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What is the Mind?

Sat, 09/07/2013 - 18:54 -- admin

1-2 Yoga Citta-Vtti -Nirodha - CVN

The state called Yoga naturally arises when we continuously practice directing (nirodha) the cognitive processes (vtti-s) of the mind (citta).

The Mind – Many Terms – Many Roles ManasMental processor - processes all sensations - leader of the senses – etymologically related to the word “man” or “hu-man”. It can’t process outside information/knowledge (vidya) via the senses clearly because of ignorance/misperception (avidya). It has not applied knowledge through actions from deep within (vivekam) – the manomaya (brain, 6th sense) level in pancamaya system.

Ahamkara Ego - believes it is in charge (the Master of the system) – steals the Cit’s (Soul’s) power to direct our lives. It does not understand that Cit (Soul, Seat of Consciousness) is its Source. It is the interface between the manomaya (brain) and vijnānamaya (deep-seated applied knowledge) level in pancamaya system.

Buddhi Deeper mind – Values, deep seated samskāra-s (unconscious patterns/tendencies from this life and other lives). It must be trained to choose correctly and help the manas (brain) decide what to allow through its filter and what to reject. It is closest to the Draṣţa (Active Perceiver, Soul). The more sattvic (pure) it is, the more vivekam (intuitive, unmediated wisdom) it has at its disposal. When it is able to listen to the whisperings of the Soul, it receives its unmediated perfect wisdom (vivekam), not based on the knowledge of senses or the brain (indriya-s/manas). It is able to reflect what the Soul (Draṣţa) correctly determines is the best course of action for the least amount of suffering in any given situation. It is the vijnānamaya (deep seated applied knowledge) level in pancamaya system.

Citta - Individuated consciousness –Part of prakṛti (mind-body-matter) – Synonymous with buddhi since it too understands that Cit (Pure Consciousness, Puruṣa, Soul) is its Source. Citta (mind) is known by its 5 cognitive processes (vṛtti-s) and is covered in kleśa-s (the 5 misperceptions of a clouded mind). As it evolves, it becomes more sattvic (pure) with more prajna-vivekam (unmediated spontaneous intuition-wisdom from the Soul) and fewer kleśa-s (5 misperceptions).

The purpose of Yoga is to bring duality to Oneness. Citta (individuated consciousness) eventually merges back into its Source, Cit (pure consciousness). The mind’s purpose is to show the external world to the internal Soul and to reflect the Light of the Soul so that it remembers who IT is (IV,23). The citta (mind) serves the Cit (Soul) and cannot function without it. It has no purpose except to act as the servant to the Soul (Cit) rather than the false master (IV, 24 and II, 21). The mind (citta) is always changing while the Perceiver (Cit) is not (IV,19).

Yoga Sutra Journal Questions for September

How do you experience that state called Yoga in your daily life? How do you uncover your natural state of Happiness and Joy? What activities help you reign in the untamed mind so that you can experience the Joy that naturally arises from that quiet state of body-mind? Can all of these activities promote that state of mind called Yoga? Can they all be considered Yoga practices?

What is Yoga?

Sat, 08/31/2013 - 20:29 -- admin

Patanjalie Drawing -2

I-2 Yogaḥ Citta-Vṛtti -Nirodhaḥ - CVN The state called Yoga naturally arises when we continuously practice directing (nirodhaḥ) the cognitive processes (vṛtti-s) of the mind (citta).
In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra-s (YS), Yoga is defined in terms of sādhana (practice), which results in siddhi-s (powers), and finally Yoga’s ultimate goal, Kaivalyam (Freedom from suffering/misperception/ignorance).

There are four stages of transformation Stage 1 = Understand the mind – Chapter I (Samādhi Pādaḥ)
Stage 2 = Cleanse the body-mind through Patanjali’s 8-limbed practice – Ch II (Sādhana Pādaḥ),
Stage 3 = Use the mind for the meditative process (detach, focus, meditate) and use its powers wisely – Ch III (Vibhūti Pādaḥ)
Stage 4 = Go beyond the mind – move from vidya (knowledge based on logic) to prajna-vivekam (intuition-wisdom) – Ch IV (Kaivalya Pādaḥ)

Lakṣana Sutra – Yoga Defined When most Westerners hear the word Yoga, they think of Cirque du Soleil-like acrobats, performing outrageous contortions of their bodies for the purpose of Enlightenment. But why are these acrobats not Yogi-s? What is the difference between an acrobat and a Yogi/Yogini?

The Yoga Sutra-s are often called Raja Yoga, the King of Yoga practices, meaning practices that focus on the meditative state and finally Freedom as the outcome. A Yogi/Yogini is one who practices concentrating the mind in a positive direction for a sustained period of time.  The point of all yogic practices including āsana-s (postural practices) is concentration and meditation. If the practice is not promoting mindfulness and freedom from misperception, it should not be called Yoga.

Vyāsa says our object of meditation must have 3 qualities to bring us to that natural state called Yoga: it must reduce kleśa-s (clouded thinking causing misperceptions, Ch II,3); remove our attachment to the results (phalam) of actions; turn our attention toward nirodhaḥ (that which protects the mind from distractions).

Yajnavalkya  defines Yoga from a spiritual point of view. Coming from the root Yuj (union), Yoga is defined as Jivātmā (little human soul/self) uniting with Paramātmā (Big Divine Soul/Self). Vyāsa says, however, you first need Viyoga (separation/detachment) in order to experience Yoga. You need to uncover the Self, not join with it. He says Yoga comes from the word Yujir, to meditate, because the goal is to detach from our bondage to material reality (prakṛti) and to realize we are more than our minds and bodies  and re-identify ourselves as Self-Puruṣa – Soul.

 Duhkha (suffering) samyogam (well joined/identified with) viyogam (separation/disindentified with/detachment) yogaḥ (is Yoga) – Yoga naturally arises from disidentifying with the suffering we are completely identified with ~Vyasa

For Patanjali, Yoga is NOT defined in a spiritual way but in terms of practice. Yoga is what naturally happens when you practice mindfulness, focussing the mind for a sustained period of time in a positive direction. The focus is on practice NOT belief. It doesn’t matter what you believe in fact. Just practice and see for yourself what you experience. You may or may not call that experience spiritual or not; thus, the birth of the many spiritual/mindfulness paths, describing these Yogic experiences in multifold ways from atheistic to theistic to agnostic.

Yoga Sutra Journal Questions for September How do you experience that state called Yoga in your daily life? How do you undercover your natural state of Happiness and Joy? What activities help you reign in the untamed mind so that you can experience the Joy that naturally arises from that quiet state of body-mind? Can all of these activities promote that state of mind called Yoga? Can they all be considered Yoga practices?

What brings you into the Zone, into the Flow and out of your head? Is it doing “Yoga” practices such as āsana-s (postural practices), prānāyāma (breathing practices), ādhyāya (chanting practices), or dhyāna (meditation practices)? Or is it walking in nature, playing with children, playing music, spending time with your life partner, gardening, playing sports, creating art, cooking, writing, or reading books? Can they all be considered Yoga practices?

Applied Knowledge Passed Down

Sat, 08/24/2013 - 14:43 -- admin

I-1 Atha-yogānuśāsanam Now, let’s start our study of Yoga as it has been practiced, experienced, applied, and only then passed down from teacher to student throughout the centuries. May it be an auspicious beginning for the benefit of all future generations of Yogi-s.

Yoga-anuśāsanam This applied (not theoretical) knowledge/wisdom brings you to that state called Yoga.

Anuśāsanam is applied/practical knowledge versus Jignyāsa, which is mere theoretical knowledge.
Anu + sāśanam = to follow (practice) + theory/philosophy/ facts/nothing to argue about/not open to being disputed.

A change is going to happen. What propels us from transmission of knowledge to transformation? Practicing, experiencing, and applying the knowledge is the first step. Then it must be passed down to the next generation. You start as a student, but you must become a teacher to create the guruparampara. Ideally, this knowledge is transmitted from teacher to student directly, not through books or other media, for a direct transmission experience to happen.

Practice is more important than theory. I am learning the theory in order to practice. The same idea is expressed in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. Only practice will give you results. Theory alone will not. Just because you dress like a Yogi, you will not become a Yogi. Speaking like a Yogi will not give you results. This regular and long-term practice of Yoga creates authenticity or satyam (truth). The experienced teacher says, “Don’t have any doubts. I teach from a tradition which I have followed and now I am passing on to you to follow.” Patanjali never claims authorship for the YS - he is merely its compiler, passing down its knowledge from the Veda-s to future generations.

This YS is a closed loop. Atha (authority to teach) comes first, but you must follow what you know (Anuśāsanam) in order to have that authority to pass on the knowledge of Yoga to future generations.

A Vow to Teach and Learn

Sat, 08/17/2013 - 21:02 -- admin

Patanjali I-1 Atha-yogānuśāsanam Now, let’s start our study of Yoga as it has been practiced, experienced, applied, and only then passed down from teacher to student throughout the centuries. May it be an auspicious beginning for the benefit of all future generations of Yogi-s.

Atha Here, the authority of the teacher is asserted to teach. This sutra is a promise by the teacher to teach all that she can AND by the student to learn all he can. This vow is called a Pratigjna Sutra or Mudra (seal) made with the right palm on top of the left on the right knee.

In modern society, going deeply into any one path or relationship is not the norm. We tend to be spiritual butterflies on the path to Enlightenment, thinking that this constant change in direction is equivalent to Freedom (Kaivalyam). Patanjali warns against this approach here. Pick your direction and go deeply into it with commitment. The commitment to the practice of Yoga, however, should be one that comes from a state of Abhyāsa (I-12), practicing being Present, not from a sense of duty or from other mental constructs (vrtti-s and kleśa-s). Your commitment to a particular direction should be made from the Heart not the head. The length of time that you stay committed to the direction also should come from this state of Presence, that state called Yoga. Beware of mind games that keep throwing new exciting directions your way. Use discipline (tapas) to keep on track without becoming rigid or unwilling to change direction if your Self-reflection (Sva-dhyaya) tells you need to do so (see YS II-1 on Kriya Yoga, how to make any action into Yoga).

Yoga is a great secret. The ancient Yoga tradition says not to teach just anyone. Such teachers say, “I have tested you, and only NOW you are ready for this study of Yoga.” If you give this knowledge to the wrong student, it can be misused. It can be used to injure others. As teachers, make sure the students want to learn to help not harm. Classically, students were put through many character tests. My teacher, DV Sridhar says, however, that the only prerequisite is that a student have śraddha (trust, enthusiasm, faith, YS I-20). It is the responsibility of the student to take the first step towards the teacher, but afterwards, it is the teacher’s responsibility to fan the flames of śraddha.

An Opening Prayer

Sat, 08/10/2013 - 22:05 -- admin

I-1 Atha-yogānuśāsanam Now, let’s start our study of Yoga as it has been practiced, experienced, applied, and only then passed down from teacher to student throughout the centuries. May it be an auspicious beginning for the benefit of all future generations of Yogi-s.

Atha Atha creates an auspicious atmosphere for a new beginning. Something significant is going to happen. You have passed through the prerequisite to this new beginning, and now are ready to move on to something new. You are going to transform so get ready!

Nothing starts without a prayer in India, so Patanjali’s YS are no different. Instead of OM, however, here he uses Atha, which is non-religious and thus, for everyone - theists, atheists, and agnostics alike.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are you committed to?

Sat, 08/03/2013 - 19:29 -- admin

Patanjali Statue Yoga SutrasEvery Sunday, Maggie Reagh will present a month-long series of blog posts on one of Patanjali’s key Yoga Sutra-s (YS), encouraging you to reflect on how it relates to your current life situation through a Yoga Sutra Journal Question.

The sacredness of Sun (Surya)-day, the day that the Sun is honoured in many cultures, is a brilliant day to do Sva-dhyaya (Self-reflection) through the vehicle of the YS, which like koans, can break your head open, revealing the wisdom of your inherent shining Heart.

Maggie honours her great Yoga-acharya, DV Sridhar of Yoga Rakṣanam, Chennai, India for teaching her the YS for more than 10 years. This blog is dedicated to him and her other teachers with great gratitude.

We start our exploration with the first sutra of the first chapter of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra-s, Sāmadhi Pādaḥ, The Path to an Enlightened Heart.

I-1 Atha-yogānuśāsanam Now, let’s start our study of Yoga as it has been practiced, experienced, and applied, only then being passed down from teacher to student throughout the centuries. May it be an auspicious beginning for the benefit of all future generations of Yogi-s.

Yoga Sutra Journal Question

What are you committed to? What are your long term goals? What are the benefits or pitfalls of being committed to pursuing those goals? Are they coming from your head or Heart? Do you struggle with sticking to one thing for a long time, jumping from one experience to another OR do you commit and go in deeply through the ups and downs of each long term experience?

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