The Emperor’s New Clothes
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, 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 (murika-izing) 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. Or is the newest to do yoga poses in the middle of a lake or pool on an over sized surfboard……
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, MWY for short. 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. But how are they supposed to know the difference? How are they to know what is actually possible or what is there in the real path?
The thing is, most people don’t have a clue what yoga is and are blindly just accepting anything as yoga now. It is sick and laughable all at the same time. This one is more like a Saturday Night Live parody than anything else. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5fBPPIIxCI 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 belief, yes, it is just a belief, 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?
What is a yogi?
“Well, “yogi” is a big word. A yogi is one who practices Yoga, and real Yoga is not what is taught in most Yoga schools today. Yoga involves conjoining your limited awareness with that of the supreme reality. This is not easy; what is easy is to get entangled in the world of phenomena, what’s known in Sanskrit as samsara, which literally means the thing that is always flowing, moving, turning. And it’s easier to get caught in samsara when you’re stationary, located in one location. It’s long been a tradition in India that a sadhu, a wandering yogi, should stay no more than three nights in any one place…. Many of them find other ways of evading samsara. But this method of living has proven to be valuable to many people because it does force them to avoid attachment.”
– Robert Svaboda
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?
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. So, looking at the Yoga movement today, part of me feels very saddened by it….”
I would go a bit further and say it is way more than a mess since this article in 2003, now it is absurd.
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. Really. 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. “Vata is the source of both structure and function [of the body]. It is that which is represented by the five forms [of the bodily currents]: prana, udana, samana, vyana, and apana. It is the initiator of the upward and downward flow [of all internal processes such as circulation, metabolism, etc.]; the controller and guiding force of consciousness; the stimulant of the senses; the companion of sensations; the organizer of the elements of the body; the principle of synthesis; the storage battery of speech; the cause of feelings and perception; the origin of excitement and stimulation; it fans the gastric fire, dries out harmful phlegm; expels excrements; is purifier of the coarse and the fine channels of the body; the creator of the fetal form; the principle of life preservation. All these are the normal functions of vata in our body” (Charaka Samhita 1. 12:8). Disturbance of any one of these functions leads to illness and creation of disease. 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.
Side bar: (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:
- prāṇa : The inward moving energy. Responsible for the beating of the heart and breathing. Prana enters the body through the breath and is sent to every cell through the circulatory system.
- apāna : The downward flowing energy. Responsible for the elimination of waste products from the body through excretory systems. It is responsible for birth, menses, and all the other stuff that moves downward down there.
- uḍāna : The upward moving energy. Responsible for producing sounds through the vocal apparatus, as in speaking, singing, laughing, and crying. Also it represents the conscious energy required to produce the vocal sounds corresponding to the intent of the being. Hence Samyama (holding and contemplation) on udana gives the higher centers total control over the body.
- samāna : The digestive energy. Responsible for the digestion of food and cell metabolism (i.e. the repair and manufacture of new cells and growth). Samana also includes the heat regulating processes of the body.
- vyāna : The circulatory energy. Responsible for the circulation, expansion and contraction processes of the body, e.g. the voluntary muscular system.
There are 5 more in yoga:
- naga : Responsible for burping.
- kurma : Responsible for blinking.
- devadatta : Responsible for yawning.
- krikala : Responsible for Sneezing.
- dhananjaya : Responsible for opening and closing of heart valves.
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—–
Murdha – 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.There are also different sets in different lineages or practices. They are actually not present in a mundane person and they are only created thru the actual sadhanas, but don’t say this to the Western world, you’ll be smited.
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. It is not what or how it all works.
There is a practice that is fundamental of Tatvashudhi. Fundamental and needs to be done and taught by a properly authorized teacher. A real guru.
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 non-eternal. 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
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.
“Those who indulge in excess physical exercise, staying up late at night, excessive sexual intercourse, too much of laughing & speaking and such other strenuous activities destroy one’s life as a lion is soon vanquished after killing an elephant.”
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:
“When a yogin becomes qualified by practicing Yama and Niyama, then the yogin can proceed to asana and the other means.” — Yoga Bhashya Vivarana (II.29)
Yama – code of conduct, self-restraint
They are found in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (YSP), Sadhana Pada Verse 30 as:
- Ahimsa: non-harming or violence. This is the first because it is the only basic choice that separates us from animals; the very first step in being of a higher vibration. Animals do not have this choice. This also means no violence to oneself. This means like not acting like something one is not.
- Satya: absence of falsehood, truth. I think that this one silently speaks volumes.
- Asteya: non-stealing
- Brahmacharya: celibacy. A brahmachari is a yogi who observes complete celibacy. Celibacy without transformation of the preserved potencies only forces them to find their own outlet, mostly where it is least desired, at the weakest point of the whole organism. Celibacy of the mind has to precede celibacy of the body. An evil thought is worse than a bad deed. The “deed in thought” is often underestimated. One imagines control of action is the chief accomplishment, and forgets that frequently lack of opportunity or fear of external laws are the motivations which make us so virtuous. A deed is of value only when it is done for its own sake.
Obvious. If not read any of the posts on Brahmacharya.
- Aparigraha: absence of avarice. This would be the area of owning of material items comes in. The Western world in its obliviousness does not even have a clue how much of a consumeristic society it is. The yoga world is just as much. Not just products to make you enlightened, but how about the workshops and cheap short certifications?
Niyama – religious observances, commitments to practice, such as study and devotion
They are found in the YSP, Sadhana Pada Verse 32 as:
- Shaucha: in the traditional codification, this item is listed under Yamas; this word means purity.
- Santosha: contentment.
- Tapas: austerity.
- Svādhyāya: self-study or study of spiritual scriptures.
- Ishvarapranidhana: surrender to the will of god, or as I like to call it… it is all good and meant to be exactly how it is
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, spirit, mind, and body. 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.
A thesis can be written on each of these. Please read any post explaining pragnaaparadha….. or read the actual verses below. 15 and 16 specially.
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. It also is a very subtle thing that a mundane person is not going to be aware of until purity is reached to a certain point. The subtle world is out of reach for most. Purity is of the foremost importance.
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.
Hatha Yoga Pradipika (33-34) The asanas taught by Siva are 84 in number. Of these I will describe four of the important ones. They are siddha-sana, padmasana, simhasana, and bhadrasana.
This states volumes about asana. These four are meditative seated postures. Ponder this. I have, had to actually because what I was taught originally had very little to do with what I had read in all the texts. This is just one but it is repeated in others.
Shiva Samhita (84) There are eighty-four postures, of various modes. Out of them, four ought to be adopted:– 1, Siddhasana; 2, Padmasana; 3, Ugrasana; 4, Svastikasana.
Again only seated meditative postures.
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”?