Friday, February 04, 2011

Yoga for liberation?

"I am glad you have found a love for yoga. However, you may want to make sure that your practice is blaanced, IE not just the ashtanga asnana, but rather practicing Ashtnaga yoga in the classical sense.

Have you explored the other branches/ limbs of yoga?

I think that ahtanga can create in some people a kind of addiction to the physicality of the practice and a stronger attachment to one's body.

Enjoy the practice, but be mindful and focus on the other 7 branches of yoga as well.


Susan Martinez, Director

Healing Lotus Yoga & Reiki"
Thank you very much Susan for your comment. It inspires me to write a post.
Here are the 8 limbs of Ashtanga yoga.
1. Yama (being non-violent towards others, living vegan i.e.)

2. Niyama (being content)
3. Asanas (the practice of physical postures)
4. Pranayama (controling the breath)
5. Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses)
6. Dharana  (focusing the attention in one direction)
7. Dhyana (meditation)
8. Samadhi ("enlightenment")

I think it shows much understanding that you mentioned 7 branches of the yoga system. It's true Nr 1 through Nr 7 can be exercised, Nr 8 "enlightenment" is a mercy.

Again I start loving this practice even more (this is possible). Ashtanga yoga practice combines the different limbs in one practice. How wonderful is that:
When I practice the asanas and vinyasa (limb3), I also do pranayama (uddjay breathing, limb4), I withdraw the senses (limb5/6), because I focus on the breath. Finally I sit in meditation pose (limb7). It's one of the last asanas.
Yama: The practice also teaches me to eat well, to eat consciously, not to do harm to animals. This is surely not a necessary consequence of the practice.
Niyama: Am I content? I'm much more, I feel thankful to have found this practice, very thankful.

Ashtanga yoga is made for the average housholder and not only for sanyasins, who dedicate the whole life to yoga practices. Ashtanga yoga shall allow the practitioner of this style to have a family and a job beside the daily yoga practice. This is why different practices like asanas, pranayama, meditation are practiced within one practice. Of course they can be practiced separately in addition. Then the practice can easily prolong to 5 or 6 hours.

Limb Nr 8:
I want to finish with a quote by David Carse in "perfect brilliant stillness": " 'You' don't 'do' things; nor does anyone else; events happen, and they happen through mind/body organisms as instruments, including the one you call yourself." (page 292)

This is the true liberation.

Same book, page 292: "'You' are no more responsible for what occurs through the mind/body you call your'self' than the flute is responsible for the music played on it by the musician."

And this one from page 360: And yet. Yet if only once for a  moment, there could be letting go, if there could be that pop of the shift in focus and the individual self seen beyond, seen for what it is, "an echo, a rainbow, a phantom, and a dream," then there is something. Then the individual self was simply a thought, and idea; a 'false imagination' that cried out for comforting. When the true nature of things is seen, apperceived, then there comes something far beyond comfort, though there is nothing any longer that needs it."

Does it require to do yoga with all the limbs to understand this? My answer: No.
Then why to practice yoga? Because it's fun for me. I love it. And who can explain love?

By the way: You can order the book by David Carse "perfect brilliant stillness":

 David Carse visited the satsangs by Ramesh Balsekar in Mumbai.
The book is excellent.
All words and concepts and opinions lead only to more discussions, more words, more misunderstanding. Much storm for nothing.  I've  heard that this was one of the reasons why P. Jois said "99% practice and 1 % theory". Good so.
(This does not mean that I don't love to discuss this topic. I do!) 
Time to take a bath, to feel the hot water around my body, to smell the essences that I usually pour into the water, I'll see my feet coming out of the foam and I'll be entertained. Ah............
Yep, I'm very attached to my body. I love my body. Life happens through it.
Friday has come: happy weekend to everybody.



Hi Ursula! I love Yoga and my cat Goma is too!! I do Bicram regulary, this is th eonly way i can stay sane in this world....and blogging... This you might like!!

Ursula said...

Perhaps I'd get mad, too withoug my yoga practice.

Wonderful that you've found a passion for you. Enjoy.

Namaste for you and your cat.

Francisca said...

You are right: keep it simple. Why do we have to explain and understand everything?
Have a nice weekend :)

Ursula said...

Thanks Francisca.

Your blog is awesome.
Enjoy your practice and your writing.


Quentin said...

Mysore class etiquette at Ashtanga yoga studios:

Since going to mysore style class at an Ashtanga yoga studio, the posture often given to me by the teacher instruction in is turtle and sleeping turtle by adjusting into by the teacher.

For future classes Should I just go to sleeping turtle and then finish the sequence with finishing postures and then work on backbends? and wait for the teacher to give me another pose after sleeping turtle? Then when teacher adjusts or gives instruction on poses after sleeping turtle do those?

Or is this something only done at Mysore, India?

when you went to AYRI studio, how did the teachers work poses into your practice. Were you restricted on working up to a certain pose they thought you needed work on or were you allowed to progress on your own through the whole series, even though not mastering all the poses?

did Sherath and Sarisswati keep advanced students on the front rows with Saraswati working with average students on the rear rows?

Cranegrl1 said...

Hi Ursula. I just found your blog and find it fascinating how you schedule your life around your practice. I have been reading through your posts and find it so helpful how you write about the difficulties of different poses and getting started etc. etc. I have only been practicing for a year but I feel myslef being sucked in. I just wanted to comment on the 8 limbs. I too have read that the asana limb is geared to the "average householder" and I can barely get a 90 minute primary series practice into my life between my husband, 2 kids and a dog to take care of. Thank God I don't have to work...But you are right. You can practice the other branches in your asana practice. I love ashtange! Love your blog!

Ursula said...

Thank you for commenting Cranegrl1,

I admire everybody, with children, husband and a hobby.
I think we have to learn to focus more and more in world that offers more and more things and more and more distraction.

I hope for you that you can create room and time for yourself. It's so important.


Ursula said...

Hi Quentin, your questions require more words sometimes.....
Your question is worth to write about's coming, soon.

Namaste, Ursula

Robyn said...

Hi Ursula,

With all due respect (and I am a big fan), I feel you are selling the eight limbs a little short in your description of them. I believe they are a little more complex than you list. Perhaps you were just being short and sweet..? In any case, you might like this book, if you haven't already come across it - The Heart of Yoga by TKV Desikachar (son of Sri Krishnamacharya). He goes into the eight limbs in some detail and has a translation of Patanjali's Yoga Sutra at the back. Highly recommend it!

best wishes, Robyn

Ursula said...

Hi Robyn,
I prefer to talk about how to take the leg behind the head than about morality.

Of course I know this book.

You're welcome to be a guest blogger, if you like to write about the different limbs.


Nikki said...

Hi Ursula
Really enjoy reading your blogs, great to find someone with so much passion for yoga. Feel free to check out our blog which might interest you and your followers.

We will be addding some yoga tips in the next few weeks, so keep checking!