It is said that the relationship with the mat is the same like the relationship to life. Some days we love life and some others, a lot less. So, it is not strange to be in and out of yoga, and I mean by yoga here is the physical yoga or asanas.
I have much respect to disciplined yoga students with daily practice. But I am not disciplined and this attitude of mine made me wonder and ask questions here and there. As a skeptic myself, I thought something was wrong with me. However I came into a deep realization.
Yoga is not only a workout as it has been marketed on social media as I have written about it on a previous post The IG Yoga. Yoga is made of my many paths to enlightment and Hatha yoga or asanas is one of them.
Looking closely at my behaviour, I noticed that yoga makes one connected to the universe. When my connectivity to the universe weakens due to daily life hassles, I feel it in my body which makes me unroll my mat and practice.
It is understandable that, in shaky situations, one would like to stick to a routine, any routine, for the sense of security and survival. This is why social media is full of videos, podcasts and posts on routines and practices and this tendency skyrocketed since the beginning of the pandemic.
However is it beneficial?
Neurologists explain that the brain functions in patterns. Once an activity becomes regular, the brain takes it as a pattern and forces the person to do it regularly. Hence the feeling of guilt or confusion in missing the regular habit.
Does it mean that we all must be doing yoga, meditation, daily workouts, journaling, drinking lemon water every morning etc.?
Although the above-mentioned practices are beneficial and recommended, it doesn’t mean every person should be doing them. Maybe one hates journaling, must they force themselves to do it? Maybe one feels uncomfortable with yoga or something else, should they do it in spite of it all?
The answer is no. A routine is a personal (sometimes collective) chosen activity for security, pleasure, health etc. or for any enhancement that leads to a better survival.
The problem when something so private becomes a mainstream on social media, it is highly misunderstood or unproperly applied.
P.S: Starting the 1st of July and for every Saturday of the month, I will publish free philosophy teaching documents. You can find them on my main blog page in “Portfolio”.
Another year, another lockdown, another bad news, the ambiance is apocalyptic. With the outbreak of new variants and economical cataclysm, one can’t help asking what would come next. Oddly though, Covid19 being this unfortunate event, imposes spiritual practices.
It is a scientific truth now that the coronavirus spreads through sneezing and speaking droplets. If the world shuts up for fifteen days won’t we be able to win over the virus? Silence is a spiritual discipline.
Another scientific truth goes about social distancing, another wrong word for physical distancing. Learning to be alone is a spiritual discipline.
Lastly, we know that overeating leads to chronic diseases. Since the virus outbreak, food awareness was spread; less is more. Here is also the importance of fasting, known with the fancy word intermittent fasting or simply IF. Fasting has been around for thousands of years as a spiritual practice in all religions.
Being alone, quiet and in a fasted state is a meditative spiritual practice.
The Ashtanga Yoga is a practice of the ancient wisdom of Patanjali’s yoga sutra. It leads to the overall development of mind, body, and spirit. These… Ashtanga Yoga – A simple guide to healthy life during crisis ——– West, meet East.
There is nothing wrong with the Instagram Yoga; and by IG Yoga I mean all yoga sites on social media. Yoga here is displayed from a marketing perspective; hence the images of difficult postures, fit bodies, fancy outfits and sometimes music. This is understood and widely accepted because jobs have turned into the online world mainly.
However, the IG Yoga is, in its majority, a continuation of the western perception of yoga, which is different from the eastern one.
So what is the “western yoga”?
Simply put, yoga in the West is seen solely as Hatha Yoga, a workout with many physical and mental benefits. This is the reason why it is taught in gyms for example as part of group classes. The aim is the posture or asanas as a path to the mental benefits.
In India, yoga is taught is ashrams or in specialized institutes. There, it is not about types of yoga but schools of yoga. Yoga, which means union, is the path of enlightenment and connection with all types of life. Hatha Yoga is one branch out of six which are the following:
Raja: with meditation as the main focus
Karma: path of service, of self-transcending action
Jnana; development of the intellect through the study of the texts.
Tantra: the most esoteric of all branches and widely misunderstood, it is about consecrated sexuality. Tantra is not porn.
Apart from some hints and tips about meditation, where are the rest of the branches on social media?
Since the subject of meditation is less clear than I anticipated I decided to sum up a description of a Buddhist to save you 1 1/2 hours of listening. The core of the Buddha’s way to liberation consists in the practice of meditation It was by meditation that the Buddha reached enlightenment himself and it […]
Since meditation has taken social media by storm and everyone is trying to do some kind of meditation, this post clarifies in details the differences between each type of Buddhist meditations.
To those of you who are interested in meditation (especially in hard times of pandemic and financial instability and insecurity), I urge you to check this post of my expert friend and learn step by step meditation.
There is nothing wrong with sitting comfortably and meditating, just like the common taught method of meditation. However, I feel there is something in this that doesn’t work for me. Meditation is an individual practice, although done sometime in groups. The meditative experience remains different to each one of us. This is a why a seated meditation doesn’t work for me.
Longtime ago, thousands of years ago, when meditation was invented as a technique to calm the mind and bring awareness to people, life back then was totally different. People used to walk all day to bring water and food and walk back home carrying whatever they gathered. They laboured their lands, picked fruits and vegetables, hunted animals, cooked and cleaned, guard their herds. Surely at the end of a long active day, they needed to sit down, close their eyes and meditate.
Nowadays, especially in big cities, life is busy in a different way. We sit down for too long, counting on machines and vehicules to do the daily chores. Food is abundant and easy to get, as long as we can pay for it. Then, why to sit even more just to meditate? We should meditate while moving more.
Meditation is commonly refered to as a prolonged concentration on breath and on being present. Which means it can be done in any activity. Put your heart in it, concentrate on the present task, focus on your breath and you are meditating.
The ego is very important. It allows us to look after ourselves, to cover in winter, to eat when hungry, to seek shelter for safety, to interact with others. Constituted mostly from our primary instincts and from our habits and thoughts patterns, the ego is our living kit.
Anxious people are caught in their inner narrative speech: who am i? What to do? How to act? What people would think of me? What if I fail? Etc. In other words, they are caught in fear. This turns the ego into a rigid machine operating upon one’s dominant thoughts patterns and narrations. In other words, this dragon ego will prevent a person from being emotionally touched by new experiences.
This calcification of the mind leads to a calcification of life. Only the ability to be open to anything new can make us hear melodies in daily noises and annoyance. An enhancement of the mind comes from new perceptions of the very close and, paradoxically, the very far. Life is to be amazed by the wonderful: the “wonder-full”. And why not to believe in mermaids and unicorns? Ideas are not supposed to be normal but extra-ordinary.
Here are some tips that open the mind to amazement (they worked for me so I am sure it will work for you too):
Workout, workout, workout: the power sensation over yourself alongside your body image enhance self-confidence, give energy and is an anti-ageing process, both for the mind and for the body
Yoga: needless to point out its benefits on yourself and on humanity. The headstand, also called the King of asanas, sends a blood flow to your heart and to your brain, making you feel calm, concentrated and so happy, you would smile from your liver!
Meditation: few minutes a day is a good start. Close your eyes and inhale and exhale slowly. Start counting backwards from 11 to 1 and when you reach 1, start from 11 all over again. 11 inhale, 11 exhale; 10 inhale, 10 exhale and so on. With time, it will change the structure of the brain!
Walking, preferably in nature. This also brings oxygen to the soul. The impact of nature on us is magical. Pay attention to colors, shapes, sounds. If not, any good walk outside will change your life.
Reading: shut the world outside and read a good book of your choice. It works on imagination and opens the mind.
From the latest statistics of the World Health, 74% of the world population is under stress and anxiety. I’m not sure about the number but anyway it is scary. To achieve peace within ourselves, to become amazed like children, one must take actions. Because life is worth it and because the world is wonder-full!
Obviously, I will not dive into the benefits of yoga immediately; I will mention its consequences later on. Yoga means “union” with every existing being and with the universe. Like Sadhguru says it: “what we exhale, trees inhale it; and what trees exhale we inhale it”. Therefore, one must be conscious that a human life would be impossible without all the elements of nature. Yoga, as in the physical aspect, is one way to know this. But I was introduced to yoga through the western concept of it that understands it as a workout, which is not the eastern understanding of it. To the latter, it is a spiritual discipline and a way of life to enlightment.
My story with yoga began when, many years ago (in 2001 or in 2002 if I’m not mistaken), I stumbled on an illustrated yoga book. I was mesmerized by the incredible postures of yogis. This triggered in me the desire to try yoga, which I only considered from the physical angle, reminding me of how good I was at gymnastics during my school days. In addition, I read about yoga and its ability in fighting stress and creating harmony and peace, along the photos of yogis inhumanly flexible and happy. Then my enthusiastic quest for a yoga teacher/studio started. Little did I know that it was not all as pink as I thought it would be.
What I found first was Hatha yoga and progressively I tried Iyenegar yoga, Vinyasa flow, Sivananda yoga and at that point I was disappointed so I stopped practicing yoga all in all because none of the aforementioned worked for me. What was missing was more of a rush feeling that I personally couldn’t find in these schools (western says “type”) of yoga. Until I tried Ashtanga yoga.
My first Ashtanga class was so difficult I nearly cried and it left me muscles sore for days, but with a great feeling. I understood back then that I needed this athletic and sweaty type of yoga. And it’s magical. The benefits are a whopping wave of super consciousness, energy and creativity. I felt them within the first two months of practicing.
I am on and off yoga and our way to the mat reflect our way in life. What I have learned that what counts is the journey and not the destination. I have learned to embrace myself and others. I have learned that what’s permanent is the change and that we are part of the universe, on an endless becoming!
There is nothing more captivating to the senses than the observation of a nature’s scenery. The colours and smell of flowers, the 50 shades of green, birds singing, rooster’s screaming from the top of its lungs, a gentle breeze and a slightly foggy sky. Amidst this peaceful break, the cat hunted an unlucky lezard and ate it in front of me, the same lézard which had probably eaten some insects before.
These are few manifestations of the immanent life in all of us (humans, animals, plants) driven by the desire to survive, for our survival is linked to a balance set by life itself. Breaking the cycle of nature means breaking the logic of life and the intelligence of what is mighty and somehow eternal, nature, eternal in its becoming and transformation, eternal with its desire for survival, eternal in taking different shapes and figures, eternal desire of desire, eternal love… in other words the conatus as Spinoza said it.
Easy like sunday morning is an easy, short meditation on the simplicity and the complication of life.. it takes few minutes to realise it…