clarity:
Yoga asana brings the heart rate, respiratory, blood pressure, oxygen consumption, metabolic rate, body temperature and food consumption down. Western physical exercise bring them all up.
Yoga asana is Sattvic. Western physical exercise is Rajasic.
In yoga asana, the muscles receive less nutrition and organs receive more. In Western physical exercise, the opposite occurs.
In yoga asana, long fiber of muscles are created and the muscles do not bulk. In Western physical exercise, Large muscles with short fibers are enhanced and require more nutrients.
The joints are stressed in Western physical exercise leading to rheumatic diseases and stiffness later in life and not in yoga.
Western physical exercise the muscular system is worked and in yoga asana, the body is harmonized because yoga asana focuses on the nervous system and the glandular system.
The focus in Western physical exercise is on performance or an external focus of looking good as an outcome. In yoga, relaxation is the focus with an internal focus.
So what is going on out there in this modern world of “yoga”? Is there really such a thing or is it really such a big joke and a lie? Any way you cut it, modern yoga is the antithesis of upavarga, the path of yoga.
There is no division between mind and action. Before it is projected as action, it arises in the mind, with the mind itself as its ‘covering’. Action is nothing but the movement of energy in consciousness, and it bears its own fruit. When action comes to an end, mind too comes to an end; and when mind ceases to be, there is no action. Then there is no re-action only action oriented mind.
Space is of three levels. There is the infinite space of undivided consciousness, the finite space of divided consciousness, and the physical space in which the material world exists. The infinite space of undivided consciousness is that which exists in all, inside and outside as the pure witness of that which is real and that which appears to be. The finite space of divided consciousness is that in which creates the divisions of time that pervades all beings. The physical space is that in which the pancha maha bhuta (elements like air, fire, etc) exist.
Every embodied (meaning on this material realm) soul must have an Identity. This identity at a higher level is finer and subtler. The subtler the identity, the more powerful a man will be in life. Identity remains until that identity merges into common Identity, which later serves for the cause of the next creation. Thus it is only individuality that ends not the Identity. Thus, Identity is intuitive perception of segregated conscience, the individuality. It is so because of the dormant action at the center where the difference between being and nonbeing is very nominal. In this spiritual state, negation is the indicator of a balanced condition of mental conscience; the positive and negative currents of mind/psych negate each other and one feels living/dead to the day to day, action/reaction phenomenal life. Everything becomes silent, and meaningless, even the desire to attain the liberation. An expressible psychic-fullness and contentment is experienced indicating the arrival to this place. For yogis, mind alone is the cause of perception of forms without the interception aid of eyes which is a normal physiological feature in worldly oriented persons. The mind is strengthened by meditation, its purity is insured by eliminating the tendencies called ‘vasanas’.
Vasana (subconscious inclination; conditioning, tendencies, or self-limitations; predispositions and habits) is from vas (living, remaining). They are subliminal inclinations and habit patterns which, as driving forces, color and motivate one’s attitudes and future actions. Vasana are the conglomerate results of samskara (subconscious impressions) created through experience. Samskara, experiential impressions, combine in the subconscious to form those vasana, which contribute to mental fluctuations, called vritti. The most complex and emotionally charged vasanas are found in the sub-subconscious.
Yoga has its foundational understanding in the activities of Prana (vital force). This world is divided into Para (subtle) and Apara (gross) creation. One is inert and the other is conscious in nature. The subtle form of inert world is atoms which unite to form gross objects. Conscious world is Prana from which the subtle body is created. In the body this vital force is present as the subtle body. As a result movement and activity manifest and various creatures move about due to this. In its absence the intellectual consciousness cannot be perceived. It is what animates and the source of life.
Asana is based solely upon balancing the pranas of the system. Blockages due to kapha and imbalances of prana result in physical injuries, disease, and mental illness. Imbalance also shows up as physical tension and tightness in the physical structure. Asana without the knowledge of prana(s) is not asana and will end up, more than likely, causing and imbalance. Prana is responsible for all sensory and motor functions being in health.
Pranayama is based in conserving and building capacity of prana. It is not breathing exercises as much as Qi Gong can be considered breathing exercises. The use of the bandhas is mandatory to build capacity much like a tire that has a hole in it holds no air.
The external world devours ones prana and imbalances it through the physical use of the body and through sensory use. This is the very foundation of knowledge of pratyahara. With the sensory world turned inward, prana is not wasted constantly.
I am Prana as Prajna (divine intellect). By looking upon me as life span and nectar, meditate on me. As long as vital force exists life too exists. In this world the basis of attaining immortality is Prana only.
SHANKHAYAN (52) & KAUSHITAKI BRAHMANOPANISHAD (32)
The fire aspect of Prana is depicted as follows:
Verily this vital force of the body gets heated by imbibing the fire aspect. It is sun, moon, clouds, wind, earth and beings. It is also existence/non-existence and immortal Brahman (God).
Before creation of this world there was ‘non-existence’. What is ‘non-existence’? As an answer it is said they were Rishis. Who were these Rishis? As an answer it was said they were vital force. Vital Force is Rishi.
Over here non-existence does not mean absence but means unmanifested. Before creation Prana existed. When visible objects were created Prana was seen active. This seeing is ‘manifest’.
Prana is called elder and great as follows:
Before creation Prana existed and hence is called elder. It is great because in all bodies and objects its varied activities are noted. In actuality Prana term is used as life.
When Prana leaves any body or object they wither away.
The ten senses and the 11th mind that dwell in human beings are all vital force or Prana.
Despite this it cannot be called wind, sense organs or psyche. In reality it is a life force that works in all these.
This vital force is neither wind nor sense organs. In scriptures it is described variedly.
In the following lines greater clarity is given:
That mature vital force told the mind and sense organs: Do not get deluded. I have taken 5 forms and imbibed this body.
This vital force is neither wind nor is it the activity of sense organs.
BRAHMASUTRA SHANKARBHASHYA (2/4/6)
This vital force is different from mind and wind.
We bow down to that vital force which controls everything. It is the substratum of all beings (Pranis). It exists in everything and everything exists in it.
In Sanskrit language the word Prani is made from ‘Pra’ and ‘Un’. ‘Un’ means life force or consciousness. Thus Prana means life force or vital force. It is hence that creatures are called Pranis. The words Prana and life are used synonymously. Prana is a characteristic of Atman or soul. It comes from Paramatman or God. The soul is an inseparable part of God. Although it is a part of God all qualities of God are present in it. When a creature who imbibes individual prana matures it becomes all encompassing.
I have now shown in many posts over time, what is yoga as referencing various Vedic texts. From many of the Puranas to the Upanishads to Yoga texts to dharmashastra texts etc etc etc….. I will now do the same with the Ayurvedic text of Charaka Samhita. It is the main text of Ayurveda. It is amazing how all these texts speak of what is yoga. There are no styles mentioned although they are from different sources. This is what is known to anyone with any knowledge of yoga in India. All of them are coming from the same foundational understanding. What foundational understanding is Western yoga from? And how is that working for you?
I love Ayurveda’s explanation of yoga because it goes so deep into explaining disease. From this explanation you might take away how the Western yoga’s take on yoga has nothing at all to do with yoga and is infact just the opposite and is deeply disease forming as per what is copied below as per the text. After reading this, go to http://www.elephantjournal.com or yogadork.com and read a few articles about what modern yoga is. You will see that most of what is written is about relationships, love, being uplifted emotionally, motivated, sharing of opinions, etc etc etc… all of which do not have one thing to do with yoga… at all. All of it mere Western mental self help cittavritti and Western exercise disguised as asana. Just the opposite of what all these texts have explained as yoga.
Disease Causality (Trivida hetu):
There are three main causes for the disease i.e. – Asatmendriyaartha samyoga (Not using the five sense organs in the right way), Prajnaparadha (crimes against one’s own wisdom) and Parinama/ Kala (time/season). The Atiyoga (excessive use), Ayoga (under use) and Mithyayoga (improper use) of these three factors are the main cause for all the diseases where as their Samyakyoga (proper use) leads to health. The first one is directly related to the indriyas/sense organs. Prajnaparadha is directly related to the mind and spirituality. Ayurveda clearly explains the bad deeds of manas/mind, kaya/body and vak/speech are come under prajnaparadha and should not be done in any condition. (not “just this little bit won’t hurt”) After reading the following you might also grasp the reason and function of what pratyahara is. Further seeing the huge distinction of what is being thought of as “yoga” in the modern world.
This section of Charaka Samhita starts in Sharirasthana (volume/section/chapter on the body) around verse 94 onwards where Punarvasu is asking his teacher Agnivesha pretty deep questions. Prior to where we start was explanation about the soul, mind, manifestation, as well as karma and other stuff of such profundity. Soon the questions start to arise about disease and then into explanation in the text of the cause of all diseases. This is where we start.
What is stated directly about yoga is highlighted in RED
Unwholesome contacts/use of the sense objects is of 3 categories: underuse, overuse, and wrong use (trivida hetu). This is the cause of vitiation of the doshas.
Unsuitable Use of the Senses:
Sense: Wrong Use/ Conjunction (yoga):
Sound - By hearing intense sound, no sound or too little sound, the auditory sense organ is destroyed. The contact of the organ of hearing with sound that is harsh, is fear causing, is inauspicious, is unpleasant, that coveys mishap is known as unwholesome contact.
Touch - The lack of touch, excessive or touch of the objects that are not to be touched, leads to diseases and disorders of the tactile sense organ. Untimely contact with micro organisms, spirits, poisonous gases and toxic winds, untimely contact of oily (ex. abhyanga when their is indigestion), untimely contact of cold, and untimely contact of hot substances is known as unwholesome contact.
Sight - By excessive gazing at brilliant objects, looking at very minute object, and not using the sight at all, the visual sense organ is damaged. Seeing that which is disliked, fierce, those sights that create fear, that which is tamasic, too distant, too near and too faint objects is known as unwholesome contact.
Taste - Excessive intake of one type of food or taste, avoidance of taste in utter disregard without thought, faulty intake, in respect of habitual suitability (i.e. what one has habit to eat may not cause disease because of habitual intake but this does not mean it is healthy for the individual and one good day it will have an effect) etc., eating poisonous foods, and little intake of food is harmful leads to the destruction of the sense organ of taste. Inadequate intake of the six tastes creates destruction of the gustatory faculty.
Smell - Inhaling too mild or too sharp odors or completely abstaining from use destroys olfactory sense organ. The contact with foul smelling, infested with micro organisms, poisonous, disliked smells, smell that produces disgust or aggravation, and also with those which are unseasonal.
These are the three types of unwholesome contacts (atiyoga, hinayoga, mityayoga) with use of the senses to their respective objects (see above trividyahetu) that aggravate the doshas and create disease.
That which is not suited to the person (not following the rule of sahaatma or that which is not accompanying ones soul) is known as “asatmya” (unwholesome).
The disease originated by the impairment of the senses known as “Aindriyaka” arises due to wrong, excessive and inadequate use of the sense faculties.
Those 3 types of unwholesome contacts are responsible for all miseries (sukha). Balanced (samayoga) use (of time, intellect, and sense organs) brings heath but is very difficult to attain and is attainable through yoga only.
Neither the sense organs nor the senses are the causes of happiness or unhappiness. They are only created by the 4 fold uses of senses i.e. proper utilization, insufficient use, overuse, and wrong use (it is all created by how you attach your senses). Even with the existence of sense organs and sense objects, there would be no disease, no misery, or happiness without the involvement (yoga) of the 4 fold uses of the senses. Therefore, these combinations are the causation for all happiness or unhappiness. (if there is no conjugation of the sense organs with any object, there is no sukha or dukha = yogas chitta vritti nirodhah)
There can not be happiness or unhappiness without the soul, sense organs, mind, intellect, sense objects or the results of past karma. In the context of the science of medicine, only the four fold uses are at the causation of all happiness and miseries. The wholesome combination adherence is required while the unwholesome being given up is required for the maintenance of good health.
There are the 2 ways of contact that give rise to happiness or misery, contact with the tactile sense organ and that of the emotions to the mind.
Happiness (sukha) and unhappiness (dukha) are create desire (trsna) in the form of attraction (iccha) and aversion (dvesha). Desire is the primary cause of happiness and unhappiness. Pain (vedana), the sensations of happiness and misery, is the outcome of the contact of desire with the body and mind. If there is no contact, sukha and dukha do not exist.
The location of manifestations of happiness and misery is sense organs combined with the mind and the body except head hairs, body hairs, tip of nail, excreta, fluids. (exclusion because these do not have consciousness)
All sensations of happiness and unhappiness cease to exist in the state of yoga and moksa (liberation). In moksa, the cessation is complete while yoga is the means to gain moksha. (moksha is the absolute detachment of the soul from all mental and physical contacts and the course of yoga serves as a means to attainment of moksha) (“yogamokshau nirvatako” used in this shloka is meaning that this is the only way that there is of eradication of the sensations of happiness and unhappiness)
Soul, sense organs, mind and the sense objects provide knowledge of all forms. Not initiating any happiness and misery is only possible by making the mind stable. When this happens there will be no contact with these, both cease to exist and the mind is controlled. This state is known as “yoga” by the expert sages that are well versed in this subject.
Entering into other’s body (avesa), knowledge of other’s mind (chetah gnanam), controlling the sense organs at will (chandata kriya), supernatural vision (drishti), supernatural hearing (srotram), superhuman memory (smriti), superhuman brilliance (kanti) and disappearance at will (istadaschapya darsanam) – these 8 are said as natural strengths of the right path of yoga. All this is possible only by the purity of mind that is free from rajas (desire and passion) and tamas (darkness).
Moksa (emancipation) is possible only by absolute absence of rajas and tamas in the mind, annihilation of the bindings of past karma, and detachment from all the sources of worldly pleasures.
Devotion to the path of truth and righteousness (satyam upasanam), avoidance of the wrong path (asatam parivaarjanam), observance of vows (chariya), fasting (vrata) and other rites (upavasa) and rules (niyama), study of and compliance of dharma (dharanam dharmashastra), higher knowledge (vishesha vijnana), staying away from society (vijana), attachment to being alone (vijana gati), detachment from objects of sense and worldly pleasure (visheshu arati), restraint and mind control (driti), non-initiation of all good and bad actions (karmanam asamarambha), destruction of past deeds (by prayaschitta or punya karmas), inclination to getting away from the worldly trap (nishkramnyam), absence of ego (aahankarah), having fear of conjunction that creates happiness and misery (sanyoge bhayarshanam), maintaining balanced state of mind and intellect (mano budhi samadhanam), analysis of, then attachment to, the measures that will lead to moksha (artha tattva pariksha), having the proper memory (smritti) – all these leads to moksha (eternal liberty from the bondage of earthly life).
Absence of sorrow (dukha) is necessary to have a good memory. For one who follows a path of truth, there is better control of the mind. After emergence of memory one gets rid of misery by recollecting the creation of beings.
The 8 factors which brings emergence of memory: knowledge of cause (nimitta), of form (rupa grahana), of similarity (sadrisha), of contrast (viparita vastu), predominance of
sattwa (smarana), practice (abhyasa), attainment of knowledge (gnana) and subsequent partial communication of an event (purnah smarana). Memory is defined as recollection of direct perception, heard and previously experienced things.
There is only one path (eka ayanam) to attaining the liberation (moksha). (following right dharma, earn through right artha, have proper kama) A person attached to knowledge of truth (tattva smritti gnana) can attain moksha. Once attained one never returns. One who has attained this is called a knower of supreme knowledge (paramatgnani). People who understand dharma as well as the sankhya philosophers say that complete understanding of true dharma is the path of moksha.
All that has causality is misery (dukha) and is temporal (anitya). All that has cause is no concerned of the soul. Soul is initiator of the karma through the mind and it gives wrong notion of I-ness . Until and unless one understands the true knowledge one reamins believing that they are creating the karma, the one who has realized the truth, that atma is called a gnani. (one experiences and subjects them self to miseries only so long as they identify with the worldly events. When they realize that those events are only consequences of the wrong knowledge, they conquer misery completely) When the atma crosses all the boundaries of all dukha it is known as charamasannyas and the
In the attainment of the state of final renunciation in respect to all subsequent actions, all consciousness with its final causes in form of determinate, indeterminate, and scriptural knowledge is eradicated.
Thereafter the soul identifies with Brahman (brahmasvarupa) and the empirical soul ceases to exist, no more rebirths. They are not perceived (no pramana can be used to understand) as being devoid of all entities he possesses no sign of existence, no features (budhi, ahankara, asta prakruti, 16 vicaras). This is scope only for the knowers of Brahman (brahmagnani) and not the ignorant (agnani) one who is incapable of grasping this at all.
Okay, you get all of that?
So what? Still think what you are doing in that exercise class has anything at all to do with yoga? Really?
All of this funny enough sounds pretty close to what is described in the Yoga Sutras as well. Actually, this is the same from pretty much all the ancient texts posted and quoted here, huh?
So whats the deal, really think that getting some poses on a paddle board in the middle of a lake can have any comparison to what is written above? That may bring you some Western exercise benefits, but it is the furthest thing from yoga.
The final freedom on the material realm (bhuloka) is freedom from desires of the mind. This is not moksha but is the best your gonna get in the worldly life. Desires bind you. They are the reason for rebirth. You chase after, run your life by your desires. If the desires are fulfilled, they only create more desires, they lead to greed, if not they will lead to anger and hatred. This is understood by the wise and has been written in every ancient philosophy. Not just Yoga. From birth your mind is hungry with desires and there is a void in your mind, which you try to fill up by going after objects and fulfilling your desires and your mind ever remains agitated. No stillness can be had, no silence, no peace. Not one step closer to yoga. Funny thing is that this knowledge has to actually be experienced, it cannot be a concept in the mind. It has nothing to do with rushing off to a class of stretching from your busy day of rushed overworking and excessive talking to let some stress out. That is nothing less than a culturally accepted form of schizophrenia. What’s in your Yoga?
2nd part to this? What is the path?
17.1.6 The Essence of Yoga
Yoga means union with God. The state of yoga is impossible to attain without the blessings of Lord Shiva. It needs a concentrated and focussed mind. There are some specific spots in the human body concentrating upon which, enables a man to attain the state of yoga-spot between the eyebrows, lower part of the throat, Navel and six inches above it etc. The state of yoga can never be attained until and unless a person has fully controlled the tendencies of sense organs. It can be achieved with the help of eight means-Yama (Penance), Niyama (discipline), Asana (Posture), Pranayama (Breath-control), Pratyahara (restraint of passion), Dharana (retention), Dhyana (concentration) and Samadhi (deep meditation). Each of them holds an important position in the path of yoga.
Describing about the methods of performing yoga, Sutji says— A person should sit with his legs crossed in Padmasana and try to concentrate his mind by fixing his gaze between his eyebrows. He should keep his spine erect. He should meditate either on the form of Omkar or on the form of lord Shiva. Breath control is an important aspect of yogic exercise. A man should exhale deeply for 32 times and then breathe in deeply. He should then retain his breath as long as possible and visualize lord Shiva within his body. By constant practice he will achieve mastery over this art and a time will come when he will experience divine bliss. This divine bliss can not be experienced unless one has attained a deep state of meditation (Samadhi).
17.1.7 Obstacles in the Path of Yoga
A man experiences numerous obstacles in the path of Yoga-laziness, restlessness confusion, a diseased body etc. The main reason for being lazy is a bulky physique and one’s inability to concentrate his mind. Lack of concentration results in restlessness, which is a major obstacle in the path of yoga. If a person in unsure about the results he becomes confused. It is impossible for a person suffering from any disease to concentrate his mind.
All the above mentioned hurdles can be overcome by firm resolution. A man who has successfully overcome all these obstacles might experience other obstacles in the form of siddhis (divine powers). There is a real danger of getting lured by these divine powers. As a result his mind may get distracted from his original goal and he may deviate from his path. The names of these siddhis or divine powers are-Pratibha (having knowledge of past present & future incident), Shravana (being capable of listening to abnormal sounds), Varta (whatever is said becomes true), Darshana (capable of seeing things which can mot be seen by the mortal eyes), Aaswada (being capable of experiencing divine (tastes), Vedana (being capable of relieving other’s pain by a mere touch). If a person successfully overcomes all these allurements then he becomes a siddha- or man of accomplishment and divine powers.
17.5.13 Different Types of Yoga
The sages asked Sutji as to how should a devotee meditate on Lord Triyambaka following the path of Yoga. Sutji then retold the tale which Mandishwar had once narrated to Sanatkumar–
1. The first type of Yoga is called Mantra Yoga. In this type of yoga a devotee tries to attain deep state of meditation by chanting mantras. The chanting of mantras helps a man to concentrate his mind.
2. The second type of Yoga is known as Sparsha Yoga. In this type of yoga, a man acquires perfection in breath-control by constantly practicing various exercises like Rechaka (Exhalation), Kumbhaka (retention), etc. These exercises helps to purify the nerves and blood vessels.
3. The third type of yoga is known as Bhava Yoga. This is the state in which a person’s mind is totally engrossed in the thoughts of Lord Mahadev. This state of mind can not be attained unless the two former types of yoga have been mastered.
4. The fourth type of Yoga is called Abhava-yoga. When a man has mastered this particular yoga his ego is subdued in totality.
5. The fifth type of yoga is called Maha yoga. It helps a man to understand his real self and get united with the supreme Almighty.
The secret of Yoga should be revealed to worthy disciples who are virtuous and religious.”
This way, Sutji described the divine tales of Linga Puran and blessed the sages.The Linga Purana contains eleven thousand shlokas in it. The study of Linga Purana fulfills all the four worldly aspirations of a man- Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha.It also helps a man to attain salvation.