Yoga practice and practice yoga?

What is yoga practice and practice yoga?

Yoga practice is a combination of different ‘mind cleansing’ tools and techniques to ‘clean up’/’purify’ the restless/impure egoistic mind to free the mind from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance. One who practices yoga is practically using those ‘mind cleansing’ tools and techniques to be engaging in a ‘mind cleaning up process’, constantly, inexhaustibly, determinedly and diligently, until the mind is free from ignorance, knowing the truth of impermanence and selflessness, knowing thyself.

Many yoga enthusiasts who identify themselves as ‘yoga practitioners’/’yoga teachers’ might have the ‘knowledge’ of the ‘yoga practice’ and might be doing some kind of ‘yoga practice’ or delivering the ‘knowledge’ of the ‘yoga practice’ to other people regularly, but not many are actually practicing yoga as it is (cleaning the mind efficiently, freeing the mind from restlessness, impurities, egoism, ignorance or suffering). There’s intense reluctance to let go worldly attachment/identification/thinking/belief/desire/relationship/objects/pleasurable enjoyments of the senses. There’s still attachment and clinging towards the world of qualities of names and forms with all kinds of ‘relationship’, ‘ties’ or ‘connection’, being determined very much by the presence and absence of certain qualities of names and forms, and the quality/condition of relationship/ties/connection to be confident/happy/meaningful, or not. There’s an identity/ego that longing to be empowered, acknowledged, understood, agreed with, empathized, pampered and loved. And there’s nothing wrong with it as that’s their freedom. But for those who truly want to practice and realize yoga, they will practice yoga as it is, to be determined to free the mind from ignorance, regardless of any amount of difficulties and obstacles.

Just like cleaning up a ‘rubbish dump’ that is full of rubbish. It’s not just about the cleaning process to clear away those existing rubbish, but more importantly, it’s about stop generating/bringing in more rubbish into that area as well.

The mind is sort of like a ‘rubbish dump’. The yoga practice is not just about ‘clearing away’ the existing ‘impurities’, ‘restlessness’, ‘egoism’, ‘ignorance’ or ‘suffering’ which is already a challenging task that requires great effort, discipline, initiative, patience, forbearance, perseverance and determination, but more importantly, it’s to stop generating/accumulating/empowering ‘impurities’, ‘restlessness’, ‘egoism’, ‘ignorance’ or ‘suffering’, to silent/annihilate the restless modification of the mind. And hence, the importance of the practice of silence and renunciation.

The difference between a ‘rubbish dump’ and the restless/impure egoistic mind is that the ‘rubbish dump’ can be cleaned up and maintained ‘rubbish free’ by many people working together, but, for ‘cleaning up’ the restless/impure egoistic mind, it can only be done alone by the mind itself, not even ‘God’, or ‘Guru’, or any amount of ‘good friends’ and ‘good teachers’ can help to ‘clean up’ this mind, to free this mind from ignorance and all kinds of suffering, as all the rubbish of ‘impurities’, ‘restlessness’, ‘egoism’, ‘ignorance’ or ‘suffering’ is ‘generated’/’accumulated/empowered’ from/by the mind itself, and no other can ‘take away’/’remove’/’eliminate’/’stop generating’/’stop accumulating’/’stop empowering’ those ‘rubbish’ except the mind itself.

Meanwhile, there are some benefits/side-effects/by-products of the yoga practice such as better physical health and fitness condition and the sense of well-being/confidence/goodness/meaningfulness/joyfulness/peacefulness that come along with the different yoga practice, but they are just like spraying a lot of air freshener and putting plenty of beautiful fragrant colourful flower petals that bring some freshness smell and appearance into the area of the ‘rubbish dump’, but it doesn’t really ‘clean up’ the ‘rubbish dump’.

Doing some form of ‘yoga practice’ regularly or teaching ‘yoga classes/courses’ to many other people for many years also doesn’t necessarily means that one is practicing yoga. Some even take the ‘image’ or ‘characteristic’ of certain ‘yogis’/’sadhus’ with a particular ‘yogi’/’sadhu’ appearance in particular position and gesture while enjoying the momentary ‘intoxication/hallucination/highness/calmness’ from taking certain drugs/substances or certain ‘yoga practitioners’/’yoga teachers’ enjoying intimate relationships with random people as what ‘yoga practice’ and ‘practice yoga’ is about.

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Non-duality in silence

‘Silence’ is a very common yet important word/teaching/practice/observation/realization in yoga and Buddhism.

In silence, there’s neither right nor wrong, neither good nor bad, neither positive nor negative, neither meaningfulness nor meaninglessness, neither enjoyment nor suffering, neither satisfaction nor dissatisfaction, neither attachment nor non-attachment, and so on. What and who is there to be arguing/complaining/moaning/mourning/unhappy/angry/disturbed/offended/hurt/belittled/disrespected/suffering/enjoying/craving/liberated in silence?

As long as the mind is still being conditioned by worldly egoistic thinking, ideas, beliefs, values and practice to act and react ceaselessly towards all the perceptions of names and forms (of agreeable/disagreeable, pleasant/unpleasant, desirable/undesirable experiences), and is functioning under the influence of ignorance and egoism, the mind couldn’t go beyond the mind perception of names and forms that generates the impression of duality, which doesn’t allow the mind to see the truth of things as it is.

And hence, the importance of renunciation from worldly affairs/family ties/relationships/connections/interactions/activities and observation of seclusion and solitude for a certain period of time when the mind is ready, to free the mind from being conditioned by worldly thinking, ideas, beliefs, values and practice unwittingly, where the understanding of the mind is being influenced by the subjective judgment towards everything based on a particular thinking and belief that conditioning how the mind analyzes, judges, feels, acts and reacts, where the mind is being ignorant towards the ignorance and egoism in the mind, even if the mind is being highly knowledgeable, super intelligent, talented and skillful in doing something or many things in the world, and having the good intention to be doing something good.

Being highly knowledgeable, super intelligent, talented and skillful, and having the good intention to be doing something good, also doesn’t guarantee that the mind is free from ignorance and egoism, and hence, unwittingly be disturbed or determined by the mind perception of names and forms through the senses of what the mind sees, hears, smells, tastes, senses/feels and thinks/understands, where the mind is unwittingly being over-powered by the passionate desires of craving and aversion towards the different qualities of names and forms that the mind likes and dislikes, agrees and disagrees with, wants and doesn’t want based on a particular thinking/belief/values/practice, that generates and determines the sense of satisfaction/dissatisfaction, happiness/unhappiness, goodness/badness, positiveness/negativeness, meaningfulness/meaninglessness, rightfulness/wrongfulness, completeness/incompleteness, accomplishment/non-accomplishment, appropriateness/inappropriateness, unloneliness/loneliness, worthiness/unworthiness, pleasurable enjoyment/painful suffering, and so on. The mind is not free.

It’s everyone’s freedom whether they think there’s a need to free the mind from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance, or not. The minds that are ignorant towards the ignorance in the mind, they don’t think there’s a need to be free from ignorance, and that’s their freedom of thinking and action. There’s nothing wrong if the mind perceives/experiences suffering but it doesn’t think there’s a need to be free from the cause of suffering. Some minds are aware of suffering and knowing its nature of impermanence, and be unattached towards the perception of suffering, or it hasn’t get tired of restlessness while enjoying momentary satisfaction derived from the gratification of its passionate desire of craving and aversion, or prefer to be getting momentary relief from suffering through taking drugs/substances and getting help/sympathy/love/support/attention from others, and it doesn’t think there’s a need to be free from suffering.

Only the dispassionate ones who are aware of ignorance and the by-products of ignorance, can understand the greatness of liberation from ignorance, the root cause of suffering/restlessness, and would have intense yearning for liberation and be determined to silent the restless modification of the mind to transcend the selfless existence and function of the restless egoistic impure modification of the mind derived from ignorance.

Unfortunately, majority of the society (including yoga enthusiasts and health professionals), where the minds are not free from ignorance and egoism, where the minds think, behave, analyze, judge, act, react and live life in a particular way according to what the worldly egoistic social/cultural/religious thinking/belief/values/practice categorized as ‘normal’, ‘right’, ‘good’, ‘healthy’ or ‘sane’, they would think/believe/categorize/condemn human beings who think/behave/act/react/life life differently from the ‘normal’ human beings, who don’t think, behave, act, react and live life like the majority of the society are ‘abnormal’, ‘wrong’, ‘bad’, ‘unhealthy’, ‘insane’ or ‘mentally ill’. There would be strong criticism or disagreement coming from the majority of the society of family/friends/relatives/community/health professionals towards the practice of silence as they can’t perceive/understand beyond what their minds know/believe and are being ignorant towards their minds are being conditioned by worldly egoistic thinking and belief to think, believe, act, react and behave in certain ways.

Only those who are determined to free the mind from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance where the mind is functioning under the influence of worldly egoistic thinking/belief/values/practice/action/reaction to think, act, react, behave and live life in a particular way that the worldly minded egoistic society think and believe as something normal/right/good/healthy/sane for all human beings, can renounce the world effortlessly regardless of any amount of difficulties and obstacles. In the past, Siddhartha Gautama Buddha and many other saints and sages ‘had to’ renounce/retreat from the society to be in seclusion and solitude for many years, to be able to ‘conquer’ the restless modifications of the mind and successfully attained Silence or liberation, not to say in this era.

A better meaningful way of life?

For many people, spending most of the time being with other people (family, friends, community and other communities), focusing on bonding, socializing, interacting, connecting, sharing, knowing, eating, drinking, talking, listening, looking, laughing, playing, empowering, encouraging, aspiring, inspiring, remembering, projecting, anticipating, expecting, creating, planning, plotting, suggesting, contributing, commenting, complimenting, criticizing, gossiping, complaining, entertaining, enjoying, doing social/community activities together, upgrading their quality of life/standard of living, fulfilling passionate desires and achieving personal worldly ambitions and spiritual or religious goals, getting involve with achieving a world that complies to a particular vision, to attain the sense of in control, satisfaction, goodness and meaningfulness, is living life. For them, “This is a better meaningful way of life.”

For some people, being by oneself most of the time, as much as possible, focusing on one’s action, practice, duty and responsibility, talk less or talk nothing, without commenting on worldly affairs, or gossiping about other people’s affairs, or criticizing/interfering with other people’s different ways of life, thinking, belief, action and reaction, minding one’s life and one’s mind, being at peace unconditionally, respecting everyone being what they are, as they are, neither admiring/praising certain qualities that appear to be superior than others nor condemning/criticizing certain qualities that appear to be inferior than others, and stop contributing impurities, unhappiness, unrest, anger, hatred, jealousy, dissatisfaction, disappointment, grudges, conflicts, discrimination, violence, disharmony and disturbance into the surrounding environment or the world, is living life. As for them, having peace in one’s mind free from desire/hostility/animosity/fear/intimidation/offensiveness/defensiveness is the highest form of contribution to the society or the world peace. It’s nothing to do with “This is a better meaningful way of life.” or “Other ways of life is less good and meaningless.”

There’s nothing selfish about that at all, though for many people, the part of ‘not mingling/mixing with the society without getting involve in any form of social activities’ might appear to be ‘selfish’ or ‘rude’ or ‘unhealthy’ or ‘non-progressive’ for those who believe in a better world is about ‘all human beings should be getting involve with the social activities’, ‘community contribution’ and ‘worldly activism’, where they need as many other people as possible to get involve in their social activities to be supporting, cooperating or working with them to create a ‘better’ world that they think how it should be.

Whether wittingly or unwittingly, there will be some people would want to interfere with others who are different from them, whom they dislike and disagree with, and they would try to influence/control/covert/discipline/condemn/punish other people who don’t support or follow their vision for creating a world that they desire, that complies to their liking, values, vision, thinking and belief.

Yoga and meditation practitioners is about having unconditional peace in oneself as contributing peace into the world by focusing on looking after, purifying and quieting one’s mind, and it’s never about trying to influence/control/convert/discipline/condemn/punish others to also be like oneself to make a ‘better’ world that complies to one’s liking, values, vision, thinking or belief, especially those who have realized Impermanence and Selflessness.

The world doesn’t belong to anyone. Many people would think and believe that the world belongs to everyone, and hence, it’s everyone’s duty and responsibility to ‘cooperate together’ to make the world ‘a better place’, but how true is that? The standard and meaning of ‘a better place’ is according to whom and what? Different people desire a world with their own particular way of life according to their own liking, values, vision, thinking and belief. If everyone insist on making the world to be the way that they desire, that they think how it should be, what will happen in the world? People are getting frustrated and fighting against one another, to over-powered one another, in order to create a world that they desire. Even so, it’s everyone’s freedom for their thinking, belief, desire, action and the consequences of their action.

Swami Sivananda taught, “Even if all the leaders are taken out of the world now, the world will run on smoothly, probably more smoothly. Even if all the people retire into the forest, the world will go on.”

The world is so quiet and peaceful when everyone have gone to sleep and there’s nobody performing any actions in the world with the great aspiration to make the world to be in any particular way that different people desire and think how it should be.

In yoga, it’s not about the sense of duty and responsibility towards the world, but out of compassion, love the world as it is, not necessarily the way that ‘I’ desire it to be. One doesn’t claim possession/ownership towards the world being ambitious to make the world to be the way that ‘I’ desire it to be and the way that ‘I’ think how it should be. One just do one’s best to look after one’s mind, to stop contributing impurities and unrest into the world, and respecting the law of nature – Impermanence and Selflessness.

Be free.

Selflessness?

Just like ‘Self-inquiry’ and ‘Impermanence’, ‘Selflessness’ is one of the common words we come across in the teachings of yoga and Buddhism.

The ‘I’, where there’s a continuous stream of thinking/thought in the mind acknowledges as ‘I’ am an individual being with a physical body and thinking mind experiencing life, doesn’t exist. Out of ignorance, there arise the idea of ‘I’ exist as part of the modification of the mind acknowledging as an individual being, attaching onto/possessing such and such qualities of names and forms to be identified/recognized as this is what/who ‘I’ am, claiming ownership towards the physical body and the thinking mind (this is my body and my mind) and all kinds of connection with everyone and everything that the mind comes in contact with (my family and my belongings and etc), and at the same time also identifying with the physical body and the thinking mind as ‘I’ (This physical body and this thinking mind is ‘I’).

‘Selflessness’ is not something to be attained by accumulating certain amount of ‘merits and virtues’ or ‘good karma’ after performing many ‘good/righteous actions’ or ‘karma yoga/selfless service’, but it’s the ‘realization’ upon the mind seeing the truth of what is this ‘I’ where there’s a thinking in the mind thinks and believes as ‘I’. As long as there’s an idea, acknowledgement and identification of “I am a selfless being performing good actions or karma yoga/selfless service” the mind is still functioning under the influence of egoism.

The mind needs to be free from egoism, impurities and restlessness to realize ‘Selflessness’, where there’s no ‘I’ existing to enjoy or suffer, to be born or die, to know or don’t know, to desire or don’t desire, to be the performer of action and the receiver/enjoyer of the fruit of action, to be ignorant or be free from ignorance. It’s just the modification of the thinking mind perceiving all the names and forms through the senses via the sense organs of the physical body. It’s just the mind functioning and perceives, sees, hears, smells, tastes, feels, senses and thinks. There’s no ‘I’ existing to claim possession/ownership/control of the selfless modification of the mind or the ceaseless impermanent changes of the modification of the mind perceiving all the names and forms that are also impermanent and selfless. It’s coming from the mind being aware of the modification of the mind, while purifying and quieting itself to be free from restlessness, impurities and egoism, to be free from ignorance. It’s not something else ‘separated’ from the mind called ‘I’ being there to be aware of ‘my mind’ or to purify and quiet ‘my mind’, to free ‘my mind’ from restlessness, impurities, egoism and ignorance.

“I am not the mind. The mind is not ‘I’.” is not about ‘I’ am an existing being/soul separated/distinct from the mind. The mind is just being what it is, functioning as it is selflessly, where there’s no ‘I’ in the function of the mind which is supported/influenced by energy to be existing and functioning. Just like there’s no ‘I’ in all the cells/bones/muscles/organs/systems that forming the entire structure of the physical body which depend on nature to provide support that allows the physical body to be existing and functioning. The body and mind constantly functioning or performing actions selflessly, and there are also the consequences of actions following the actions (cause and effect). But, somehow, out of ignorance, there’s an idea of ‘I’ existing in the form of thinking claiming a personal identity and possession/ownership towards this and that, to desire and don’t desire, to agree and disagree, to enjoy or suffer, to aspire and expect, and so on. There’s an idea/identification of “I am the performer of my actions and I am the enjoyer of the fruit of my actions.”

It’s difficult/challenging for the egoistic mind that attached strongly onto a worldly self-identity attaching onto certain qualities of names and forms as this is ‘I’ or what ‘I’ am, to realize ‘Selflessness’. The egoistic mind that ‘possesses’ a self-identity thinks and believes that ‘I’ exist as an individual being experiencing life, this is ‘I’, this is my life, my body, my mind, my thinking, my belief, my feelings, my emotion, my idea, my creativity, my energy, my health, my fitness, my strength, my flexibility, my ability, my disability, my achievement, my failure, my look, my talent, my knowledge, my education, my house, my belonging, my pet, my family, my friends, my relationship, my duty, my responsibility, my rights, my aspiration, my inspiration, my sacrifice, my happiness, my suffering, my vision, my desire, my actions, my fruit of actions, my religion, my ‘God’, my world, my country, and so on. Not only there’s a personal identity, but there’s also a group identity, such like our family, our life, our thinking, our belief, our culture, our religion, our ‘God’, our action, our fruit of action, our achievement, our failure, our world, our country, our vision, and so on.

“I eat, I drink, I play, I work, I rest, I aspire, I inspire, I think, I believe, I feel, I express, I laugh, I cry, I learn, I share, I give and receive, I love and beloved, I perceive, I experience, I act, I react, I achieve, I live, I die. I am existing. How can it be possible that ‘I’ don’t exist?” It’s unthinkable for the egoistic mind about ‘Selflessness’ – ‘Egolessness’ – ‘I-lessness’.

That’s why it’s very essential for the mind to let go the attachment and identification towards any qualities of names and forms, especially the worldly conditioned egoistic way of thinking and belief in the mind that influence how the mind analyzes, judges, feels and reacts towards all and everything, as well as letting go attachment and identification towards the physical appearance/condition/ability/disability/achievement/non-achievement before the mind can reflect upon the truth of ‘Selflessness’.

Once the mind is free from the attachment and identification towards the impermanent and selfless qualities of names and forms as ‘I’, including the function of the physical body and the thinking faculty, naturally the mind will realize the truth of ‘itself’ or ‘the modification of the mind’, that there’s no ‘I’, knowing thyself. There’s neither “I know” nor “I realize” nor “I am free from ignorance” nor “I am free.”

As long as the mind is still mingling among the worldly passionate egoistic minds, that keep empowering/feeding the idea of ‘I’ and ‘the world of egoism of all kinds of attachment and identification’, it’s very difficult and almost impossible for the mind to be free from ignorance and egoism. And hence, the important practice of renunciation, seclusion, solitude and silence.

According to the teachings of Swami Sivananda, the mind just needs to spend at least five to six years in seclusion and silence being away/cutting off from the worldly affairs/activities/society/family/friends/relatives/connections/interactions that feeds/empowers egoism/restlessness/impurities/ignorance, the mind will realize the truth of ‘the mind perception of a worldly life existence of impermanent and selfless names and forms’. Although it doesn’t guarantee that everyone who try to practice silence in seclusion and solitude for a prolonged period of time will be free from ignorance and attain self-realization, as the mind might still be influenced by gross and subtle egoistic worldly/spiritual attachment hindering the mind from seeing itself/knowing thyself. And not many people are suitable for such practice, as most passionate minds would ‘go crazy’ after being in seclusion and solitude for some time. Worldly passionate minds can’t live or be without seeing/touching/communicating/interacting with other beings for even a short period of time, not to say for a prolonged period of time. That’s why it requires certain degrees of dispassion and right discrimination for someone to practice silence in seclusion and solitude, to allow the mind to realize ‘Selflessness’/’Oneness’/’Non-separateness’/’Namelessness’/’Formlessness’, where ‘suffering’ and ‘the end of suffering’ doesn’t exist.

Many people might understood ‘Selflessness’ as ‘an existing name and form such as a being/soul/mind that is free from selfishness, who is unselfish’, such as “I am a selfless/unselfish being/soul/mind”, or “I am performing selfless action to benefit other beings and other beings will be benefited from my selfless actions.”

If it’s selfless, then what/who is that ‘I’ being there acknowledging and identifying as “I am selfless/unselfish”? It’s just impermanent selfless function of the body and mind generating actions and the consequences of actions ceaselessly until the annihilation of the modification of the mind takes place, there’s no ‘I’ being there to be acknowledging/identifying as “I am selfless/unselfish.” or “I am good/bad.” And hence, silent the mind, or as Swami Sivananda taught, “Kill the mind.”

Selflessness is nothing to do with unselfishness. Regardless of living beings or non-living objects, all are impermanent and selfless or I-less, where there’s no ‘I’ within all the impermanent changes. There’s no ‘I’ existing to be identified as ‘I am selfless’, ‘I am a selfless being’, ‘I am unselfish’, ‘I am performing selfless service and other beings are benefited from my selfless service’, ‘I am kind and compassionate’, ‘I aspire to inspire others to be selfless, kind and compassionate’, and so on. There’s no “I want to be selfless.” or “I am becoming selfless.”

‘Selflessness’ is the realization of there’s no self or ‘I’, it’s not about training the mind to become ‘selfless’ or ‘unselfish’. None/nothing can train to become ‘selfless’, as there is no self or ‘I’ from the beginning. Everyone and everything is just selfless as it is. It’s due to ignorance, there is the idea of ‘I’ arise in the thinking mind materializing itself via egoism influencing the thinking pattern of the mind, where the idea of ‘I’ feeds on attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation, to desire and don’t desire, to aspire and expect, to enjoy and suffer, to love and be loved, to be continuing ‘existing’ in the form of thinking possessing a worldly self-identity with certain qualities of names and forms.

The idea of ‘I’ can be annihilated by eliminating egoism from the mind. As the ‘I’ appears to be ‘real and existing’ is nothing but the thinking pattern of the mind functioning under the influence of egoism, and upon annihilation of egoism or the veil of ignorance, the idea of ‘I’ will vanish naturally.

Upon the realization of impermanence and selflessness, naturally the mind also realizes ‘timelessness’. Time doesn’t exist, it’s just ‘what the mind perceives’, and ‘both the mind (the perceiver) and what the mind perceives (the perceived)’ constantly changing, and the ceaseless impermanent changes as well as due to the function of memory, there’s remembrance towards the impermanent changes generate the false impression of ‘time’ or ‘I’. The mind is going through countless births and deaths of ceaseless thoughts arising and passing away generating the different states of the mind. The body is going through countless births and deaths along with all the impermanent changes that are happening in the physical body generating the different condition/appearance of the body. The mind and the body is never remain the same mind or the same body even for a moment until the body and the thinking faculty ceased functioning and existing.

There’s no “I am performing yoga practice. I am a yoga practitioner. I will be receiving the benefits of the yoga practice. I am free or not free from ignorance.” It’s just the mind performing the practice, and whether the mind will be free from ignorance, or not.

Be free.

Observe silence to quiet the restless modification of the mind

When someone is performing yoga practice or meditation practice (self-practice), one is observing silence as much as possible practically, regardless of whether the mind is still processing some random thought activities, or not. One doesn’t talk, or grumble, or groan, or argue, or debate, or criticize, or inspire, or aspire, or communicate/interact with anyone not even so called ‘spiritual connection’ with ‘God’ or ‘higher spirits’. One doesn’t read any material, or ask questions, or looking at and listening to anyone or anything (teacher/other practitioners/scenery/video/music/podcast/conversation), or expect certain feedback/evaluation towards one’s practice, or expect particular result/effect/benefit/pleasure from the practice.

The senses are being withdrawn/restricted from chasing after the objects of the senses, and the outgoing mind is being channeled inward to be resting in the present moment, or to be aware of the practice/the breath/the pulse/the sensation/the flow of energy/prana/heat in the body, without attachment/identification with the selfless impermanent function of the physical body and the state of the mind, while allowing any result/effect/benefit/pleasantness/unpleasantness/ability/disability to be existing or non-existing, to be what it is, as it is, allowing any existing sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and thoughts being there as they are, without analyzing/asserting/projecting/craving/aversion, without association with or attachment towards all these names and forms, to be quieting the restless modification of the mind effectively.

This is not really possible in a ‘yoga class’ where there is a teacher giving instructions/explanation teaching/leading a group of people performing the practice, while the group of people have to be looking at the teacher or other people in the group, and listening to while analyzing/understanding/following the teacher’s instructions to perform the practice, and expecting feedback/evaluation from the teacher and/or others towards one’s performance/practice, as well as expecting particular result/effect/benefit from the practice. “How well/correct am I doing the practice?”

Meanwhile some people’s minds are being ‘disturbed’ or ‘offended’ very much by certain teachings of yoga being taught in the ‘yoga class’ that are different from their thinking and belief, or be ‘disturbed’ or ‘intimidated’ by how the teacher teach/conduct the ‘yoga class’, or be ‘dissatisfied’ with the ‘yoga class’ is not being the way that they would like it to be (either too intense, or too gentle, or too crowded, or too quiet, too much or not enough attention, too challenging or not challenging enough, or not the kind of practice that they would enjoy).

For people who don’t know the practice yet, of course they need to learn from someone who knows the practice, such like attending ‘yoga classes’ for some time to be following instructions from a teacher to learn about the practice and how to perform the practice. Attending ‘yoga classes’ is mostly about ‘learning’. After ‘learning’ and ‘knowing’ the practice, one must develop self-discipline to perform self-practice in solitude and silence, truly immersing into the practice.

That’s why ‘yoga practice’ is always more ‘practical’ when performing self-practice in solitude and silence in terms of quieting the restless modification of the mind, where the modification of mind inputs and outputs are being limited to the maximum efficiently. Those who already developed their own regular self-practice don’t need to attend ‘yoga classes’ to be following instructions to be performing their practice, though there’s nothing wrong if they attend ‘yoga classes’ once in a while for some reasons.

There are some ‘silent self-practice yoga classes’ are about providing a specific practice time and space for yoga practitioners to be sharing a practice space at a specific time to be performing their own self-practice. Even though there are other practitioners being in the same space, everyone is observing silence to the maximum, focusing on their own practice. There shouldn’t be any social interactions during the practice.

‘Yoga teachers’ need to teach ‘yoga classes’ in the way that would allow the students to develop the essential understanding of the teaching and practice, as well as self-reliance and self-discipline, and be able to perform self-practice without supervision/instruction from other people, and this will allow the mind be trained to turn inward to be quiet and be able to process and solve most problems in life by itself.

There’s nothing wrong with ‘asking and receiving help and support from others’ when someone encounters ‘problems’ in life, especially in terms of some physical and mental illnesses that require special care and specific medical treatment, or some technical problems where everyone has their own limited knowledge and experience to be doing something, and people need to be helped and supported by other people who have the knowledge and experience that oneself doesn’t have. While for most non-technical and non-medical care/treatment related problems, such like ‘thinking/decision making/relationship/emotional problems’, the best solution or the best answer to one’s doubt, is coming from within of a calmed and quiet mind.

One just needs to learn to be by oneself and be quiet, be away from all kinds of advice, opinion or suggestion from different people who ‘would like’ to give ‘advice, suggestion, help and support’ in the way that they think it’s best from their own point of view, and observe/watch what is going on in the mind, seeing the nature and the root cause of what the mind perceives/recognizes as ‘problems/doubts/unhappiness/hurts’, to allow the mind to go beyond and be undisturbed by these ‘problems/doubts/unhappiness/hurts’. Once the mind sees the truth, all kinds of ‘problems/doubts/unhappiness/hurts’ will eventually cease existing. One doesn’t need to talk to anyone about anything to release tension/unhappiness, or hoping someone is there to be listening to and sharing one’s ‘problems’, to be receiving advice, love, care, help or support from other people, to feel better, or to influence oneself making certain decision.

Although there’s nothing wrong when most people would see this thinking and emotional independence of ‘self-reliant thinking/decision making/relationship/emotional problem solving’ as ‘unacceptable’, ‘inappropriate’, ‘wrong’ or ‘unhealthy’ social behavior, as most people in the society practice and encourage all human beings need to be ‘reaching out to other people’, ‘talking to other people’ and ‘receiving advice, help, support from other people’, and most people do ‘need’ to reach out to other people to get help and suggestion, as they are being conditioned by the society to be emotionally interdependent, that they don’t know how to deal with ‘the problems’ they have and making decision independently by themselves, or else, when they think and feel that their ‘problems’ are too much for them, when they think they are alone and have no one being there to be helping and supporting them, they might hurt themselves and/or others, whether wittingly or unwittingly. People think and believe that ‘all human beings’ need to hold onto ‘something’ physically/mentally/emotionally to live life, whether it’s family, friends, relationship, children, pets, hobby, interest, work, religion, spirituality, ‘God’, or anything that give/feed the sense of existence and meaningfulness. When something falls apart or during the most difficult moments, at least they think they have something that they can lean or hang onto. And that’s their freedom of choice.

People would think and believe, “Oh, what a pitiful meaningless life without family/friends/somebody being there to share, to talk to, to play with, to support one another, to enjoy life.” This saying doesn’t valid/apply to the minds that practice yoga, that are free from being conditioned by worldly social/cultural/religious/political thinking and belief, that are aware of what is going on in the mind and be unattached towards/undetermined by the selfless impermanent qualities of names and forms, that are free from desire of craving and aversion.

In yoga, this ability of ‘self-reliant thinking/decision making/relationship/emotional problem solving’ is true liberation for the mind, being undisturbed or being okay under any difficult moments and challenging condition and situation in life that one has to deal with by oneself, where one has clear thinking and self-control without hurting oneself and/or others. It doesn’t mean that one doesn’t have any family/friends in life, but one doesn’t need to rely on the existence of family/friends/somebody being present as supporter, or receiving help/support from anyone to deal with any difficult moments under challenging condition and situation. When ‘family/friends/somebody’ or external help and support from other people/teacher/Guru/’God’ appear to be absent or not available for some reasons, it’s fine. One doesn’t need to hurt oneself and/or others, as one is peaceful as one is, being undetermined by any ‘difficult moments’ or ‘existing problems’ that one is going through, repairing what can be repaired and letting go what has to be let go, making decisions without doubt/fear/guilt/regret, and taking full responsibility towards one’s actions and the consequences of the actions.

“You came alone and you will go alone.” – Swami Sivananda