The world of yoga

People asked us how come we don’t run/teach yoga classes and teachers training courses?

Yoga practice is about taming/quieting the restless mind to free the mind from suffering of restlessness and impurities derived from ignorance and egoism by realizing selflessness (birthlessness, deathlessness, attributelessness, namelessness, formlessness) through the practice of dispassion, renunciation, silence, self-inquiry, concentration, meditation, non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment, non-comparison and non-expectation that require a high degree of open-mindedness, right discrimination, intense yearning for liberation, will-power, perseverance, independence, self-control and discipline.

After one learned about the teachings and practice from someone who has direct experience of the teachings and practice, one implements these teachings and practice in everyday life, to free the mind from ignorance and egoism, which is nothing to do with attending regular ‘yoga classes’ or attending ‘yoga teachers training course’ to become ‘certified professional yoga teacher’ to teach/conduct ‘yoga classes’.

Most people don’t really interested to learn and practice yoga when they are interested in joining ‘yoga classes’, as they wouldn’t/couldn’t let go the thinking and belief which they think and believe is who they are (the main hindrance towards the realization of selflessness.) They just want to do some physical exercises to keep fit and be healthy, to feel good and look good. And it’s nothing wrong. Everyone has the freedom for what they want and don’t want, and what they think and believe.

Most ‘yoga classes’ are existing mostly as one of the healthy leisure activities for health and fitness enhancement by doing some yoga asana, relaxation and breathing exercises, just like any other personal/group fitness training exercise classes, which is a very healthy activity. It’s very good that people would love to do some form of physical exercise regularly for maintaining good health and vitality to enjoy a higher quality of life. And some highly talented people even transformed yoga asana practice into amazing acrobatic performance, it’s very inspiring for people to take up some physical fitness training to look good and feel good, and not spending time and energy in unhealthy/unwholesome activities.

The initial objective of ‘teachers training courses’ is about oneself learning and practicing the teachings of yoga to purify one’s mind, to awaken/realize the teacher within to become one’s own teacher, to discipline one’s mind to be free from ignorance and egoism. It’s not about training people who are interested in ‘teaching yoga classes’ or ‘running yoga courses’ to become ‘certified professional yoga teachers’ and issue/authorize them with ‘recognized certification’ to conduct yoga courses/teach yoga classes according to the different types of teaching style from different types of yoga school. It’s training one’s own mind to be it’s own teacher. Upon self-realization of yoga/oneness/selflessness, one might or might not share the direct experience with others.

‘Yoga retreats’ are also being ‘transformed’ into self-pampering/indulgence of the senses getaway that empowers the egoistic desires of carving and aversion, or being ‘transformed’ into ‘mystical healing’ camp. Even so, it’s neither right nor wrong. That is what most minds like and desire. It really doesn’t matter. In the end, yoga is still what it is, whether people are learning and practicing and teaching yoga as it is, or not. The truth won’t be affected/contaminated by any add-on/take-out elements, although the creative worldly minded can transform the teachings and practice of yoga into something that they prefer.

Most of the serious yoga practitioners don’t really run/teach ‘yoga classes’, or ‘yoga courses’, or ‘yoga teachers training courses’ although they might be teaching yoga to many others. Sharing the teachings and practice of yoga with others doesn’t necessarily has to be in the form of conducting yoga classes/courses/retreats. Some might have been teaching ‘yoga classes’ in the beginning, but after some time, they renounced the worldly social life and activities to concentrate on their own practice, upon realization that renunciation from worldly affair/interaction/activities/relationships is the greatest compassion towards oneself and all beings. Everyone is responsible for their own practice to look after their own mind, to discipline/quiet/purify their own mind, to deal with the consequences of their own ignorance, to become their own teacher, to free their own mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities via their own effort.

Meanwhile, ‘yoga teachers training courses’ are no longer about learning and practicing yoga to become one’s own teacher to be self-independent, to perform self-inquiry, to silent/annihilate the mind to attain self-realization, but the identity and qualification of a ‘yoga teacher’/recognition/authorization/certifications/association/commercial value/career value are the drive for conducting/participating yoga teachers training courses.

This is the world of yoga, and there’s nothing wrong or bad with it.

Many people think that they like and love yoga, but not really. When come to serious yoga practice, most people would turn away or justify that it is not yoga (the way that they think it should be.) And there’s nothing wrong, as all minds take their own pace and own path to evolve and realize.

In the silent meditation retreat that doesn’t charge any fees (donate as you like, or even nothing), quite many people would want to runaway or quit after a few days observing silence, for not being able to talk to other people, can’t have physical/eye contact with other people, not able to express as they like, can’t do what they usually like to do, can’t eat what they usually like to eat, no stimulating entertainment for the mind, sleeping on hard bed in basic accommodation, and they have to sit for meditation for more than 10 hours a day, while lots of physical/mental/emotional discomforts arise and random thoughts bubbling up to the surface of the mind. Some people would stay until the retreat finishes, but they don’t really observe silence throughout the entire retreat, such like they are still talking/whispering/making signs/interacting with their friends and keeping their phones with them, even though it’s not allowed. But, there’s nothing wrong with that either, as it’s how most worldly minds would behave, out of loneliness, boredom and meaninglessness derived from being refrained from their usual worldly stimulation/activities.

Most minds would ‘cheat’ to be comfortable and not to be uncomfortable. It’s not about what’s right and what’s wrong. And it’s not about how good is one’s yoga practice and meditation experience, but it’s the ability to confront/deal with all the things that the mind doesn’t familiar with, doesn’t like and doesn’t agree with, while not coming in contact with the things that the mind familiars with, likes and agrees with, being free from craving and aversion, be able to forbear difficulties and unpleasantness equanimously, and free the mind from restlessness/impurities out of ignorance and egoism, that matters most.

The mind won’t evolve/progress and keeps running round and round in the loop of worldly ideas/thinking/belief, if it keeps swaying in between craving and aversion, running away from difficulties and unpleasantness and what it doesn’t like (the mind perception of the qualities of bad, negative, wrong, meaninglessness and unhappiness,) and chasing after what it likes and desires (the mind perception of the qualities of good, positive, right, meaningfulness and happiness,) even after many years of attending ‘yoga classes’ and ‘yoga retreats’ or doing yoga asana and breathing exercises regularly, or possessed many ‘yoga certifications’ and given ‘yoga classes’ to many people.

Be free.

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Getting the benefits of doing yoga exercises regularly but didn’t eliminate ignorance, egoism and impurities?

What it’s like if we are getting many health and fitness benefits from doing the yoga exercises regularly, but we didn’t eliminate ignorance, egoism and impurities?

It’s like a beautiful garden with lots of nice fragrant flowers blooming and filling the air with really nice fragrance, but there were also smells of cat shits/pees and decapitated rotting dead body parts of birds and frogs that the cats killed for fun and left behind in the garden here and there.

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to do with that.

Some say, “It’s okay. I love cats. I don’t mind the smells of cat shits/pees and decapitated rotting dead body parts of birds and frogs that the cats killed for fun. I can still smelling the fragrance of the flowers. The nice fragrance of the flowers can ‘sort of’ cover those smells. I don’t need to do anything.” That’s their choice of freedom.

Some say, “The nice fragrance of the flowers don’t really cover or remove the smells of cat shits/pees and rotting dead body parts of the birds and frogs killed by the cats and being left behind in the garden. The air is filled with the mixture of the fragrance from the flowers and the smells from the consequences of cats’ behavior. The fragrance of the flowers is no longer a nice fragrant, but it’s contaminated by the smells of the consequences left behind by the cats. What is there to be enjoying about? I have to clean up all these existing cat shits, wash away the pees, and take away all the dead body parts of birds and frogs, and then I’ll do my best to keep the cats away as much as possible. Then I can truly enjoy the nice pure fragrance of the flowers in the garden.” This is similar to the essential purification process of performing the yoga practice.

It’s not so much about attaining and accumulating the benefits of the yoga exercises, and making the body and mind feels good momentarily after doing the yoga exercises, or accumulating virtues and merits by doing lots of ‘good actions’, but more important, is to clean up the ceaseless generation and accumulation of ‘rubbish’ in the mind – The annihilation of ignorance, egoism and impurities.

Huge amount of accumulated virtues and merits are nothing if ignorance, egoism and impurities are ceaselessly ‘occupying’ and ‘contaminating’ the mind.

Be free.

 

The basic teachings and practice of yoga vedanta

  • Let go the worldly/personal identification with the body and mind as ‘I’. The body and mind is not me, I am not the body or the mind.
  • Free the mind from pride and arrogance, superiority or inferiority towards any quality of names and forms that the mind identifying with as ‘I’ and ‘mine’. One’s thinking, belief, culture, education, religion, spirituality, gender, nationality, profession, knowledge, talents, skills, ideas, ability, achievement, family, relationship, friendship, marital status, social status, contribution, experiences, and etc. All these names and forms are not me, I am not all these names and forms.
  • Allow the mind to be opened towards what it knows and doesn’t know, do not blind-believe or blind-disbelieve. Undetermined or undisturbed by what the mind disagrees with, dislikes or doesn’t want.
  • Unattached towards any ideas, thinking and belief, including the existing ideas, information, thinking and belief in the mind coming from somewhere and everywhere.
  • Inquire the truth of everything, including all the teachings of yoga coming from different teachers or Gurus and reading books as well as all the existing worldly/social/cultural/religious thinking and belief in the mind that influence how the mind thinks, judges, acts and reacts.
  • Inquire what is this ‘I’, what is the ego and egoism.
  • Inquire what is suffering and the cause of suffering.
  • Unattached towards the physical body, the appearance, the physical health and fitness condition, the pleasantness and unpleasantness, the limitation, the ability and disability, the achievement and the impermanent changes.
  • Unattached towards the function of the mind, the state of the mind, the thinking, the belief, the thought activities, the mind perception of names and forms through the senses, the feelings and emotions, the known and unknown, the likes and dislikes, the agreements and disagreements, the desirable and undesirable.
  • Free the mind from the past memories and future imaginations. Train the mind to stay in the present as much as possible, effortlessly, gently, patiently, via persist practice without force.
  • Free the mind from craving and aversion.
  • Free the mind from judgment, comparison and expectation towards oneself and others.
  • Inquire what is the mind and what is going on in the mind.
  • Inquire the truth of ‘hurts’, ‘unhappiness’, ‘grief’, ‘painful sorrow’, ‘dissatisfaction’, ‘frustration’, ‘irritation’, ‘disappointment’, ‘anger’, ‘hatred’, ‘low self-esteem/low confidence’, ‘guilt’, ‘regret’, and all kind of impurities, including what the mind perceives as ‘happy’ and ‘positive’ feelings and emotions.
  • Be kind to the body and the mind, take care of the well-being of the body and mind, accepting the body and the mind as it is even though they are not perfect.
  • Purifying and rendering the mind pure, focus, balance, calm and quiet via the observation of Yama and Niyama and different types of Kriya, Yoga Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana practice, without attachment towards the practice or expectation towards the fruit of the practice, allow Samadhi to happen naturally when the practice is matured, intentionlessly, spontaneously and effortlessly.
  • Filtering inputs and outputs of the mind. Quiet and silent the mind.
  • Reduce or refrain from unnecessary worldly affairs, social networking, relationship building, mingling, interactions and activities, that give rise to ceaseless desires, restlessness and impurities.
  • Adopt a simple and quiet lifestyle, looking after the basic needs of the life maintenance of the body and mind, and divert maximum attention, importance, effort, time and energy into maintaining internal and external purity/cleanliness, quieting the thought current, developing one-pointedness and sharpening the intellect for the quest of the truth, to free the mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities.
  • Abandon or let go self-harm, superstitious thinking and belief, blind-believing, blind-following, politics, arguments, debates, discussions, conflicts, envy/jealousy, discrimination, bias, all kind of corruptions, gossips, vain talks, boasting, story telling, lying, plotting, scheming, manipulating, exploiting, worrying, anticipating, day dreaming, worldly/spiritual ambitions of gaining attention/support/fame/respect/title/power/acknowledgment/authorization, petite-mindedness, mischievousness, evilness, violence, worldly indulgence of the senses, physical/mental addictions, drugs abuse, intoxication, sexual misconducts, hypocrisy/untruthfulness in daily conducts and relationships with others, the desire to control/expect relationships/things/life/the world to be the way that ‘I’ like it to be, and all kind of conducts/desires driven by passion and lust.
  • Develop self-independence, self-control, self-discipline, self-inquiry, self-introspection, awareness, dispassion, right discrimination, correct understanding, right livelihood, straightforwardness, truthfulness, simplicity, patience, perseverance, determination, acceptance, tolerance, forbearance, forgiveness, adjustment, adaptation and accommodation.
  • Unattached towards all actions (action and inaction) and the fruit of actions. There’s no ‘I’ am performing actions or ‘I’ am the receiver of the fruit of actions. There’s no “I am good person doing good actions and will be receiving goodness in return.”
  • There is neither ‘I’ am selfish nor ‘I’ am unselfish. There’s no ‘I’ am selfless or ‘I’ perform selfless actions, or ‘I’ receive the fruit of selfless actions.
  • Inquire the truth of all and everything – Impermanence and Selflessness.
  • Inquire the many names but all are ONE – ‘silence’, ‘liberation’, ‘compassion’, ‘unconditional love’, ‘unconditional peace’, ‘inaction in actions’, ‘selflessness’, ‘egolessness’, ‘I-lessness’, ‘non-duality’, ‘oneness’, ‘non-separateness’, ‘fearlessness’, ‘intentionlessness’, ‘neither good nor bad’, ‘neither positive nor negative’, ‘attributelessness’, ‘namelessness’, ‘formlessness’, ‘birthlessness and deathlessness’, ‘beginninglessness and endlessless’, ‘beyond the thinking mind’, ‘beyond the worldly/social/cultural/religious thinking and belief’, ‘beyond the mind perception of names and forms’, ‘beyond pleasantness and unpleasantness’, ‘beyond happiness and unhappiness’, ‘beyond positive and negative’, ‘beyond meaningfulness and meaninglessness’, ‘beyond suffering and end of suffering’, ‘beyond good and bad karma’.
  • Unconditional love and peace, compassion and the ability to forgive and let go what the mind perceives as ‘bad’, ‘wrong’, ‘negative’, ‘undeserving’, ‘hurtful’, ‘sorrowful’, ‘painful’ and so on, are nothing to do with the impermanent and selfless physical conditions, appearance, strength, flexibility, stamina, limitations, ability and disability, the impermanent and selfless states of the mind, the mind perception of different qualities of names and forms, the intelligence, pleasant/unpleasant life experiences, or the condition and situation of the world. Identifying ourselves with any quality of names and forms that the mind perceives as ‘good’, ‘positive’, ‘meaningful’, ‘rightful’, ‘healthy’ and so on, doesn’t guarantee that the mind is free.
  • Identifying as ‘good people’ being ‘good’ and doing ‘good’, also doesn’t guarantee that the mind is free from ignorance, egoism, impurities, disturbance, unhappiness, loneliness, meaninglessness, dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, anger, hatred, jealousy, hurts, fear and worry, and all kinds of suffering.
  • Do our best making use of this life existence of the body and mind for bringing peace to oneself or the world without attachment, identification, judgment, comparison, or expectation. Serve, love, give, purify, meditate, realize, and let it go.
  • Peace is in this present moment when the mind is free from ignorance, egoism and impurities. It’s not being left behind in the past or to be found in the future. It’s not in the next life or in another life form.
  • Inquire the truth of all the teachings and practice mentioned here.

It’s everyone’s freedom whether they want to take up this practice or the teachings, or not.

Be free.

Conflict between the practice of influencing the state of the mind and observing the mind perception as it is?

Some people get confused by the yoga asana, pranayama and concentration practice that is about influencing the state of the mind (intentionally changing the state of the mind to be something different by purifying and rendering the impure restless wandering mind to be pure and calm and focus) and the practice of observing the mind perception of names and forms/thought activities and allowing the mind perception of names and forms/thought activities to be there as it is, without attachment, identification, judgment, expectation, craving or aversion towards the function/modification/thought activities of the mind, and allowing all the impermanent changes of all the names and forms to be there, as they are.

It seems like a contradiction of practice, but it’s not really.

The mind is like the lake and the state of the mind is like the surface of the lake. The reflections are being reflected as they are when the surface of the lake is still, and the reflections are contorted when the surface of the lake is moving. By rendering the state of the mind calm and still will allow the mind to see things as they are or allowing the perception of names and forms to be reflected as it is, but it doesn’t change the truth of the names and forms being what they are.

The modification/thoughts activities/perception of an individual reality of the mind is like the image/reflection of the sky or the sun or the moon being reflected on the surface of the lake, and no matter the images reflected on the lake is as they are or are contorted, (and if the lake has an egoistic thinking mind of likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, craving and aversion towards the reflection of the sky, the sun or the moon on itself, and desires to change the sky, the sun or the moon to be the way that it likes it to be,) the lake doesn’t change the sky or the sun or the moon. And if the lake doesn’t exist, there’s no reflection of the sky, the sun or the moon, it still doesn’t affect the sky, the sun or the moon being there as they are.

The reflection on the surface of the lake doesn’t belong to the lake. The modification of the mind or the mind perception of pleasant/unpleasant/agreeable/disagreeable names and forms doesn’t belong to the mind.

Just like all the contents of good and bad qualities of names and forms existing in this space cannot affect the space and they don’t belong to the space. Neither will the space has desire to interfere with all the contents in it.

The space and the mind is still what it is, whether the mind perceives something as good or not good existing in the space. The space and the mind is still what it is, whether the mind perceives pleasant smells or unpleasant smells in the air. The space and the mind is still what it is, whether the mind perceives beautiful happening or disgusting/horrible happening in this space.

Different minds perceive its personal/individual reality differently under the same condition and situation. Such like, different minds feel differently while being in a place full of ‘good’ happenings or being in a place full of ‘bad’ happenings. Death is neither good nor bad. Some people are sad and mourn for the death of the leader of the country/party/ideal/vision that they supported, while some other people are glad and celebrating it. Positive minds perceive names and forms positively, while negative minds perceive names and forms negatively, but it’s not the truth, as all the names and forms are just what they are, they are neither positive nor negative. The reality is just what it is, but qualities are being projected onto the perceived reality of the mind perception of names and forms out of the different states of the mind.

The modification/thought activities/perception of an individual pleasant or unpleasant reality, is like the reflections on the surface of the lake. The state of the mind (pure or impure, peaceful or peaceless, with good/bad attributes or attributeless) influences how the mind understands/reacts towards the perception of names and forms perceived through the senses, or life experiences, but all the perception of names and forms, or life experiences, or the understanding/reactions/modifications/activities cannot affect/hurt/disturb/change the mind, except due to ignorance and egoism, there’s a false identity in the mind (the ego) is being disturbed and determined by all the perception of names and forms, and has the desire/idea of changing the perceived reality to be the way that it likes it to be.

The practice of yoga asana, pranayama, concentration and self-inquiry serves as the tool to maintain and render the mind pure and calm to be fit for higher realization of freedom from ignorance and suffering. The yoga asana and pranayama practice is to prepare the mind to be fit/ready for self-inquiry and meditation by balancing the restless/agitated/dulled state of the mind via body positions/movements (yoga asana practice) and control of the breath (pranayama practice), to render the mind calm and quiet.

The concentration practice/exercises/training is to restraint the mind to focus at one point for a prolonged period of time, and to keep the mind in the present refraining the mind from wandering into the past or the future, or getting lost in random ceaseless thinking and imaginations. Meanwhile the practice of renunciation/solitude/seclusion is to free the mind from getting entangled in the mind perception of a worldly life existence.

These practice/training are developing the awareness to be aware of or to observe the modifications of the mind, rendering the mind to be calm and quiet, to be free from restlessness and to be open to inquire the truth/nature of everything, preparing the mind for meditation – seeing the truth as it is.

The inquiry into the truth/nature of names and forms will help to strengthen dispassion, right discrimination, non-attachment, non-identification, free from craving and aversion, judgment and expectation, and this will lead the mind to be less disturbed or completely undisturbed by all the perception of names and forms of a worldly life existence, and generate less impurities or completely be free from impurities, which eventually lead to the annihilation of ignorance and suffering of the mind perception of a worldly life existence of impermanence and selflessness.

The pure egoless mind stands as a witness witnessing/observing the mind perception of a reality as it is, or observing the mind perception of names and forms/the states of the mind/the activities in the mind/the thoughts/the feelings/the physical sensations, condition, ability and limitation/all the selfless impermanent changes, as they are, without interfering with all these modifications of the mind.

Whatever the mind perceives through the senses or comes in contact with, all the perceptions of names and forms/thoughts activities/images/individual reality, and all states of the mind are just what they are. They are impermanent and selfless. They don’t belong to the mind. The worldly life existence perceived by the mind is impermanent and selfless. It doesn’t belong to the mind. It’s neither ‘I’ nor ‘mine’. Suffering and all kind of corrupted thinking and behavior arise when there is ignorance, egoism and impurities in the mind that generate attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment and expectation, thinking and believing that there’s ‘I’ and ‘mine’.

Without a calm and quiet mind, when the mind is in a state of impurity and restlessness due to egoism and impurities, it’s impossible for the mind to inquire the truth of things to be free from ignorance, as whatever is being perceived/understood through the senses are under the influence of or being contaminated by the impurities and restlessness. Just like a dirty, dusty and moving mirror cannot reflect the image of an object placed in front of it as it is. The mirror also cannot/doesn’t see itself without the help of another ‘mirror’ or ‘reflector’. And all the dirt, dust and movements don’t belong to the mirror. All the yoga, pranayama and concentration practice act as the tool to render the mind to be free from impurities and restlessness (cleaning up and stilling the ‘mirror’ to reflect the images as they are), and meditation is the ‘mirror’/’reflector’ to allow the pure and calm mind to see itself, as it is, beyond all the modifications of the mind.

That’s why it is very important to render the state of the mind pure and calm, in order to allow the mind to inquire the truth of names and forms, to be free from ignorance, and thus, allowing all the names and forms to be what they are. Or else, the ignorant egoistic minds desire to interfere with the names and forms that it doesn’t like to change/control it to be the way that it likes it to be, and there arise all sorts of suffering of discrimination, intolerance, interference, offensiveness, defensiveness, hostility, hatred, fear, violence, wars and etc.

It’s up to everyone to work on their own liberation through their own effort and pace.

Learn how to relax or let go/release physical, mental and emotional tension

Relaxation of the body and the mind comes before the attempt of developing the skill, strength and flexibility to perform the yoga exercises or yoga poses.

The physical, mental and emotional tension existing in the body and mind are mainly due to egoism and ungratified desires of coming in contact with the objects of name and form that the mind doesn’t like/doesn’t want and not coming in contact with the objects of name and form that the mind likes/wants, as well as accumulated from an imbalanced lifestyle of overly inactive/sedentary/idle or overly active/busy/restless way of life.

If one doesn’t know how to relax or let go all these accumulated tension while attempting to perform the yoga asana exercises or poses with the intention or expectation to be developing the physical strength and flexibility and the skill to do the poses, it’s not going to work efficiently.

When there are unnecessary tension existing in the body and the mind while doing the yoga asana practice:-

  • The entire learning process of the mind and the body as well as the overall effect of the physical and mental practice/training will be less efficient.
  • The mind is unable to focus which will be affecting the learning process and inattentiveness/cloudiness will lead to higher risk of accident and injury.
  • The muscles/tendons/ligaments/joints/nerves/vital organs that are in a state of tension will be affecting the development of physical health, fitness, strength and flexibility and will lead to higher risk of injury, as well as influencing the mind being unable to be open towards the teachings or philosophy of yoga that might be different from or contradicted to the existing thinking and belief in the mind.
  • The tensed body can’t really absorb the effect of the practice/training efficiently/properly/entirely even though the effect of the practice/training is present during and/or after the practice/training.
  • Tensed mind and body is deeply related to higher risk of physical and mental illness as well as broken relationships, destructive behavior and social problems, not excluding ‘yoga enthusiast’.
  • The tensed mind cannot function/think/act and react properly/healthily and easily gets confused/disturbed/intimidated by all kinds of names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses from moment to moment, and eventually losing sanity, or being unable to look after the well-being of oneself, or to live life independently, not excluding ‘yoga practitioner’ and ‘yoga teacher’.

That’s why the initial relaxation of the body and the mind in the beginning of the yoga asana practice, is very important/crucial, even before the warming-up exercises, to allow the body to be able to develop the skill, strength and flexibility efficiently and safely in a relaxed manner, as well as to allow the body to be absorbing the effect of the practice/training to the maximum, but more important, is to allow the mind to be able to be relaxed/open to inquire the truth of the teachings or philosophy of yoga that are not necessarily likable or agreeable to the mind that has been conditioned to think in certain ways and believe in certain beliefs that are different from the teachings or philosophy of yoga.

Relaxation of the body and mind should be the very first practice/learning/training for people who want to learn and practice yoga even before learning to do the basic yoga poses or guided breathing exercises. Such like simple abdominal breathing of slowing down the inhalation and exhalation in a relaxed manner without strain for a few minutes, and then moving the awareness from point to point in the physical body to be aware of any existing tension and let go the tension consciously, and bringing the mind into the present moment to be aware of the reality as it is, without craving or aversion. Without rushing into the yoga asana practice routine, without any expectation, the tension existing in the mind and body will be less intense and eventually dissolved/vanished, naturally.

The yoga asana practice of doing the yoga exercises or yoga poses are supposed to be helping the practitioner to relax the body and mind, or helping the body and mind to let go or release as much as possible all the unnecessary tensions that has been building up in everyday life, provided if the yoga asana practice is being done under a relaxed manner without strain/force with the correct understanding of the core teachings of yoga. It’s not building up more unnecessary tension into the body and mind during the yoga asana practice due to being unable to be relaxed while doing the practice by constantly straining or forcing the body to go beyond its imitation with intention/expectation to make it more strong and flexible in order to do some of the yoga poses that the mind wants to be able to do, due to the lack of correct understanding towards the core teachings of yoga.

The proper way of developing physical strength is not about building up more tightness/tension in the muscles groups of the physical body. Real strength comes from free-flow of sufficient energy supply and efficient/healthy function of the motor neurons and bio mechanism. If one of the nerves that connect the central nervous system to one of the muscles group doesn’t function properly, this part of the muscles group can’t function properly, even though the physical body has gone through intense and prolonged strength training and the muscles group is well-toned. A well-toned or tight/tensed muscles group cannot move or lift something, if there’s no proper sufficient energy supply to that area.

More important, the yoga practice is not about training/making the body more strong and flexible, as peace, compassion and the ability to forgive and let go what the mind perceives/recognizes as ‘negative’, ‘bad’, ‘wrong’, ‘hurtful, ‘sorrowful’ or ‘terrible’, is nothing to do with the physical condition/strength/flexibility. One doesn’t need to be physically ‘strong’ and ‘flexible’ or super healthy, to realize yoga, peace and compassion, or be forgiving and be able to let go.

While applying the teachings or philosophy of yoga practically in everyday life will help the practitioner to stop generating or accumulating as minimum as possible unnecessary physical, mental and emotional tension. It is what yoga practice is about – purification of the mind through the elimination of egoism.

This is similar to the final relaxation in the end of the yoga asana practice. It’s not just about to relax the body and mind after some physical and mental training, but it’s about non-attachment and non-identification towards all our actions/practice and renounce the fruit of action/practice or letting go the expectation towards the result of action/practice. This will bring the body and mind into effective deep relaxation under any condition or situation in life. Relaxation is indeed the elimination of egoism of the practice of non-attachment, non-identification, non-judgment, non-expectation, non-craving, non-aversion, and letting go. The body and mind is unable to be relaxed and constantly being in a state of tension is due to the egoism of attachment, identification, judgment, expectation, craving and aversion, and being unable/reluctant to let go or forgive.

People might confuse ‘the practice of relaxation or the ability to let go/be relaxed/calmed’ with the practice/idea/belief of positive thinking or optimism. Positive thinking or optimism doesn’t necessarily mean that the mind is relaxed/calmed or being free from the desire of craving and aversion, and be undisturbed/undetermined by what the impure mind perceives as ‘negative’, ‘bad’, ‘wrong’, ‘hurtful’, ‘sorrowful’, ‘disgusting’ or ‘terrible’. Positive thinking or optimism doesn’t correlate with the understanding/ability to accept the reality that is not necessarily the way that we like it to be, as it is, but more likely, it’s ignoring or denying the ‘negative’ undesirable reality that the mind doesn’t like and doesn’t want, and desiring/hoping to change the undesirable reality into something else that it is not, and expecting desires/wishes come true by trying to think and feel positively or optimistically. The mind is not free yet.

Be free.