Friday, January 24, 2014

Sutra III.9-Silence is Golden

The last few weeks I have started to prepare for my Junior 1 assessment in the Iyengar method.  I have friends who teach in other methods who practice other methods and they may ask why I do these tests, these assessments. Why does a yoga method even have tests?  It seems to go against yoga as a whole, being judged, being told if you are a good teacher or not, being tested to see if you have really studied the sutras.  This is not my first rodeo in the assessment arena.

In 2008 I began the Iyengar Teacher Training in Denver. In 2009 I thought I was ready to take the Intro I exam,  on the way to Boulder for the actual test, I was rear ended at 60 mph and was not able to go to the Friday portion. For some reason, I thought (my ego)it was a good idea to try to do the teaching skills, with a concussion, whiplash, and severe anxiety. I did it, I failed. I took this as a sign, I took the rest of 2009 and 2010 off and got married, enjoyed life a little and came back in 2011 & 2012 to do Intro I and II and pass.  It was not really until that time that I realized how I had not really been listening at all.  To my body, my teachers, and most importantly to the quiet in betweens of my thoughts.

For Junior I, the required Sutras are all of Pada I, II, and half of III. In the study group I am in we are starting with Pada III since it seems to be the most esoteric in nature, hardest to understand without some discussion.  It took me a couple weeks after meeting with them to really get this sutra.

Sutra III.9
Study the silent moments between rising and restraining subliminal impressions is the transformation of consciousness towards restraint.

Transformation by restraint of consciousness is achieved by study of the silent moments that occur between the rising of impressions and our impulse to restrain them,  and between the restraining impulse and the resurgence of thought.

-BKS Iyengar Light on the Yoga Sutras-

To me this sutra defines what most of us go through on a daily basis.  We let our thoughts and the samskaras (past impressions left on our mind by an experience) take a hold and push us around.  In yoga we talk about cutting ourselves off from external objects, or pratyahara, things like sounds, smells, pain in our bodies, other people, but as we delve deeper into ourselves, it is so much more.  We all have inner pain, things that make us do things that we think we have no control over.

We are intrinsically designed to have the samskaras, but can we begin to change our reactions as these come up?

I will use my fear of Volleyball as an example.  From such a young age I have really hated volleyball. I am not only scared of the ball itself, getting a jammed finger or hitting me in the face (it really happened!) But I am scared of getting yelled at, letting team mates down, having someone tell me that they wished I had not been on there team because I really suck, (it also happened). So pretty much whenever I am walking my dogs at the park near my house and I see that sea of volleyball nets and people laughing and having fun, my body and mind seize up. I almost loose control of my thoughts at that moment just from the fear of getting hit and yelled at. Even when people just talk about it, saying, "Hey that would be fun, let's get a team together..." I just think to myself, "They are crazy, volleyball is so dangerous, no way people..."

If I would just listen to the quiet in betweens of these thoughts......listen to what I am really thinking.
"OH that might be fun if someone taught me how to play, it might be fun to come out with the dogs on a nice day, get some exercise,  those people look so happy, they are having fun, maybe I could really have fun if I gave it another try..." These are my in betweens, the silent parts of my brain that until recently stayed very quiet.  If I would just stop these negative thoughts, stayed still for more than a minute, I may have some good thoughts towards volleyball, skydiving, kickball, or anything else I am totally freaked out by.

Why again do I keep on doing these assessments, these things that make me nervous, doubt myself?  I do these assessments not to gain a title.  I do them to push my own boundaries of what I can learn, I do them to open my mind to new thoughts, teachings, and ways to do things.  They make you really look at yourself, look at your actions, your words, and more than anything, to enjoy these moments where the mind is still, or still-er,  where you can actually connect to your body and mind.

*Today take a few minutes and sit still. Each time you do this, do it a little longer. No noise, no people around you. No phone, no computer. Listen, really listen. What thoughts come up for you?  What emotion is brought up from those thoughts? Now, can you let go of that emotion, good or bad,  for a moment and just be?

Guruji says that "Just as one feels refreshed after a sound sleep, the seer's consciousness is refreshed as he utilizes this prolonged pause for rejuvenation and recuperation. But at first, it is difficult to educate the consciousness to restrain each rising thought. ......To transform the consciousness into a pure sattvic state (light-pure radiant light) of dynamic salience, we must learn by repeated effort to prolong the intermissions. If no impressions are allowed to intervene, the consciousness will remain fresh and rest in its own abode." -Light on the Yoga Sutras-


Saturday, January 18, 2014

My mind is radically open-actually it is percolating!

Happy New Year in mid-January!

This weekend we have senior teacher Carolyn Belko at the studio.  She is not only pushing our boundaries, but teaching us to do something different in the asana practice. She is asking us to let go of the 22 points we all know about Trikonasana and saying to feel the pose, let it percolate within you.  Very Prashant in a tiny lady body.

Last nights sequence was right out of one of those Pune classes I am sure.  It was crazy.  We did handstand at 3 intervals,  did twists,  parighasana, ustrasana,  anatasana, chaturanga.  I really thought my arms were going to fail me, but the did not.  I really thought I was going to sweat so much I would fall out of Sirsasana, I almost did, but caught myself. 

She is encouraging, firm, and can see everything.  Maybe in another life she was an Iyengar:-)

Till this afternoon.........