Afte a prolific day often follows a lame day. Today was a lame day. I cannot even say where the time went.
I picked up the book by Gregor Maehle "Pranayama". After having read the introduction I knew that it was worth buying it. He expressed in perfect words what I feel for a long time already.
1. It's good or even necessary to have a teacher, but this cannot be the only source from which we learn. Classes are cramped, beginners need attention. Times where a student-teacher relationship existed are over. Yoga is business. The more yogis/yoginis attend a class the better.
Nowadays there are many sources available for the avid learner: books, YouTube videos, blogs.
Nothing helped me more than my own pictures!
The next day: I was so lazy yesterday that I didn't even finish this blog post.
There is another point that I liked very very much Gregor Maehle mentioned in the introduction. May I quote him from page 8 in the above mentioned book:
" You need to have in your mind an inner map of the territory that you are navigating. Imagine driving across a large metropolis or countryside without a map, whether electronic or hard copy. If you don't know where you are going you will end up somewhere else. In the example that I have used here several times, if you don't know that yoga leads to spiritual freedom and how exactly to get there you will instead merely arrive at physical empowerment and a buff body."
Spiritual freedom is the key word.
The word power in combination with Ashtanga yoga is misleading. One might get strong and flexible, but the goal of yoga is not to gain power. The opposite is the case. To get the insight that we're the instrument not the player is a mercy. One can do nothing for it.
A decade ago a woman was excluded from the community because she called Ashtanga yoga "power yoga". In the meantime it seems to me that the word power in combination to Ashtanga yoga is rehabilitated and back in the mainstream discussion.
Those who want power will go on suffering.
Those who are so lucky to get the insight that we're powerless (a happening) will achieve peace of mind.
- Step on the mat with the intention to become powerful. This often leads to a practice with frustration, fighting, greedy wanting. Not that I do not know that.
- Or step on the mat with the intention to let a practice happen, being transparent, soft, open. Let energy move through your body. Discover the passive aspects of a practice not only the active ones. Most of the time my practices are much more satisfying then, even more intensive.
The understanding/experience that we're powerless is the liberation. Ashtanga yoga is a tool that can lead to this understanding. Human beings like to do something to accomplish something. This is in my opinion why sages created exercises. In order to understand that we're not the player but the flute no practices are necessary. It can happen from one second to the other.
Liberation/enlightenment is the 8th limb. It's a mercy. It's part of Ashtanga yoga.