Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Why Study Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras?

An outline of their content and importance...

There are many paths claiming to lead to Self-realization, but one taught by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras excels in the training of the mind. Step-by-step the mind is examined scientifically down to its subtlest detail until it reaches a point of understanding itself. This is accomplished through engaging gradual exercises which produce great powers of concentration, contemplation and meditation. The mind then, collected and focused to a degree hardly imaginable before, gathers all its inherent powers into one point and demonstrates mastery over the physical universe.

Additionally and in accord with the worlds principle spiritual teachings, Patanjali offers a training of the moral/ethical nature, as well, this so that powers attained through one-pointed focus of the mind are not misused at the expense of others. Ahimsa (non-injury) is the first principle in this training, and it’s an all-inclusive precept directed not only toward other sentient beings but also toward oneself.

The Essence of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras (AKA; Raja Yoga)

In Sanskrit, Raja Yoga, literally means the kingly yoga, is the greatest contribution of Maharishi Patanjali. His descriptions of the levels of the mind often read like the most contemporary and enlightened schools of psychology. Just by reading the text the student will gain a certain clarity and objectivity in identifying the various processes of the mind.

Briefly, the four books (or chapters) of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras encompass the following subjects:

Book 1: Samadhi-Pada (Concentration) - Through various concentration and meditation practices, one may disentangle the mind from its constant “chattering”, removing obstacles and providing solutions, and the means to stabilize the mind. This chapter describes the different stages (or levels) of spiritual experiences available to the mind, as it ascends toward the attainment of the highest level of such experiences.

The 51 Sutras of Book 1 have been divided into 9 sections:

1. What is yoga? (1.1-1.4)
2. Witnessing and “Un-coloring” thoughts (interfering mental impressions) (1.5-1.11)
3. Practice and non-attachment (1.12-1.16)
4. Types of concentration (1.17-1.18)
5. Efforts and commitment (1.19-1.22)
6. Direct route through AUM (1.23-1.29)
7. Obstacles and solutions (1.30-1.32)
8. Stabilizing and clearing the mind (1.33-1.39)
9. Results of stabilizing the mind (1.40-1.51)

Book 2: Sadhana-Pada (Practices) - Chapter 2 outlines specific tools of attention that are used to systematically cut away the obstacles of the inner mental shield, obstacles that are blocking the light of the Self within. This includes the first 5 of the 8 rungs of yoga, known as Ashtanga yoga. Through proper training of the body and moral nature, one gradually purifies the personality of its idiosyncrasies so that it can become a vehicle capable of carrying the consciousness to higher and higher levels of spiritual experience.

The 55 sutras of Book 2 have been divided into 9 sections:

1. Minimizing gross coloring (2.1-2.9)
2. Dealing with subtle thoughts (2.10-2.11)
3. Breaking the alliance of karma (2.12-2.25)
4. The 8 rungs and discrimination (2.26-2.29)
5. Yamas and Niyamas, rungs #1 and 2 of 8 (2.30-2.34)
6. Benefits from Yamas and Niyamas (2.35-2.45)
7. Asana, rung #3 of 8 (2.46-2.48)
8. Pranayama, rung #4 of 8 (2.49-2.53)
9. Pratyahara, rung #5 of 8 (2.54-2.55)

Book 3: Vibhuti-Pada (Progressing) - Chapter 3 starts by presenting the last 3 of the 8 rungs of yoga, which are concentration, meditation, and samadhi, collectively known as samyama. The rest of the chapter explains how samyama is used as the finer tool to remove the subtler veils of ignorance. This constitutes the highest focusing power of the mind and the extraordinary supernormal powers which can be attained.

The 56 sutras of Book 3 have been divided into 9 sections:

1. Dharana, dhyana, and samadhi, rungs #6-8 of 8 (3.1-3.3)
2. Samyama is the finer tool (3.4-3.6)
3. Internal is seen to be external (3.7-3.8)
4. Witnessing subtle transitions (3.9-3.16)
5. Experiences from samyama (3.17-3.37)
6. What to do with experiences (3.38)
7. More from samyama (3.39-3.49)
8. Renunciation and liberation (3.50-3.52)
9. Higher discrimination (3.53-3.56)

Book 4: Kaivalya-Pada (Final Liberation) - Chapter 4 explains how the mind is constructed and veils the inner light of the Self. It describes how the yogi deals with the natural breaches in enlightenment, and how the primal building blocks of the mind resolve back into their cause, allowing final liberation. The ultimate goal of this Sutra is to experience the sublime state of complete freedom from the effects of the physical plane, while still living in the physical body.

The 34 sutras of Book 4 have been divided into 12 sections:

1. Means of attaining experience (4.1-4.3)
2. Emergence and mastery of mind (4.4-4.6)
3. Actions and karma (4.7-4.8)
4. Subconscious impressions (4.9-4.12)
5. Objects and the three gunas (4.13-4.14)
6. Mind perceiving objects (4.15-4.17)
7. Illumination of the mind (4.18-4.21)
8. Buddhi and liberation (4.22-4.26)
9. Breaches in enlightenment (4.27-4.28)
10. Perpetual enlightenment (4.29-4.30)
11. Knowables become few (4.31)
12. Gunas after liberation (4.32-4.34)

There are many paths or methods of attaining Yoga (Union with the Self). Five of the principle paths are:

1. Karma Yoga - The technique of remaining in touch with the spiritual worlds while engaged in the actions of daily life.
2. Jnana Yoga - Seeing and experiencing the light of the Spirit everywhere.
3. Bhakti Yoga - Devoted attention, service and love toward the One Life present everywhere.
4. Raja Yoga - Training of the mind to return to the pure and complete consciousness behind the intellectual and intuitive faculties.
5. Hatha Yoga - Training of the body and breathing processes, to achieve consciouness of the presence of Spirit in the cells of the physical body.

*Each individual Yoga student may be inclined by their temperament or abilities to emphasize one of these paths over the others, but they intermingle and overlap and, ideally, should all be present to some degree as limbs of a complete Yoga practice.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Did you know? Did you know that suffering is optional?

Suffering is an internal condition that is actually not at all related to external factors as generally believed. We are often convinced that the world around is the cause of our happiness (or suffering). This may be the greatest illusion of all and leading more people to bondage and suffering than any other.

When we observe that people who are the least comfortable on the inside, we see that they usually seek to acquire the most 'comforts' in their material life and as a result they are never satisfied or fulfilled. People with the most comfort on the inside require the least amount of 'comforts' in their material life since they are firmly established in the knowledge that nothing material, nothing external, can ever deliver a true sense of wellbeing because that wellbeing is an internally derived state!

With this realization comes great power and an extremely deep and unshakable peace.

“Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.”... Buddhist saying

Pain is unavoidable and we all experience pain in our lives. Ironically, our attempts to manage or control pain often turn it into suffering instead of type of relief. As a result we may choose to ignore the pain, but then we don’t learn anything from it and we continually repeat the same habits that create suffering.

We might experience pain in the form of depression or anxiety and perceive it as a solid, unchanging wall; when in reality it is full of gaps and moments of opportunity for freedom.

Rejecting our pain also leads to suffering because when we do that we make an enemy of our experience. Experience is just that and it is meant to be experienced. Rejecting experience (including our thoughts and feelings about it) is fruitless, deepening the conflict that we would like to eliminate from our lives.

Physical pain (including mental/emotional pain) may be effectively addressed by looking clearly, directly and impassionedly at what is actually happening, without rejecting it, clinging to it, ignoring it, or elaborating upon it. When we choose to do this, we will notice the true nature of pain as being transitory, mutable and impermanent. It is not solid and seamless. It appears and then dissipates over time, like all manifest phenomena .

By keeping an open mind we perceive
our situation clearly and accurately.

By keeping an open mind we perceive our situation clearly and accurately. By learning patience we may sit with it and observe without attempting to alter, judge or make any assumptions. We need to realize that we are never alone. Any pain or suffering we feel personally has also been felt by others. No one’s life is free from pain and of course everyone wishes to be free from pain and suffering. We all deserve compassion for we are all in this together.

Simply watching, observing our pain, without attempting to change it we will notice that it changes on its own. Practicing in this manner brings great comfort and reassurance. We notice that pain is no more permanent than anything else and that suffering doesn’t arise out of the pain but instead from our thoughts and feelings about it. Through this practice we will gain confidence in our ability to work with and through whatever might arise in the present moment.

As an old Buddhist expression goes; “If you can do something about it, no need to worry. If you can’t do anything about it, no need to worry.”

So focus on the power of observing what is, and letting go of the thoughts and feelings that tend to develop a storyline and you’ll see that the storyline supports the suffering and without it suffering disappears. One thing is certain, pain is sure to repeatedly come our way in this life. It is inevitable. But the good news is it is possible to choose whether or not we will turn our pain into suffering, or simply leave pain as it is, to arise and dissolve on its own, without our interference, elaboration or rejection. This is always our option, always!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Pope Frances - I like the new Pope!

I really like the new Pope! He seems to be a very humble and spiritual soul. I REALLY LOVE his reply below! "Carnival time is over!"

Minutes after the election result was declared in the Sistine Chapel, a Vatican official called the Master of Ceremonies offered to the new Pope the traditional papal red cape trimmed with ermine that his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI gladly wore on ceremonial occasions.

"No thank you, Monsignore," Pope Francis is reported to have replied. "You put it on instead. Carnival time is over!"

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Fred Busch Hot Power Yoga Teacher Training Colorado - Yoga Alliance Instructor Course

Hot Power Yoga Teacher Training Colorado - Yoga Alliance Instructor Course in Rocky Mountains

Congratulations to Adrienne Michele and Molly Devins Nolan who passed their practical exams with flying colors yesterday! So professional!  Such Yogis!

Due to the amazing success of our first Salamadhi Fred Busch Hot Power Yoga Teacher Training we have decided to host two more this year in Colorado.

May 31st - June 16th 2013
October 11th - October 27th 2013

Two new dates for Fred Busch Hot Power Yoga at Salamadhi Ranch!  These are 17 Day Full Time Residential Programs that include lifestyle, dietary, yoga, meditation, pranayama, karma yoga, and real experience teaching public students DURING your training!

Program includes Tuition, Food and Lodging
$3950 - Yoga Alliance 200/500

any questions email me fredb@miamiyoga.com

Fred Busch Hot Power Yoga Teacher Trainings are offered internationally in Miami, New York, London,  Colorado, Lima, Bogota, Malta

Yoga Teacher Training Colorado at Salamadhi Ranch