All kinds of different yoga practice exist to suit every beings with different types of temperament, ability and condition

All kinds of different yoga practice exist to suit every beings with different types of temperament, ability and condition.

There’s no superiority nor inferiority.

The only thing that will make a difference is that no matter what type of yoga practice and path that we are taking, it is whether we have the patience, perseverance, determination, self-discipline, self-control, self-awareness, dispassion, right discrimination, concentration, tolerance, forbearance, adjustment, adaptation and accommodation, to be keep practicing without judgment, comparison or expectation, until the mind is completely purified and be free form ignorance and egoism.

Watch out the ego, when we start to think and believe that my path and my type of practice is the most superior form of yoga, that everyone should also follow this path and this type of practice.

Om shanti.

Practice yoga of selflessness, attributelessness, namelessness and formlessness…

Many people like to do yoga asana exercises, as the yoga exercises, the breathing exercises, and the concentration while performing the yoga exercises can give many physical and mental health and fitness benefits when being done regularly. The body and the mind will feel good and light after the yoga asana and pranayama practice. The vast variations of the yoga exercises also give some sort of challenges and stimulation to the restless mind that craves to be stimulated and kept interested all the time. Or else the mind feels bored, dulled, depressed, meaningless, void or empty. But all these benefits and effects of performing the yoga exercises are impermanent and they are not the end of yoga practice.

Yoga practice is meant to allow the mind to go beyond all the qualities of name and form, to stop chasing after the objects of name and form, to be free from restlessness, to realize the truth of things as they are, and be free from ignorance, egoism, attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, and thus be free from suffering.

The benefits and effects derived from the yoga asana practice that consumes lots of time, effort, concentration, patience, determination and perseverance of the body and the mind, can help to interest the mind to be busy doing some physical and mental activities that don’t just benefit oneself physically and mentally, but at the same time one won’t have the free time, free body and mind to be engaging in any unhealthy physical and mental activities that can harm oneself or other beings. It is very good even if one isn’t interested in the complete annihilation of ignorance and egoism.

All these benefits and effects are momentary, and don’t guarantee one freedom from ignorance and suffering, if one doesn’t know how to be free from egoism, attachment, identification, and desires of craving and aversion.

The root cause of suffering is ignorance (not knowing the truth of things). From ignorance, there arise egoism. From egoism, there arise attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion. From all these attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, there arise all sorts of impurities and restlessness. From impurities and restlessness, the mind has no peace and perceives suffering.

Most minds want to be free from suffering and have peace, but not many are interested when come to the yoga practice towards selflessness (the annihilation of egoism, attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion), attributelessness, namelessness and formlessness.

We can be putting our body in many different yoga asana poses after years and years of repeated practice of all these yoga poses, becoming more skillful and effortless while performing all these yoga poses, but, the mind might still be influenced by egoism and ignorance, it’s not free from attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, impurities and restlessness. The mind is constantly being affected, disturbed, influenced and determined by what it perceives through the senses of what it sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches and thinks. There is no real peace which is beyond impermanence, which is not the momentary calmness, peaceful feelings and pleasant sensations that derived from performing some yoga exercises.

There is a common reaction of most minds who love yoga or love to do the yoga exercises – After we manage to perform certain yoga asana poses, the ever restless and dissatisfying nature of the egoistic mind will have this thought about “What next?” and try to do some other more challenging poses or new exercises that it never done before, one after another one. Even after the physical body has come to a point in achieving its highest strength and flexibility, the mind is still wondering “What next?”

By challenging and pushing the body to go beyond its physical limitation, and making the mind feels good doesn’t guarantee one peace and compassion. Peace and compassion has nothing to do with physical conditions and abilities, or the impermanent states of the mind. It is freedom from ignorance and egoism.

The restless mind is never contented with just doing the same few basic yoga poses everyday, which is all that we need to help to balance and calm the mind, preparing the mind for meditation. There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s what the mind does. It gets bored. It needs new toys, new interests, new stimulation.

Even though the body and mind is busy spending lots of time and effort into practicing yoga asana exercises, years after years, and attaining many benefits of the exercises, but we are not really practicing yoga at all, if we never train the mind to go beyond the qualities of name and form, to free the mind from ignorance, duality, egoism, attachment, identification, intention, expectation, desires, greed, dissatisfaction and restlessness. Instead we keep on trying to satisfy the desires of craving and aversion of the restless mind, keep on feeding and strengthening the egoism of the mind and all its modifications while performing the yoga asana practice.

May all be free, by practicing yoga, not just doing some yoga asana exercises.

Om shanti.

Fitness yoga exercise classes?

Yoga practitioners who live in the big city and wish to engage more time into their personal yoga practice by teaching some fitness yoga exercise classes in the big city to make a living to support their lives that also allow them to have the free time and space to perform their own yoga practice shouldn’t be bothered by what other people say about “These fitness yoga exercise classes are not about yoga and they are just a commercial ‘money making’ thing.” or “It’s wrong to modified traditional yoga asana practice into modern physical fitness exercise classes to make a living.”

Even if the fitness yoga exercise classes didn’t mention anything about the aspect of ‘spirituality’ whether intentionally or unintentionally, and it’s not about letting go of the egoism, desires, attachment, identification, craving and aversion at all, they do provide excellent and efficient physical fitness workout that can benefit many people disregard their personal cultural belief and religion practice, especially those who live a busy city lifestyle with limited personal time and space.

Although many yoga practitioners and teachers try to explain that yoga is universal, but, when we apply the name and form of ‘spirituality’ onto something that we believe is universal, then, not everyone will agree with ‘spirituality’ is universal friendly to all and everyone. As different people might have belief and disbelief about ‘spirituality’. Among those who believe in ‘spirituality’, different people or groups will have different names and forms of ‘spirituality’ that they think is belonged to them, and their ‘spirituality’ is better or purer than other forms of ‘spirituality’.

If something that is truly universal, it is free from being conditioned by any names and forms. It is nameless and formless beyond qualities of names and forms.

Fitness yoga exercise classes that don’t involve any aspects of ‘spirituality’ can bring the yoga practice to many levels and diversities of the society. As there are people do not wish to involve in the world of ‘spirituality’, which we can understand why, as there are many ‘weird’ people and ‘weird’ happenings going on in the world of ‘spirituality’ which are not necessarily what spirituality is about.

Not involving in the world of ‘spirituality’ doesn’t determine whether one is spiritual, or not. Just like not identifies oneself as good person, nor associating with other good people, doesn’t determine whether one is good, or not.

Without touching the aspect of ‘spirituality’, it is like any sports activities, it’s universal friendly. Anyone whether with or without a particular religion belief, being spiritual or non-spiritual, can take part in any kind of sports activities, if one is interested. Although great achievements and excellency in sports activities doesn’t guarantee anyone liberation from ignorance, egoism and suffering.

Living among the society, whatever people do and don’t do, there will always be somebody or some group in the society reacts towards something that they don’t like and don’t agree with, and criticize or condemn about this and that. Why should anyone be bothered?

Every living being comes into existence as a living being by oneself alone (even if there are multiple birth) and will leave this world by oneself alone (even if the life of multiple living beings is finished at the same moment). Self-realization or liberation from ignorance is attained by oneself alone. It has nothing to do with another being or group, not even all our past and present teachers and Gurus, or family and friends.

When a peaceful being prefers to be in solitude away from the society and keeps the path of liberation to oneself, and has no intention or interest in ‘teaching’ or sharing’ the path of liberation with any other beings, there will be criticism and condemn from somebody or some group about this being is selfish.

When a peaceful being has the intention or interest for ‘sharing’ the path of liberation with other beings, and tries to ‘teach’ or ‘guide’ other beings about the path of liberation, there will also be criticism and condemn from somebody or some group about one is not ‘teaching’ or ‘guiding’ other beings in the ‘correct and appropriate’ way according to what they think it should be.

Let them be. These minds that like to find faults in everything, and take pride and joy in criticism and condemn are restless. Most untrained minds are restless, or else there won’t be any criticism or condemn from anyone or anywhere about anything. The world will be very quiet and peaceful. Be compassionate towards all these restless minds, they are so unhappy and peaceless. Those who know non-attachment and non-identification will not be influenced by the points of view, thinking and beliefs of these restless minds. One shares what one is, or not, and it’s nothing to do with what others want and don’t want, like and dislike.

Among many forms of fitness exercises for attaining good health and fitness level, these yoga exercises adapted and modified from traditional yoga asana practice provide huge varieties and efficient fitness workouts for all levels of different physical conditions and abilities, to cater the personal requirements, the likes and dislikes of many different types of people, can promote fitness and obtain higher energy level, to induce good mood and relaxed state of the mind, to develop positive and clear thinking, to lower risk of injuries or contracting illnesses, to improve and maintain good physical and mental health condition, to improve quality of life, relationships, self-esteem and sense of meaningfulness. Although all these qualities of names and forms are still subject to impermanence, and don’t guarantee anyone liberation from ignorance and suffering.

The world will definitely be a better place with more people having a ‘cool and relaxed’ state of mind through performing yoga exercises regularly, there will be less conflicts and violence. It is better than taking some substances that might also can induce a momentary ‘cool and relaxed’ state of mind, but might bring other forms of side effects.

Eventually by obtaining and maintaining a well-balanced and ‘cool and relaxed’ state of mind through regular practice of some yoga exercises, naturally one can be evolving towards purity and higher consciousness, without any intention nor interest to involve in ‘purity’, or ‘higher consciousness’.

It is absolutely fine if people are not interested at all in the teachings of yoga about the elimination of egoism, desires, attachment, identification, craving and aversion. It’s definitely nothing wrong when there’s no mention about these yoga teachings in the fitness yoga exercise classes, but instead it is moving away from all these yoga teachings, whether intentionally or unintentionally, such like, strengthening the attachment and identification towards self-image, physical conditions and abilities, the empowerment of likes and dislikes, craving and aversion, the judgment and expectation towards the performance, and results orientated, and etc.

It isn’t being disrespectful towards the Gurus and the teachings of yoga when yoga (asana) practice in the world has been transformed into something that is very little to do with what yoga is about, which is to free the mind from egoism, attachment, identification, desires, craving, aversion and all sorts of impurities, to know the truth of names and forms, to eliminate ignorance and transcend suffering. And all these have nothing to do with whether one is spiritual, or not, whether one has a religion belief, or not, and whether one believes in the existence of an Almighty God or an individual soul, or not.

Yoga practice is to free the mind from ignorance, egoism, desires, impurities and suffering. And this alone is universal. Untrained minds are influenced by ignorance, egoism, impurities and experience suffering. A well-trained mind is free from the influence of ignorance, egoism, impurities and doesn’t experience suffering. An impure unrest mind creates havoc into the surrounding environment. A pure and peaceful mind doesn’t generate havoc into the surrounding environment. A closed mind generates offensiveness towards everything. An opened mind embraces all and everything.

It doesn’t matter where we come from, where we are now, who we are, what we are and how we are, we all have a mind and there are countless mind activities going on every moment, whether consciously or unconsciously. Without knowing this mind and its modifications, one generates disharmony in oneself and into the surrounding environment. Know thyself, is knowing this mind and its modification. There is no ‘I’.

May all be free, be peaceful, be happy.

If anyone doesn’t want to be free, or peaceful, or happy, let them be.

Om shanti.

Yoga asana practice is just a very small part of the yoga practice…

Those who enjoy doing the yoga asana exercises but don’t like the practice about letting go of the egoism, attachment, identification, craving and aversion, say that yoga asana practice is the most important part of the yoga practice, and that is what they are learning from the ‘yoga classes’ that they have been attending for months and years.

If they have done a yoga asana practice that day, they will tell themselves and others that they have done their yoga practice that day. And if they didn’t practice yoga asana for a few days or a few months, they will tell themselves and others that they haven’t been practicing yoga for a few days or a few months.

But yoga practice exists in every moment in everything that we do and don’t do. All actions, including inactions, are free from egoism, attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion.

Well, everyone can think and believe what they want to think and believe. If some people insist that yoga is all about the yoga asana practice, and how to make their yoga asana poses to be ‘perfect’ is the goal of their yoga practice, and to make the physical body super strong and flexible will make them a perfect ‘yogi’, then let it be.

Yoga asana practice is just a very small part of the yoga practice to help the yoga practitioners to balance and calm the mind, to prepare the mind for meditation. But, if we don’t want to let go of the egoism, attachment, identification, craving and aversion, and there are countless impurities constantly arise in the mind influencing our thinking and behavior, then no matter how much yoga asana exercises we have been practicing, and how much health and fitness benefits we are getting from performing the yoga asana practice, and the physical body becomes super strong and flexible, we are not free.

People who can’t or don’t perform yoga asana practice due to any reasons, can also attain the means of yoga, to be free from ignorance and suffering, if they know how to free the mind from egoism, attachment, identification, craving, aversion, and all sorts of impurities.

Sometimes how some of the yoga teachers training courses train the ‘yoga teachers-to-be’ for what they will be teaching to the others who will learn yoga from them after they are ‘graduated’ from the yoga teachers training courses, will make their yoga students misunderstand about yoga, the teachings and the yoga practice. There’s nothing wrong with that either, as the students will be getting some health and fitness benefits from doing the yoga asana exercises regularly, just that they might not be practicing yoga.

Om shanti.

Teaching yoga? (2)

The teachings of yoga, the purpose of the yoga classes, and how the yoga teachers teach the yoga classes, are to allow the yoga students to :-

  • Become their own teachers
  • To know/see the truth by their own self-realization through self-inquiry (Insights)
  • Develop self-awareness and mindfulness
  • Develop dispassion (Vairagya) and right discrimination (Viveka)
  • Develop non-attachment and non-identification
  • Develop purity of thoughts, actions and speech
  • Develop calmness
  • Develop magnanimity
  • Develop forbearance
  • Develop self-discipline and self-control
  • Have right livelihood, right view, correct understanding
  • Be self-reliant
  • Be vigilant, determined, persevered (stamina)
  • Be patient and tolerant (strength)
  • Be able to adjust, adapt, accommodate (flexibility)
  • Be able to let go of the desire to interfere with the reality, or to control everything to be the way that we like it to be, or to change other people to be the way that we think they should be
  • Be simple and content
  • Be truthful and straightforward
  • Be forgiving
  • Be observant towards what is going on in the mind
  • Be open-minded
  • Be free from blind-faith, blind-belief, blind-agreement, blind-following towards any practice, thinking and beliefs, including the teachings and practice of yoga
  • Be free from being conditioned by past pleasant and unpleasant experiences or happy and unhappy memories
  • Be free from being conditioned by future imaginations, anticipations, projections, speculations
  • Be free from judgment, comparison, expectation
  • Be free from craving and aversion
  • Be free from egoism
  • Be free from duality
  • Be free from both worldly and spiritual attachments and identities
  • Be free from impurities – Anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, pride, arrogance, feelings of hurt, feelings of guilt, regrets, agitation, depression, anxieties, doubts, fear, worry, ill-will, ill-thinking, violence, wickedness, selfishness, stinginess, and etc
  • Be free from restlessness
  • Be free from ignorance and suffering
  • Be free from actions and the fruit of actions (Inaction in actions – Selfless-actions)
  • Be free from the cycle of birth and death (Stop producing good and bad karma through the realization of Selflessness)
  • Realize oneness, non-separateness, non-duality, attributelessness, namelessness, formlessness (Neither good nor bad, neither positive nor negative, neither happiness nor suffering, neither right nor wrong)
  • Realize Selflessness / ego-lessness
  • Realize unconditional love and peace (Compassion)

Om shanti.

Teaching yoga?

Teaching yoga is not about teach what other people want us to teach, or teach what we like to teach.

It is also not about teaching yoga with a particular brand name, or a particular style of yoga asana practice.

It is purely teaching yoga as it is.

It’s not teaching the information that we have accumulated from reading, watching and hearing about yoga.

It is teaching what we have realized from within.

Om shanti.

Non-comparison and non-judgment…

Not long after the teacher mentioned about let go of comparison during the yoga asana practice, the student saw the teacher was teaching some of the movements being different from some other teachers, and started to compare and asked the teacher, “I saw you bring the feet in when you do this. My teachers at home said we should not bring the feet in.”

The teacher replied, “Your teachers must have their good reason why they tell the students that they should not bring the feet in while doing this movement. There’s nothing wrong in their teaching.

In the yoga asana practice here, it’s about using the yoga asana practice to help to balance and quiet the mind, to prepare the mind for meditation, to free the mind from ignorance and egoism, identification and attachment, craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation. It’s nothing to do with achieving the perfect physical alignment at all.

If by having perfect alignment while performing all these yoga exercises will bring peace and compassion, then all those people who perform physical movements with perfect alignment are all peaceful and compassionate, be free from unhappiness and suffering, be free from anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, feelings of hurt, feelings of guilt, fear and worry.

People who don’t have the flexibility or strength to put their bodies into so call perfect alignment in the yoga asana practice can still be free from ignorance and suffering, realize unconditional love and peace, if they know what is non-attachment and non-identification, if they know how to free the mind from egoism and all sorts of defilements and impurities, and realize the truth, be free from ignorance.

It depends on each individual whether they will be comfortable or not in any physical movements. Everyone has a different body and different physical flexibility and limitations. We cannot tell the students that they have to do the movements in such and such way. By bringing the feet in or not in this movement, has nothing to do with peace and compassion. It’s about whether your body is comfortable or not while performing all these movements, and it’s about do what your body can do in the present moment now without forcing your body to go beyond its limitation. It’s not about trying to imitate other people especially the teacher, to be doing the exercises exactly the same like how other people do. We might be doing the same exercises, but everyone might look differently from one another.”

When we see two things that appear to be different, the mind is conditioned to make comparison and judgment, to decide which one is right, and then the mind will judge the other one that is different from this one must be wrong then.

But the truth of everything is that they are neither right nor wrong. Everything has their different reasons to be existing.

Once we know how to train the mind to let go of this habit of comparing and judging, we will start to see the truth of things as they are, and be free from ignorance.

Om shanti.

Yoga in the commercial world and practicing yoga while living among the society…

The means of yoga is to attain annihilation of the egoism, realize unconditional peace through the self-realization of the truth, be free from ignorance, and thus transcend suffering.

The mission of yoga being spread into the society of the commercial world is for the sake of world peace. It’s not so much about getting some health and fitness benefits from performing the yoga asana exercises. Though there’s nothing wrong about that.

World peace has to start from individual peace that is unconditional, undetermined by physical conditions and abilities, or qualities of names and forms. When one has attained unconditional peace in oneself, one is no longer being affected nor disturbed by any impurities or disturbance that exist in the world. One will be free from ill-will and violence, and will not generate disharmony in oneself or into the surrounding atmosphere. And this is how yoga contributes to world peace.

Yoga practice is about self-awareness, self-discipline, self-control, self-restraint, self-transformation, self-realization. It’s not about to convert other people to abandon their existing beliefs or religious practice, and to believe in the teachings of yoga and to take up the yoga practice, nor to change other people to behave the way that we think they should behave, nor to change the world to be the way that we think it should be.

Yoga practice is eliminating the egoism and ignorance through the practice of non-attachment and non-identification, and letting go of craving and aversion. All these yoga practice can be incooperated into any existing beliefs or religious practice that one already has, without interfering what one used to believe and practice.

While allowing the existing beliefs and practice to be there, one also allows the mind to be opened. One learns how to stay detached from the existing beliefs and practice, without identification with the beliefs and practice to be who ‘I’ am. One also doesn’t attach towards the teachings of yoga, but will perform self-inquiry inquire into the truth of everything, including the existing beliefs and practice, as well as the teachings of yoga.

For many people, it is not that easy to have the determination and perseverance to perform serious yoga practice (Sadhana) while living among the society in the commercial world, unless the aspirant has developed a strong foundation of non-attachment (Vairagya) and right discrimination (Viveka). As there are many distractions around that will hinder one to immerse into the yoga and meditation practice especially if the aspirant has not yet developed a strong foundation of non-attachment, non-identification, right discrimination, self-discipline and self-control. One might be influenced by the worldly thinking and beliefs, and easily swayed into the worldly passionate desires and greed.

Most of the contents in the worldly social conversations in everyday life are strengthening worldly ideas, identifications, desires and attachments. It is empowering the egoism without us being aware of it. We tend to move away from the path of yoga and meditation, while thinking that we are pure enough, and we love yoga very much.

And thus, it is quite useful for someone who truly wants to be free from ignorance and to realize unconditional peace, by having the company of the wise (Satsanga) if there is one, or by attending yoga and meditation retreats once in a while, provided that these yoga and meditation ‘retreats’ are about the yoga and meditation practice, and it’s not about indulge in luxury sensual enjoyment ‘treats’. It can help to remind ourselves about Dharma, and to re-ignite the desire to attain liberation (Moksha).

Om shanti.

Silence?

Silence?

We might relate it as there’s nobody talking or making noises, or it’s about being speechless, movement-less, or action-less.

We might understood it as soundless, quietness and calmness of the environment.

Actually, it is silence of the mind.

The mind is silent, the thought-waves are rendered still and calm, being unmoved, undisturbed and unaffected by all the perceptions of names and forms, under any circumstances, even if the surrounding environment is noisy, chaotic, full of all sorts of sounds and actions.

The mind is free from egoism, attachment, identification, judgment, comparison, intention, expectation, impurities, craving, aversion, fear, worry, anger, hatred, greed, jealousy, dissatisfaction, disappointment, hurts, guilt, imagination, assumption, good and bad, positive and negative, elevation and depression, and so on.

In Bhakti Yoga, there are lots of chanting, prayers, Bhajan, Kirtan, listening to the stories of the Scriptures, where all these ‘sounds’ and ‘melodies’ will lead one’s mind into silence, stillness, calmness, peace…

Are we still looking for a yoga class that is completely silent where the teacher doesn’t say anything, or are we looking for a place or environment that is completely soundless to practice yoga and meditation as there are such sayings about “Meditation is based on silence…” or “Yoga class is build upon silence…”?

Om shanti.