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.

 

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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.

Self-practice

Developing awareness and correct understanding along with self-discipline and determination, one doesn’t need to continuously attending yoga classes to be following the instructions of a yoga teacher/instructor to be performing the yoga practice, but out of own freewill and intense yearning for liberation, one retreats into seclusion and solitude to perform self-practice. One takes one’s natural pace to perform the practice at ease, without rushing or struggling or straining the body and mind beyond its limitation, and allowing the fruit of the practice to be there as it is.

Many people who attend yoga classes and those who provide yoga classes or other kind of yoga services, will look at or take consideration or give importance onto these factors –
– The qualifications/certifications/experience/background of the yoga teachers
– The professionalism and the ‘yogi’ look/appearance/image of the yoga teachers
– The atmosphere of the yoga practice space, such like the ‘spiritual/zen feel’, the decorations, the colour theme, the furniture, the fittings, the lighting, the plants, the sub-yoga products of ‘yoga attires’, ‘yoga mats’, ‘yoga accessories’ or ‘yoga health supplements’, the convenient facilities and other supplementary services, and/or other yoga family members of animals and pets.
– The surrounding environment of the yoga school or yoga studio, such like the scenery and the ‘quality’ of the neighbourhood.
– The degree of pleasantness of the enjoyment of the senses of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and imagination/visualization/stimulation, and so on.
– The money-worth element of the fees in comparison with the services or enjoyments provided, and the rewards/benefits/effectiveness/recognition/qualification that one would be getting from attending the yoga classes or performing the yoga practice.

Meanwhile, yoga and the yoga practice has nothing to do with all these names and forms. If the yoga teachers or the yoga classes providers don’t get this or don’t understand this, then they don’t know what yoga is. In the process of yoga practice of silencing the mind or meditation, the eyes are either closed or the mind is focusing/restraining within, and all the other senses are restrained/withdraw from the objects of the senses. What kind of scenery or environment or atmosphere is irrelevant to one’s practice. So as all the other factors.

Yoga is in the moment regardless of the mind perception of different qualities of names and forms, environment, experience, time and space. It is not confined in a particular quality of name and form, environment, experience, time and space. If one can only find oneself or peace or the truth in a particular yoga practice environment, experience, time and space, such like being in the nature of forest or mountain or seaside, and doing a particular yoga asana practice or nature activity, then one doesn’t know what yoga is even though one might feel good and peaceful and meaningful being in that particular environment, experience, time and space, and doing that particular yoga asana practice or activity. The truth/yoga is always there as it is, regardless one is doing a particular kind of yoga asana practice or physical/mental activity, or not, and being in what kind of environment, experience, time and space. Peace, compassion and the ability to forgive and let go what that the mind perceives as ‘wrong’, ‘bad’, ‘hurtful’, ‘painful’, or ‘sorrowful’, is nothing to do with the mind perception of different qualities of names and forms.

There’s nothing wrong and it’s very common that most people who attend yoga classes will expect the yoga teacher/instructor to be looking at them and their practice, to tell them to do this and don’t do that, to correct their postures, to help them to push/challenge themselves beyond the limitation of their body and mind to make the body become more fit/strong/flexible and be able to do more ‘challenging’ yoga asana poses, to give positive feedback about their practice, to give encouragements of praise and compliments to motivate them to be continuing their practice, to be interacting in some kind of social conversation, to be involving in some form of social community activities together. Just that they haven’t learn/realize what yoga really is about, even after many years of attending many hours of yoga classes regularly, and performing the yoga asana practice in perfect alignment and attaining better health condition, developing fitter, stronger and more flexible physical body, being able to perform many complicated yoga asana poses, and generating momentary good, positive and meaningful feelings in their minds due to the effect of the yoga practice.

All these names and forms are nothing but the modifications of the conditional thinking and belief and behavior of the worldly egoistic impure minds. Yoga practice is mainly to free the mind from all these conditional thinking, belief and behavior of the worldly egoistic impure mind modifications.

One only needs a simple clean space free from dust or insects/animals to be practicing external yoga practice of yoga asana and pranayama practice. If there’s no clean space available to be practicing yoga asana and pranayama practice, or if the weather doesn’t permit such practice (extreme weather condition), or the environment is not suitable for such external practice (causing inconvenience to other beings), then one doesn’t have to be practicing external yoga practice of yoga asana or pranayama practice, but it doesn’t stop one from the unconditional unlimited internal practice of maintaining a calm and quiet mind, allowing the perceived reality/experience/qualities of names and forms that is not necessarily the way that the mind likes it to be, as it is, and be able to forgive and let go something that the mind perceives as ‘wrong’, ‘bad’, ‘hurtful’, ‘painful’ or ‘sorrowful’, without craving or clinging towards ‘good’ condition or pleasantness, without aversion towards ‘bad’ condition or unpleasantness.

Contemplate on this and be free.

Before, during and after the yoga class

Attending yoga classes is what most people do when they think they want to learn and practice yoga.

Naturally, many people would also make use of the opportunity of joining yoga classes to be interacting or socializing with other people, to be making friendships or mixing into a ‘yoga community’, especially before and after the yoga class. People like to talk or have a conversation with other people getting to know each other, before and after the yoga class, and sometimes even during the yoga class, due to the restless outgoing passionate mind. Though there’s nothing wrong with that, just that it’s not what yoga practice is about.

Many people attend yoga classes are mainly for doing some yoga exercises to attain the goal of fitness training. Again, there’s nothing wrong with that, just that it’s not what yoga practice is about.

Silencing the mind or transcending the mind perception of worldly life existence of impermanent names and forms (which is the annihilation of the thinking mind under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities) is the main objective of performing all kinds of yoga practice, whether people like or agree with it, or not.

Getting to know about this mind or what is going on in this mind is the practice.

Restraining the outgoing mind to turn the mind inward for self-introspection is the practice.

Quieting the restless busy mind is the practice.

Withdraw the senses from the objects of the senses is the practice.

Reducing and restricting mind activities and imprints (inputs and outputs) is the practice.

Reducing and restricting social interactions, conversations and activities is the practice.

Purifying the mind to free the mind from impurities is the practice.

Eliminating egoism of attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation is the practice.

Letting go worldly ideas, objects, thinking, belief and behavior is the practice.

Being dispassionate and disinterest towards worldly affairs, objects, ideas, activities, social interactions and relationships is the practice.

Going beyond the mind perception of names and forms of a worldly life existence that is impermanent and selfless (there’s no ‘I’ existing to be in control of all the impermanent changes) is the practice.

Transcending the idea of ‘I’ and all kinds of fear and worry that exist due to the idea of ‘I’ is the practice.

Contemplating upon what is real and unreal is the practice – All kinds of impermanent names and forms in this worldly life existence perceived under the function of the mind is unreal. When the mind is absence there’s no world. The nameless, formless, attributeless, changeless, beginningless, endless, birthless, deathless Brahman is real.

Before and during the yoga class, there might be some doubts in the minds of the yoga students, there might be some questions that they would like to ask the yoga teachers to get some answers to clear their doubts if possible.

During the yoga class, under the guidance of the teacher, everyone should be focusing on their own practice, being aware of and unattached towards the mind activities and reactions while performing the yoga practice according to the present condition of the body and the state of the mind, working diligently to quieting the restless outgoing passionate doubtful mind.

After the yoga class (Yoga practice that is about silencing the mind, freeing the mind from restlessness due to egoistic attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation), the minds that truly immersed into the practice will be in a momentary state of quietness, calmness and question-less, due to the effect of the practice of quieting the mind. They’ll find that there are no more questions in the mind (the mind is silent), and if there is still doubt existing in the mind (the mind is moving), they understood that the answers to all their questions must be coming from their own direct experience and self-realization, it’s not coming from asking other people (the teachers) to get some answers, as it won’t clear their doubts, because they will never know whether the answers coming from other people (the teachers) are true, or not.

Those who know this, will continue to evolve and transcend the egoistic impure thinking mind, regardless any amount of difficulties and obstacles that might arise during the practice, without the supervision or guidance of any external teachers (in human form), without judgment or expectation, leading the mind towards silence of the mind – pure consciousness.

Those who don’t know this, will be doing some forms of yoga exercises under the instructions of some other people (the teachers) regularly, but their minds might still be conditioned by worldly egoistic thinking, belief and behavior, being busy with the worldly affairs, objects, ideas, activities, social interactions and relationships, finding attention, love, support, acknowledgment, companionship, satisfaction, fulfillment and meaningfulness in this mind perception of a worldly life existence, while regularly attending the yoga classes, meeting up and mingling with other yoga enthusiasts/community, talking about the past, the present and the future, likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, intentions and expectations, aspirations and inspirations, inspiring and motivating each other, and planning outing, gathering and doing some social activities together. And that’s their freedom.

Be free.

Yoga classes, yoga courses and yoga retreats?

Those (the minds) who are free, who are peaceful, who are free from ignorance, egoism, doubts and impurities, they don’t need to learn or practice yoga. They don’t need to attend yoga classes, or yoga courses, or yoga retreats.

Those (the minds) who are not free, who are not peaceful, who are not free from ignorance, egoism, doubts and impurities, they might want to learn and practice yoga, by attending yoga classes, or yoga courses, or yoga retreats, to learn and practice yoga under one or a few yoga practitioner(s) (teachers) who know the teachings and practice of yoga.

Somehow, some of those (the minds) who are not free from ignorance and egoism, who are not peaceful, who are interested in attending yoga classes, or yoga courses, or yoga retreats, are ignorant towards oneself is being over-powered by pride and arrogance. They are not really interested in ‘learning’ and ‘practicing’ yoga under the guidance of other yoga practitioners. They think they know quite a lot about the teachings and practice. They think they have been doing yoga for quite some time or a long time. They think they are quite ‘experienced’ and ‘qualified’ yoga practitioners or yoga teachers, as they have attended one or many yoga workshops, yoga courses, or yoga teachers training courses. They think they are quite ‘advanced’ on the path of yoga. They are not ‘open-minded’ to learn and practice yoga under other people’s guidance to be free from ignorance, egoism, doubts and impurities. They attached strongly onto their habitual mind behavior pattern and their way of thinking and belief and practice. They cannot be opened to investigate or experience something that is different from their thinking, belief and practice.

They want to interfere with how the people running the yoga schools, the yoga studios, or the yoga retreat centres, and what the teachers teach and how the teachers teach the classes, or courses, or retreats. They criticize the way of the people running and teaching the classes, courses, or retreats, about the format, the schedule, the accommodation, the facilities, the environment, the staff, or anything that they think it’s not the way that they like it to be, or not the way that they think or expect it should be. There are many things that they dislike and disagree with, that they cannot tolerate or accommodate. They reluctant to adjust, adapt and accommodate something that is different from their habitual comfort zone, thinking, belief and practice.

They expect/demand the people to run the yoga schools, the yoga studios, or the yoga retreat centres the way that they like it to be, and they expect/demand the teachers to teach what they like and want to practice and don’t teach what they don’t like or don’t want to practice. They expect/demand the teachers to teach the classes, the courses, the retreats the way that they like it to be. They get very annoyed and irritated when the teachers teach something that they don’t like and don’t want to learn or practice, or the people running the classes, the courses, or the retreats the way that they don’t like and don’t agree with. They expect/demand everything about the entire space of learning and practicing yoga to be the way that they like it to be, or the way that they think it should be.

These people (the minds) don’t just not really learning or practicing yoga, though they think and believe that they are very ‘serious and advanced and certified’ yoga practitioners and yoga teachers, but they also generate inconvenience, disturbance, doubt and obstacle for others who are interested to learn and practice yoga, those who ‘are aware of’ or ‘know’ their minds are not yet completely free from ignorance, egoism, doubts and impurities. The minds that are free, they won’t be affected or influenced by the ignorance and impurities of others, but most minds are not free yet, they will still be affected and influenced by the ignorance and impurities of others. But, it doesn’t mean that these minds are bad or negative. All minds are free to behave the way that they want to behave and react the way that they want to react, whether they are aware of their own behavior and reaction, or not.

And hence, when one thinks and believes that oneself is an ‘experienced’ and ‘advanced’ and ‘certified’ yoga practitioner or yoga teacher, and one wants to inform/tell other people about how experienced and advanced one is on the path of yoga, then know that one doesn’t know what is yoga, yet. Those who know yoga, they have no attachment or identification towards the experiences or levels of their practice, or be proud and arrogant about what they know or realize from their practice. They mind their own practice and they don’t need to attend yoga classes, yoga courses, or yoga retreats.

Those who are not sure or have doubts about their practice or what they think they know, and are interested in attending yoga classes, yoga courses, or yoga retreats to learn and practice yoga under the guidance of other people, must learn how to allow the mind to be opened to learn and practice yoga under another person or other people, while not by pushing away or arguing about something that the mind dislikes and disagrees with, but to investigate the truth of everything that the mind comes in contact with through direct experience.

What the mind agrees with and what the mind disagrees with, are not necessarily the truth.

One doesn’t need to like and agree with everything, even if it’s part of the teachings and practice of yoga, but remain equanimous, being undisturbed or undetermined by what the mind dislikes and disagrees with, is already what yoga practice is about.

Be free.