Yoga blog 7/23/2013


Last night we read from Yoga Psychology by Swami Ajaya, a book borrowed from the library of one of our regular participants at the ashram, Mary Loan. We started out reading aloud a section on dealing with disturbing thoughts. To quote from the book, “The way you relate to troublesome thoughts in meditation is a critical and central aspect of the meditative process.”  We learned that meditation is a process of cleaning out the subconscious, allowing hidden aspects of ourselves to rise into the conscious plane, where they can be recognized and consciously released. The benefit of this process is becoming fully aware of your motivations, rather than reacting to subconscious stimuli which can be at best confusing, why did I do that?, and at worst debilitating,  if we fail to understand where behavior, or random negative thoughts or feelings come from. Every thought comes complete with a hook into the ego that drags the attention away from the object of meditation. It is partly a process of gently allowing the mind to return again and again to the object of the meditation. In that gentleness we also must give up judging our experience within the practice. There is no good or bad experience of meditation. Our mind wandered, or it didn’t. We felt positive, or we felt negative during the practice. These feeling and experiences are of little account. They are the pebbles on the path. What is important is placing one foot in front of the other, and rodding the path. What is important is the act of meditation. You will “progress”, how quickly and to what extent is not important. Progression is not important. Process is the essence of the practice of meditation.

I find it extremely helpful to hook my mind with mantra. Thus, my mind is already attached to sound projecting from my mind and to my mind simultaneously. The circle is complete.  We then went on to read in the same book about the use and method of mantra. Many books on the subject begin with, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (Word up.)

Thus, we resonate with the seed sound of the mantra, we become the resonance, and understand ourselves as one with God. We become the word, we become God. This is the ultimate union. All else emanates from this knowledge. Om, Aum, and Amen are “approximations of “ the “more subtle form as it exists in a higher realm of creation.” The Word is Om. The process of manifestation is one of division, as we create that which is other than our self, and continue to multiply the other, until the world of our consciousness is full. Meditation reverses this process by reuniting all that is, to the point of oneness, the experience of which is unity, the knowledge of which is oneness with God.

“Bringing then the senses all into harmony of recollection, let him sit in devotion and union.”                 Bhagavad Gita      



Yoga blog 7/16/2013

Yoga  blog   7/16/2013

It has been a busy week at the ashram, haven’t made it to blogging about yoga for a few days! In any case, we have been alternating between vinyassa and kundalini practices, and were joined this week by Mary, Debra, Mitylene, and Lacy.

Today we did a kriya for the upper body. This practice is gentle but demanding in terms of the times allotted to the exercises. The entire kriya is done in easy pose or half lotus, somewhat demanding in itself, and requiring a few breaks to shake out the legs and wiggle the feet. I really like this kriya as it is a wonderful self-adjustment for the neck and head. This Kriya is from Yogi Bajan’s manual Maintenance Yoga.  The first two exercises are mudras for balancing electron exchange in the brain. Then moving on to application of pressure to the neck and head.  My favorite part of this kriya is the fifth exercise in which gentle pressure is applied by pressing the fingers of both hands along the top of the cheekbone, just under the eyes, and rapidly vibrating the tissue by moving the fingers sideways, in toward the nose, and out toward the ears. If you do this for the full recommended five minutes it is amazing. This is followed by five minutes of rolling the tongue around the front teeth, top and bottom. This also feels wonderful, and adjusts the jaw. This kriya also includes body drops, pushing into the mat with the fists, and lifting the body, in easy pose, off the mat, and dropping back down. This definitely becomes easier with practice, and is another exercise I really enjoy.

Debra, with MS, is modifying the poses and times to accommodate herself within the context of her condition. We both had a great savasana, or corpse pose at the end of the practice. I am coming to realise that the body of the kriya truly culminates in the final savasana, as we fully relax and integrate deeply all that we have done in the session. The work of the kriya is all about the fullness of the savasana. I never limit the time for savasana at the ashram. This is where the true benefit of the yoga comes to bear throughout the body, each person exploring and releasing on their own journey within themselves. We have been known to lie in savasana for a half hour, even forty-five minutes at times, allowing for a full and complete integration of the benefits of the kriya.



Yoga blog 10/7/2013

Yoga blog 10/7/2013

Today’s Kundalini yoga practice was a kriya from Yoga for the Aquarian Age by Yogi Bajan, entitled Keep Up  Spirit. A beautifully balance practice including seated postures, standing exercises, and a couple of varied sets of alternating cat and cow postures. The most difficult exercise for me, and it seemed for everyone else, was lifting the feet off the mat in cow posture, moving the body weight to the knees, and trying to kick the buttocks with alternate heels. Even though we only attempted this for the recommended minute, it was extremely challenging.

Again, I felt the yoga most in the chest. I’m not sure if this is just my experience, or a typical feature of the kriya. We took several savasanas, “corpse pose”, a resting meditation, during the practice. By the final savasana I felt a deep release throughout my body, a kind of rushing feeling from toe to head. This powerful sensation lasted a long time. I had to break my savasana early due to the onset of an immense amount of rain, (the palapa does leak…), but even after rushing around with buckets, I was able to resume my savasana and really noticed the rushing continuing. It seemed to abate about 40 minutes later. I felt deeply relaxed.

We were joined in our practice by Mary Loan.



Yoga Blog 7/8/2013

Yoga Blog    7/8/2013

Today we worked from Yogi Bajan’s kundalini yoga manual, Yoga for the Aquarian Age. The kriya was simply titled, Something New.

This was a short kriya, although quite challenging with a number of leg lifting exercises in combination with breath of fire. For me it was very orange, very activating in the second chakra. I felt energy concentrating around the navel and in the chest.

We followed with another shorter set from Physical Wisdom, also by Yogi Bajan.  This kriya,  Yoga  for Children, continued to stimulate the chest, and had some fun and wonderful partner exercises. In this set, we balanced the reproductive system and the glands of the whole body, adjusted the spine and balanced the sex glands. We transmuted sexual energy and stretched the Life Nerve with a series of 52 frog poses. Bundle rolls helped to readjust our magnetic fields.

The partner postures were profound. In the first one, we sat back to back in half lotus, with our hands crossed over our heart center, right hand pressing over the left hand. Simultaneously bringing forehead to floor, and rising back up in unison, our spines rolling up together, created an amazing sensation of comfort, love and security, and a heightened awareness of each vertebrae meeting with our partner’s as we rose up. The second partner posture was the familiar “yogi grind”, circling the abdomen around the pelvis. It is a lot different sitting face to face with your hands resting behind your partner’s neck and vice-versa. It took a few minutes to get the rhythm worked out between us, but once it began to flow it was fun and had a wonderful effect.

I felt very energised by the entire practice, and my savasana was uncharacteristically light and short. I definitely felt that I had worked the lungs and chest cavity, moving some congestion to the surface and stimulating it to clear out.



Yoga Blog 07/07/2013

Yoga Blog   07/07/2013

Today we were joined by Mary Loan. Our practice began with the mantra ONG NAMO GURU DEV NAMO. We opened the set with a practice for perpetual youth, as taught by Yogi Bajan from his manual Physical Wisdom. Though generous savasana was taken after each exercise of the set, it was a short but fairly physically demanding kriya.  This yoga set is centered around the navel, with a lot of leg lifting and a couple of opportunities to use Breath of Fire. It also features a special sequence for coming out of savasana that can be used at any time; especially recommended upon awakening in the morning.

Within this awakening sequence is a version of child’s pose, held for three minutes. Yogi Bajan suggests in his notes appearing in Physical Wisdom, that this simple posture of intent repose adjusts the gases in the body and intestines, correcting misplacement of the gross and subtle airs of the body, and preventing signs of aging.

The mantra SA TA NA MA is combined with leg lifts in this yoga kriya. Winding the first section of the practice for perpetual youth up with platform pose, head hanging,  tongue extended, using breath of fire. This posture invigorates the pelvis and stimulates and balances the thyroid and parathyroid. After another brief savasana we began some meditations and postures to open creativity.

We came back to a version of child’s pose as mentioned above, known as Guru Pranum, Bowing to the Teacher in All Things. In this exercise, taking a deep breath in, we hold the breath while visualising rainbow colors running up the spine from red at the base of the spine to violet at the crown of the head, and allowing the colors to dissolve on the exhale.

Yogi Bajan says

“All art, music, poetry, dance…attempt to capture and reflect the flow of the universal life force …in this sense, all art is worship of God.”

To wrap up the session, we chanted ONG for the integration of Infinite Creativity. We next created an energy ball between our hands, and brought it into the chest, pressing the hands into the heart chakra. By the end of the practice we indeed felt Divine as is indicated in the notes.

For me the final savasana was cellular, colorful and timeless. Rising with a feeling of intense upliftment and heightened awareness, the joy of the yoga practice filled the rest of the day.

Laine Hoogstraten