For Sakhaiva

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For Sakhaiva

Post by maya3 on Wed Apr 29, 2009 5:06 pm

Sakhaiva,
Do you remember our discussion on Beliefcorner about meditation?

I have kept my own prayers but incorporated deep breathing and then alternate nostril breathing before mediation, plus I hold my hands in a different mudra.

WOW, it's made an enormous difference. It's really unbelievable. Incredible actually.

I cannot do Durga Swasa breathing regularly I have noticed because I have a strained muscle in my back/diaphragm from my bike riding.
Do you have any suggestions for an alternative? I've done a couple of deep breaths instead.

Maya
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Re: For Sakhaiva

Post by Sakhaiva on Thu Apr 30, 2009 9:19 pm

Hi Maya - yes I remember our conversation and I'm pleased the new practice is working well with you!

By Durga Swasa do you mean the three part breath? How are you trying to do this exercise? I'm wondering if you are applying too much force for your body right now (in which case I'd suggest you do the practice gently until your body heals)

I'd also wonder if you are exhaling too quickly - so much is in a slow, quiet, controlled exhale. Same with Nadi Shodhana (my favorite) Kamalesh, my pranayama teacher, used to say to imagine a feather under your nose, and you are trying not to move it.

The last thing that comes to mind has to do with applying the locks (tri-bandha specifically) Sometimes we apply them without realizing it, which will alter the prana. I'm no expert; these are just things that popped into my head as I read your post.

Smile

I'd love to hear more about what you're doing and how it's working when you have the chance.

~Sakha
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Re: For Sakhaiva

Post by maya3 on Sun May 03, 2009 8:45 pm

Sakha,
Sorry, I meant kapali bati sorry about that. I realized it almost as soon as I sent it but by then I was already on my way to the Ashram where I've spent a long weekend so I did not have access to a computer.

Actually I was thinking that maybe I could do three part breath instead of kapali bati?

Maya
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Re: For Sakhaiva

Post by Sakhaiva on Mon May 04, 2009 3:42 pm

Oh kapalabhati - skull shining breath. Gotcha

Though I'm not familiar with what it is your Ashram is trying to teach (the intent and such) I'll do my best and share what I have been taught by Babaji as it may help.

I currently only practice Kapalabhati as part of a group of pranayama with the intent of cleansing energy. I'm wondering if you are doing a different breath, or are perhaps using too much force (?)

Kapalabhati is a chest breath, as I've been taught, not a belly breath (it gets confused with 'breath of fire' which is a belly breath and from another tradition from my own) It is a subtle practice and should not be done with a great deal of 'force' So it shouldn't tweak your abs much. It could if there is lots of force, but there doesn't need to be.

I do it after nadi shodhana, which balances the lunar and solar nadis. Kapalabhati will then bring the balanced energy upwards.
Ignore the inhale as it will happen on its own.

The exhale is like a quick/light out sniff. Keep it light ... like a 'happy puppy' while you do it, imagine something like a light upward tapping that happens with every exhale... an upward tapping at the top of the spine (deep inside the sinus cavity) Always let the focus be on that upward tapping. There will be some sound when the air is pushed out, but it's not overbearing or terribly loud. Just a light 'out-sniff' is all it is.

Keeping it light and effortless and maintaining a 'chest breath' should avoid tweaking your ab/ta. I'd also limit it to 2 sets of as many exhales you can do... like 2 sets of 30 or something. The tempo should be one where it can be easily maintained - so not too slow and not so fast.

Is this how you do Kapalabhati? I'd be curious to compare, and also curious to see if a lighter approach helps.

All that being said ... if even this way of Kapalabhati causes pain, then I'd say just do Nadi Shodhana until you fully heal. Even the three part breath will rely upon the diaphragm to push the organs down and out of the way of the lungs, which could aggravate things.

Isn't it beyond frustrating when the body has an injury! Especially the white areas (the places that don't receive ample blood flow)

((((Maya)))) Here's to quick healing.
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Re: For Sakhaiva

Post by maya3 on Mon May 04, 2009 7:34 pm

Sakha,
Thank you for your explanation and for taking all this time to write it.
Yes it does sound like it is the same thing that we do, I bet I do it with too much force.
My muscle pain most likely comes from being a little twisted in my body and from leaning too forward on my bike. I have to try to get better a bike posture.

Maybe I should just do the alternate nostril breathing instead.

I really do not know why they teach the breathing at the local ashram/yoga studio. I should ask, I'm not that involved with them as I am with my regular ashram where I went this weekend. I assume it is to help you focus on the meditation.
They do the skull shining breath before alternate nostril breathing and then silent meditation.

Thank you again,

Maya
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Re: For Sakhaiva

Post by Sakhaiva on Tue May 05, 2009 4:13 pm

Isn't it amazing what little thing it takes to tweak the body? You have my empathy; do play around with your bike as just a tiny adjustment may be all you need to avoid pain.

It seems sorta odd to me to do kapalabhati before nadi shodhana as the nadi shodhana's intent is to balance the ida and pingala nadis so you can bring the energy up shushumna... which is what kapalabhati works towards. But that doesn't mean I think they are doing something wrong, it's just different Very Happy You've given me the opportunity to dig into Subtle Body theory Maya, how totally cool is that?

Underneath all the physical (gross) level and mind stuff lay the subtle body. eg, in Hatha yoga, the sun and moon references have to do with the the Ida and Pingala Nadis ... but most people simply think of the sun and the moon as 'opposites as in heating/cooling, things like that. Yoga with all it's many limbs, at it's deepest level, is all about subtle body. Our practice starts gross and becomes more and more subtle as we grow in our practice.

In any case, I'd ask them about the intent of the practices, not to correct of course but to understand and add to your current practice.
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Re: For Sakhaiva

Post by maya3 on Wed May 06, 2009 7:43 am

Sakha,

It's interesting that you think it's odd that they do the kapalabhati before nadi shodana, because like I was telling you over on the other site, there is something that does not sit 100% right with me at this place. I cannot put my finger on it, everyone is nice. They have a beautiful space, an excellent hatha yoga program, lots of nice community events, but you know it is slightly cultish. Just slightly.
I'm already as converted as you can be, I believe in this 100 procent, so I shouldn't feel that I'm being coersed. They don't coerse but there is something very subtle that is a little cultish.
Wheareas at my own ashram, I feel 100% at home. I love it there and has from the very beginning. It's an absolutely magical place.

That said, it has been really helpful to use the techniques that they teach at the local place, it's really made a difference.

When I spoke to one meditation teacher about blending my own practice with theirs, she said that it is considered auspicious to do the nadi shodana right before meditation as it balances the nadis.

Maya
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Re: For Sakhaiva

Post by Sakhaiva on Wed May 06, 2009 8:49 pm

I'm really glad the new practice is adding to your life; that's wonderful to hear!

Nadi Shodhana is a fantastic pranayama, and gentle enough that anyone can do it. Great payoff too Smile

Maya, what tradition are your Ashrams? MMC is based upon teachings from the Vairagi Vaishnava tradition which, I think, is North Indian. Vaishnavism centers on Vishnu and his incarnates (namely Ram in this case) I am not very well educated in Hinduism and am only just beginning to be able to wrap my mind around bits here and there.

Hope you had a fantastic day Maya

~Sakha
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Re: For Sakhaiva

Post by maya3 on Thu May 07, 2009 10:09 am

My "own" ashram was founded by Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati.
He was unusual as an enlightened man because he was also a brilliant scholar, a scientist, surgeon, psychiatry, ophthalmology and Sanskrit. Our ashram is more a place of study and does not focus too much on rituals and traditions.
But we have regular meditations twice a day with fire ceremony and there is hatha yoga too.
It is an absolutely amazing place. It's a very creative and joyful place, we have a theatre, a music school, a dance school a yoga school. Then there is the food, it's outstanding and amazing. You could stay there JUST to eat.

The other one in the city is founded by Swami Satchinananda.
It's nice and they offer a lot of wonderful things there. They have a little more of a disciplined approach to yoga and meditation and to certain traditions.

I will look into your tradition too, it's always interesting to learn about other traditions.

You seem to me that you know a lot! Smile

Maya
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Re: For Sakhaiva

Post by Sakhaiva on Thu May 07, 2009 2:59 pm

I want to visit your Ashram - being rather like a Hobbit, I'd start with eating Smile It all sounds beautiful Maya and I can see why you love it.


Ohhhh Integral Yoga! I came very close to being certified through an Integral Yoga Therapy school; my own Yoga teacher from LA suggested it. It seems like a lovely approach! Same with Ananda (which is another approach I considered)

Mount Madonna is classical Raja Yoga. They are dualist and there if it's not in the scriptures, then it isn't part of the practice. I wish I could be more involved; I'd love to live there and really be a part of the Hanuman Fellowship.... I love the sound of the temple bells echoing across the mountain top at dawn.

The place is a bit hippie but hey, it's near Santa Cruz.

There isn't much about Baba Hari Dass online.... compared to other gurus, he's kept an extremely low profile I think. Ram Dass wrote about him in his book 'Be Here Now' as he studied with Babaji. In any case, here is some film of Babaji from the 70's; it shows Surya Namaskara and hand mudras (after volleyball of course) http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7462941254294369736


I know just enough to know I know very little ... trying to understand the history and culture of India is like teasing apart a thousand fine chains wound into a massive knot. Just when you think you've unraveled a portion, it's still connected to something else.

(((Namaste))))
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Re: For Sakhaiva

Post by maya3 on Fri May 08, 2009 8:47 am

Shocked Trying to understand India can be very confusing.

What made you decide not to go with the Integral certification?

How did you hear about Ananda? You mentioned that you considered them also.

I think I have heard about the Hanuman mandir somewhere. Isn't it a western couple who started it?
I've read about it somewhere, I cannot think of where.

Namaste
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Re: For Sakhaiva

Post by Sakhaiva on Mon May 11, 2009 5:32 pm

I considered many paths and in the end, price and schedule had as much to do with my decision as anything else.

I wanted a solid classical training based upon the teachings through an authentic Guru. I move to practices like Ananda and IYT as they are more authentic... not the 'gym' mentality.

MMC is not too far from where I live and it's not too expensive. They had a modular program that I could put in my life without feeling like I had ditched my kids. I liked that Baba Hari Dass had lived as a silent monk in India and that he didn't promote himself. Actually, it was an amazing chain of events that drew him to America. Eventually, people set up a community around what he offered and yoga training grew out of that.

I liked how Babaji's teachings can be found in the various scriptures (Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Yoga Sutras etc) and find the practices the same today as they were written years past. Joseph and Lilian LePage, from IYT, seem to be grounded in scriptures as well... and they were recommended to me by my Yoga teacher from LA. The California classes were actually held at Mount Madonna, making them close, but it was more expensive. And it didn't feel as 'authentic' since it didn't come direct from a person who really lived as you'ld imagine a yogi to live. But that doesn't mean I think less of it as IYT offers a really solid program and I've heard they are really lovely people to know.

The Ananda YTT in California is in Nevada City; Expanding Light. It looked beautiful and authentic as well. Like MMC, it offered an Ayurvedic school as well as Yoga... but it's more expensive than MMC. Also, I knew a person who also went to MMC... so in the very end, I applied there.

It's interesting how things work out. I'm hoping to take classes with other teachers to expand my mind. Expanding is good, right?

Hope you are having a great day
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Re: For Sakhaiva

Post by maya3 on Mon May 11, 2009 10:26 pm

Sakha,
I know what you mean about having a guru that does not promote himself.
It's one of the things that I don't love with Integral, they have a lot of yoga centers, health food stores, vitamin stores and a huge ashram in Virginia. I don't know, there is really nothing wrong with those things but my own ashram is a very small place and there is only one more sister ashram, it's in California actually, in San Fransisco.
It feels a little too business like.
My Ananda and the one in Nevada is not the same (not sure if you thought that, probably not). The Nevada one looks really nice too!
I know what you mean about the gym mentality, a lot of people do yoga to get skinny and flexible and nothing else.

Maya
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Re: For Sakhaiva

Post by Sakhaiva on Tue May 12, 2009 6:19 pm

Maya:

I've not yet asked you, how was it that you came to find your path? You have a devotion that is just beautiful. San Francisco is close enough for me to visit your sister Ashram! It looks lovely and the prices for their YTT seem very good! I wonder is Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati ever met Babaji. You see how my mind works? I'm very sentimental Smile

I was thinking the Nevada City yoga studio was of the same family as your Ashram so I'm glad you corrected me.
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Re: For Sakhaiva

Post by maya3 on Tue May 12, 2009 9:20 pm

Oh that is excellent that it is not far from you. Please tell me if you visit, I have never been there, I'm really curious to see how it is.
I know that Dr Sharma is wonderful, he is a Sanskrit scholar at the San Fransisco Ashram and he comes to our ashram every summer.

I found this path when I went to an absolutely amazing yoga studio called Rasa yoga in NYC. It was a wonderful, wonderful place. A deeply spiritual and unusual practice and my teacher suggested that I should try Ananda. Since then I've been stuck.


How about you?

Shri Brahmanandas guru's name was Baba Bhagavandas, so it's almost the same.
Would not be surprised if they have met. Apperantly guruji had lots of visitors from other spiritual teachers during his time, expecially in the early times of the ashram.

You mentioned you have children. Do you teach them this path also?

Maya
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Re: For Sakhaiva

Post by Sakhaiva on Wed May 13, 2009 2:23 pm

Right now I offer the practice and teaching to my children in a very subtle way. They practice Yoga asana with me at home, are familiar with meditation and the wonderful stories. We'll spend time at the Self Realization Fellowship in LA walking around the lake and I use the yamas and niyamas as a code of ethics.

So I do teach them this path, but in a gentle and open sort of way.

I fell in love with Yoga years ago, and being very curious about where things come, it didn't take long for me to read scriptures. But it took me a very long time to get some of the meanings through my head... for a long time I really struggled with the Sanskrit. Even when I took YTT and we had our Sanskrit classes, Subtle body and Samkhya... my brain was about to make it's escape from my head - I was overwhelmed. But one day, something changed and I began to understand just a little.

I'll let you know when I make it to your Sister Ashram
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Re: For Sakhaiva

Post by maya3 on Wed May 13, 2009 3:07 pm

I think that sounds like a great way to teach your kids.
It's ethical but you are not pushing any dogma. I think that is the way I would do it too if I had kids.
Sanskrit is really hard, the teachers at Ananda claim it's really easy but I think it's really hard. Very beautiful but hard.

Talking again about "commercial" gurus. I found a Deepak Chopra book on the street: The book of Secrets. I just started it, it's actually very, very good.
I hadn't expected it. I realize I've been biased since he is so famous, but he seems to really get it.

Maya
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