Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Conference #4

Today’s conference started w questions….

Q: When can we start to practice Pranayama?
A: The 8 kumbhaka’s can only be done when you have mastered asana – so at least Intermediate series. Kapalabhati is ok and can be done after utplutihi. You can also do simple Pranayama’s like Surya Beda (inhale left nostril block right side, exhale right nostril block left side 5X – good for colds). And Nadi Beda (inhale right nostril block left, exhale left nostril block right 5X). Pranayama is necessary for proper circulation. That is why Vinyasa is so important in our practice. Asana without the breath is just gymnastics. Concentrate/focus the mind and be present, especially if fear comes up in the practice i.e. back bending. In the HYP it tells us we only have 26600 breaths to take in one lifetime. By doing Pranayama, controlling the breath, we can reduce the # of breaths that we take thus lengthening our life! If you are a woman you will already have a longer lifespan as women are stronger mentally – lol!
Pranayama purifies the body & nervous systems like a vacuum cleaner. It helps us to detox bringing fresh oxygen to the tissues and cells. Digestive power will increase (in pascimottanasana) if done correctly.

We moved on from questions to Sharath just addressing general issues regarding the practice. One thing he speaks of almost every week is incorrect usage of handstand. “Ekam inhale, dve exhale, trini inhale handstand – not correct! So many students doing this. Many teachers teaching this. Putting video’s on Youtube and Facebook. Just jump back. This lifting is gymnastics, not yoga. The breath is not there so the vinyasa is incorrect.” Every week he addresses this issue and every week the same people continue to lift up into a half handstand while jumping forward and back. I guess he’ll keep saying it until people start to listen.

Bandha’s are so important in our practice. Mula bandha should be practiced all the time! It is what will help you control your mind. He who does mula bandha all the time will become a Raja Yogi. In Utplutihi contract your anus and pay no attention to my (Sharath’s) count! LOL! Just hold for as long as you can. Contract the anus in all of the asana’s. There are 3 bandha’s: mula or root lock your anus, udiyana or upward flying lock just below the navel, and jalandara chin/throat lock. This third one is only done during pranayama to stop the breath. It is not done during asana.

Food: "What we eat is so important as it affects us, it affects our mind." He spoke of vegetarianism in a very tactful way. At first he said, “Why eat a chicken when you can eat your own dog? Your own child? Much tastier!” Then he pointed out that it was part of his culture to be vegetarian but he recognized that it was not always possible for people from other cultures to follow a strict vegetarian diet. It’s my (EMMA) personal view to know where your food comes from. Make kinder choices, free range eggs, organic products. If you do eat meat/poultry/fish, know its source, what it was fed, where it lived, how it died. Factory farmed animals live a miserable existence and die a miserable death. Make educated choices and you will be on the right path. Krishnanmacharya said all aspects of this practice must happen organically. Not because someone told you you have to be/do/act in a particular way to be a yogi. Just start to be more aware.

Authorization: It is Sharath’s duty to Authorize students who are ready to teach. It is the new teacher’s Karma what is done with the certificate. Authorization doesn’t matter if you cannot answer the question “What is Yoga?” Understand this practice, go to it’s core, that’s what should be developing. Focus on that. Non attachment to the outcome is what you should be working towards. Whatever else comes is secondary. If you are too attached to anything you will miss out on the good things in life – enjoy your life!! Be in nature. Yoga happens naturally when you spend time away from the noise of the city. The mind automatically becomes still. When the mind is clear each practice will be blissful. Leave your bad thoughts outside the practice room along with your shoes ;) Don’t expect any of this to happen over night. It takes time to develop this attitude. You will eventually get to a point in your practice where nothing else matters.

He then told a story about a Sannyasin & Samsara.
There is a Sannyasin who lives alone by the river. He has a daily routine as part of his sadhana. He does his own laundry, he cooks his own food. Everyday he washes his clothes in the river. He leaves then to dry on a large rock beside his hut. But the rats start to eat his clothes leaving them full of holes. So he goes to town and gets a cat to kill the rats. But he has to feed the cat milk. So he goes and gets a cow to feed the cat. Now he needs someone to take care of the cow. His day is so full with taking care of the animals on top of his usual chores that his sadhana is suffering. So he gets married so that his wife can take care of everything! He created so many problems by trying to solve one when the answer was simple. Change location…

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