Keep practice…

A yoga student was very excited coming into headstand after practicing regularly and told his teacher, “Teacher, I can stand on my head now!”

The teacher asked him, “Are you now free from anger, desires and worries?”

The student answered, “Not really…”

The teacher compassionately said to him, “Keep practice…”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This is reflecting about peace, desire-less, compassion and wisdom is nothing to do with whether we can stand on our head or not, or whether we are able to do and achieve what we want to do and achieve or not…

“Keep practice” also doesn’t necessary mean keep practicing the asana poses until we manage to perform the asana poses, or we can hold the poses longer than before, but what it really means is, keep practicing non-identification and non-attachment, and even after we devote lots of time, efforts and energy into our yoga asana practice, we are not attached to the efforts nor the fruit of the efforts…

What’s the point if we are now able to perform the asana poses that we were not able to perform in the past, but we are not free from continue being disturbed and conditioned by anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, ignorance, fear and worry that derive from attachment and identification with the body and mind?

When anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, ignorance, fear and worry are subjugated due to non-identification and non-attachment towards the body and mind, the yoga student doesn’t even need to announce that he is now free from impurities… So as yoga asana practice. The yoga asana practice is supposed to be rendering our mind calm and pure, to prepare the mind for meditation upon the Truth… It is not about how good we look and how good we feel in performing the asana poses… it is accepting the physical ability in the present moment now as it is, and knowing that even this condition and the ability of the physical body now whether it is in good or bad condition, it is impermanent… We do not identify with this impermanent condition and ability of the physical body to perform the yoga asana poses… There is nothing to be excited about when our body is able to perform certain asana poses after some practice, and there is nothing to be frustrated about when our body is not able to perform the asana poses even after a long time of practice…

After we are able to catch our feet with our hands in the sitting forward bend, we’ll ask, “What next?”

After we are able to balance on our hands in Bakasan or Kakasan, we’ll ask, “What next?”

After we are able to stand on our head and our hands in headstand and handstand, we’ll ask again, “What next?”

Then we try to stand on the head without hands support, and we’ll ask, “What next?”

Maybe we can try to invent more challenging poses then? Such like “one finger handstand” since many yoga teachers like to say that “everything is possible”, just need to keep practice… Kindly note that this physical body has its limitations and is conditioned by impermanence. We cannot force the body to go beyond its limitations or else we will be injuring the body, but what the sentence “everything is possible” means, we can go beyond the identification with the physical body and be free from being conditioned by the conditions and ability of the physical body, that we are not determined by this physical body, as we are not this body and this body is not us. It is just an instrument for us to realize this Truth…

This craving for “What next?” can keep going until the moment our body is not able to do any poses any more… Then we’ll start to realize that this ceaselessly chasing after the sense of achievement that come from being able to perform the asana poses, is not what we are looking for, after spending years and years in trying to perform all the yoga asana poses…

This voice that keep asking “What next?” is coming from the never satisfied nature of the mind…

That’s why even though if our physical body is capable to perform many complicated asana poses, it never bring us to real unconditional contentment, as we have wrong identification with the impermanent body and the dis-satisfactory mind… Always not satisfied, always wanting more and more, just like drug and alcohol abuse, one dose is not giving any effects anymore, we need double dose, and then triple dose, and so on….

As all these achievements in performing the asana poses are “dis-satisfactory” in its nature – impermanence”.

If during and after the yoga asana practice, whether we are able to perform the yoga asana poses or not, but we are not identified with the ability of the physical body in performing the asana poses, and there is no expectation whether our body will be more flexible and strong or not after the practice, nor expecting our body will be able to perform the asana poses much better in the next or future practice, nor expecting what are the benefits from performing the asana poses, nor expecting ourselves will be more peaceful and calm… But, allowing all the benefits, strength and flexibility, skills to perform the asana poses, peacefulness and calmness to come by itself naturally as it is, not because we are expecting any of these to happen the way that we want it to be, then this will bring us towards unconditional peace…

In traditional yoga class, the teacher doesn’t tell the students what are the benefits when they perform the asana poses, as yoga asana practice is supposed to help us in developing non-identification with the body and mind, and non-attachment towards our actions or efforts, not attaching to or not expecting for the fruit of our actions or efforts. And even if the students don’t know what are the benefits from doing the asana poses, the benefits will still be there as it is, it won’t disappear nor decrease…

The practice of intention-less which is the key to the practice of non-expectation and non-attachment, is to let go of any intentions, even if it is good intention… If there is a good intention, we attach to the idea of “we are doing something good”, and will “expect” someone will be benefited from this good intention, and “expect” something good in return… Attachment is there… We are not free yet.

This is to eliminate the craving habit of the egoistic mind of “I want something good… I don’t want something bad…”

And by practicing yoga asana together with the practice of non-attachment in the mental level, will definitely bring us towards freedom, or unconditional peace and real happiness that is not being conditioned by any qualities of names and forms…

This is the yoga practice while performing the asana poses or while trying to learn to perform the asana poses…

Able to accept the condition and the ability of the physical body in the present moment now as it is and allow the benefits to come and improvement to happen naturally as we practice regularly everyday few hours a day, without identification, attachment, judgment, comparison and expectation…

This is Karma Yoga being perform onto ourselves… Being kind and compassionate towards ourselves by bringing our body and mind to concentrating in a few hours of yoga asana practice daily… As all the yoga asana poses require huge amount of concentration in the present moment now, and this will not let the mind wanders into the past or the future within the time of practice, and there is no opportunity for the body and mind to get involve in immoral or unkind thoughts, actions and speech… During the time of practice, we are controlling and restricting our thoughts, actions and speech, and this is already benefiting the world by not committing any selfish, harmful or negative thoughts, actions and speech into the surrounding environment. This is being kind and compassionate towards the world…

Beside controlling and restricting the thoughts, actions and speech as our main practice by devoting our energy, effort and time into yoga practice as many hours as possible everyday in life, another main reason to perform all the yoga practices (Not limited to Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi, Kriyas, study of the scriptures, chanting and prayers, selfless service, developing divine qualities such like patience, perseverance, will-power, determination, courage, positive thinking, cheerfulness, generosity, truthfulness, straightforwardness, sexual energy conservation and channeling for spiritual realization, acceptance, adjustment, accommodation, adaptation, forgiveness, non-judgment, non-comparison, non-expectation, non-attachment, non-identification, letting go, and etc…) is to purifying, unblocking, balancing, conserving, generating, and channeling the energy fields in the body for spiritual realization or self-realization…

But all these practice has to work with letting go of desires and attachments that come from the ego… Such like, having the idea of “I am doing this practice, so that I will gain such and such benefits or achievements…” or “I am practicing “non-attachment”, so that I will be free from suffering and unhappiness…” It doesn’t bring us to peace…We can be performing all these yoga practices for many hours everyday for many years, but as long as we have attachment and identification with the doer of the actions and the enjoyer of the fruit of the action, we are not free and be restless being disturbed by what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think…

The body and the mind will be benefited in performing the yoga practice, but… Our true nature doesn’t need all these benefits to be what it is or to “make” it peaceful… It is unconditional peace… The mind needs the yoga practice to experience peace, but our true nature is always peaceful…

There is no “I”. There is no practice. There is no fruit of the practice. There is no “I” am doing the practice. There is no “I” will be enjoying the fruit of the practice…

The ego gets a momentary excitement and the sense of success or achievement when it gets the benefits or results as what it was expecting while performing any actions… And the ego gets disappointment and frustration and sense of failure when it doesn’t get the benefits or results as what it was expecting while performing any actions…

Such like, “I did a lot of yoga practice, and thus I am healthy, strong and flexible and I feel good…” or “I didn’t practice much or didn’t practice at all, and thus I am not so healthy, not strong and not flexible, and I don’t feel good…” As all these identification and expression is coming from the egoistic mind – the idea of “I” and all that “I” experience and all that “I” get and don’t get from “my” actions and inactions, good and bad actions… It is the mind feels good or doesn’t feel good… It is not us. We are just the observer or the witness being aware of what the mind is experiencing from moment to moment through the body with the functions of the sense organs and the senses, which is being conditioned by impermanence, the qualities of names and forms, thought patterns, actions and inactions, and speech…

So, whether our body can perform all the poses level by level or not, or our body cannot perform many of the yoga poses, it really doesn’t matter… As What the body capable to do and not capable to do, it is just the body… And the condition and ability of the physical body to do this or that, is nothing to do with the unconditional real peace that comes from our true nature…

A person who’s body cannot perform headstand or handstand can still be selfless, peaceful, wise and compassionate…

Some people ask, “Why some people can do all the “complicated” yoga poses and some people cannot do the “simplest” yoga poses?”

Simply it’s because whether their body can do or cannot do these poses… And through constant practice, their body will gain physical and mental strength, flexibility, stamina, confidence, faith and courage, and might be or will be able to perform some or all of the asana poses, simple or complicated… But whether their body can do or cannot do these poses, is nothing to do with whether they will be peaceful or not…

Another effect that comes from holding the body being in the yoga poses for a period of time, can help to influence the energy fields in the body effectively, either activating, stimulating, energizing or calming and balancing… And this will make the body and mind feel good during and after the practice, but again this is just the body and mind experiencing some impermanent conditional good feelings… And if the mind is rendered calm and still during or after the asana practice, that is the moment to meditate and contemplate on the Truth, and not lost in attachment towards that good feelings and pleasant effects of the asana practice…

And to render the mind calm and still doesn’t need to have a strong and flexible body to perform the most complicated asana poses, but just by performing some very simple poses that even a sick person with weak bones and muscles also can perform will give the same effects of calming and stilling the mind… It is through will-power and breath control…

People who are flexible and strong can be peaceful if they know non-identification and non-attachment… People who are inflexible and not strong can also be peaceful if they know non-identification and non-attachment…

People who are flexible and strong can be not peaceful if they don’t know non-identification and non-attachment… People who are inflexible and not strong can also be not peaceful if they don’t know non-identification and non-attachment…

At the end, no need to compare or compete with anybody in the yoga asana practice, as liberation or peace is not attain through comparison or competition… It is not like, “I am better than you in performing the asana poses, and I can do more asana poses than you can, and so, I should be more peaceful, selfless, wise and compassionate than you…”

This is the test – If now everything happened is all good and according to what we wished for, and so we are peaceful and happy… But if one day, we experience some “bad” things that we don’t want and don’t like in our life, and we will be disturbed or determined by it, and are not peaceful and not happy anymore, then know that we still need to keep practice…

Om shanti.

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