Satan’s Search for Enlightenment #2

Satan’s Search for Enlightenment #2

Ashtanga Vinyasa with BNS Iyengar – The lost Asana

I went to Mysore, India in 2010 to study with BNS Iyengar. I wanted to study with him because he was my teacher’s teacher (Sri V. Sheshadri), a direct student of Sri T. Krishnamacharya and Pattabhi Jois, and a local legend. He is also one of the few Indian teachers still teaching both the western and  Indian community. Plus, a few friends called him crusty and I found that appealing since so many Western teachers are like cheerleaders on ativan.

I was looking for roots and I was looking to learn. BNS teaches a little differently now than I had heard he taught previously. He taught Primary Series in a blazing 55 minutes as a led practice rather than the traditional silent practice I was familiar with. It was sometime brutal and primitive. The way I suspect it was taught 50 or 60 years ago, like I had heard  Sheshadri speak of in 2006.

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I liked that BNS’s  Primary Series was a little different. It was unexpected. When people think of Ashtanga they think of it in one way, never to be altered. I know a lot of people will scream that it IS only one way. I always found this attitude as surprising as I found the conservative and conformist attitude in the punk rock community disturbing. But remember that when Pattabhi Jois was asked by a student,  “you used to teach it this way and now you teach it different, which way is right?” he  said, “the way I teach it now is correct.”

Some differences I noticed with BNS:

On page 1 (above) you will see that the Namaskara A + B are shorter in repetitions than I had practiced with Sheshadri (I will post the Sheshadri cheat sheet from 06′ in the future) or Manju Pattahbi Jois.

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The differences I found on page 2  start with Janu Sirsasana B. It is replaced with what I have heard people call “Open Janu Sirsasana” or Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana nine were you stack the shoulders and open to the side like in Utthita Parsvakonasana. Most interesting was the first pose of column 5 listed as Supta Parivrtta Padangusthasana were you lie down put you right arm behind your head – or as BNS would say “surround the head” – and grab your right big toe on the bent leg that is across your chest. I hadn’t see this pose ever before in the 8 years I had been practicing yoga. When I Googled Supta Parivrtta Padangusthasana I got 18,000 results for the first pose you see on line 4 of page 2 (above)… not the pose I was looking for. When I couldn’t find it easily, I got very interested in this pose. After asking a couple of people who had studied with BNS longer than me and still getting no info, I found this pose listed as the last part of a three-part pose called Supta Padangusthasana Thirteen in BKS Iyengar’s “Light on Yoga” (BKS Iyengar is no relation to BNS, but both were students of Krishnamacharya). When I Googled Supta Padangusthasana Thirteen in quotes to limit the search to only this pose, I got only ONE result. It is on a page that lists a bunch of asanas (poses) and little else. When I Googled it as Supta Padangusthasana 13, I got 7 results, one of which was Polish and another in  Chinese. According to “Light on Yoga,” Supta Padangusthasana Thirteen is of great benefit for people with sciatica and stiffness in hip joints.

I LOVE that BNS is teaching this pose that the rest of the world has nearly forgotten. This is why I went to study with him To get to the unfiltered, non-westernized, un-corporatized yoga.

I learned a lot in my time with BNS, some good, some bad, just like life.  Like the dark and the light, I see with clarity through my practice ever-shifting  glimpses of samadhi समाधि and the terror of the veil of Maya माया being lifted.   BNS showed me a man who could be gentle and fierce in one movement and one breath.

“Do good, be good. Be good, do good.” ~ BNS Iyengar

Ask a yoga teacher #1: My third eye hurts

Hey Daniel

I just (legitimately) meditated for the first time today. For a while–months, maybe longer–I don’t remember exactly when that I began to notice a slight pressure in the area of the location of the third eye chakra! so I wound up looking into the 7 chakras. Now I’ve been noticing an increase or I should say becoming more intuitively aware and having empath episodes more often. I just was curious to see what you thought of these things.

thanks for reading
cheers

Keith


Congratulations on making meditation a part of your life. When we meditate, we’re doing ourselves and the world a big favor.

I think it is very much human nature to want the unexplainable  explained. I think it is also very much a thing of the west to ask, “can you give me a list of the top ten side effects and experiences that will be coming my way now that I am here?” Which is very helpful in getting us to miss the point of being here. Now.

If you haven’t guessed by now I’m going to take a lot of time telling you I don’t know what it means for you.

Existence is a very personal experience. Our attempts at mediation and moving beyond the physical world will be difficult to explain. I have had other people mention the pressure on the third eye during meditation. When I was meditating under the supervision of Nagaraja S. Pande in Mysore, India, I experienced that same sensation. It was like a finger trying to push it’s way out of my skull. I mentioned this to N.S. Pande and he gave me no explanation. I should make it clear after this experience I still consider my self “Still not Enlightened” and didn’t feel much change in my day to day life besides the general calming from the meditation itself. My friend experienced the same thing and told the head of her Yoga teacher training group and her fellow students, who all told her with great joy that she had activated her third eye. (I think developing the third eye is a better way to describe it than opening or activating the third eye.) I remember Harjiwan http://harijiwan.com/ telling me that through meditation and Kundalini yoga, the opening of the third eye will become physical. The skull will actually open in that spot.

 

trepanation, trephination

 

Native Americans had skull opening rituals. People have used power tools to create these openings in modern times. I don’t advise this. Meditation and yoga sound more appealing. But an extra hole in the head seems to give people a sense of euphoria. Is it the extra oxygen now reaching the brain that is now producing these effects? That might explain the power of Pranayama.

Some people have said you may be experiencing the opening of some old, blocked-up energy and not the opening of the third eye itself… just a clearing out of the third eye energy path.  It’s so subjective.

The chakra in the third eye is an interesting place for us to be suddenly having some action. It is said that most of us are living in our first and second chakras and that by moving our kundalini energy up the spine, we activate each chakra until we reach the top (enlightenment?). But if we are reaching our third eye in meditation, how did our kundalini energy jump over the other chakra areas to reach the 6th chakra (called Ajna)? Can we just jump around from chakra to chakra? AND if we already reached the other 5 chakras wouldn’t we know?

Cymry Mongan of Color my Chakras http://www.colormychakras.com/ had this to say:

The Third Eye can only be properly activated when the lower five chakras are balanced and aligned.  If the Third Eye is not linked with the other chakras, we may become obsessed with the search for altered states of consciousness and psychic powers to satisfy our ego. This extinguishes our inner light, moving us further away from Enlightenment.

As far as becoming more intuitive through activation of the third eye/6th chakra, I don’t think it exactly relates to the third eye pressure but is  more an artifact of sitting in meditation daily.  In my opinion our intuition is 100% on, 24/7, but most of us are not listening or have not learned to listen. Which is the point of meditation. Learning to listen. Heightened intuition would be a good sign that your meditation practice is on the right path.

With meditation, we are trying to unlearn and clear the way so we can receive the information that is already available… information we can’t hear because we are already full of so much information. Meditation is not about trying to learn or acquire more. Meditation is a vehicle on a trip to the no mind, or the know mind.

Thanks for your question, Keith. Sorry I don’t have an answer. 😉

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Also from Cymry Mongan of Color my Chakras http://www.colormychakras.com/

The 3rd Eye Chakra is the sixth in the 7-Chakra system.  It is located between and just above the eyes. The Sanskrit word for this sixth chakra is “Anja,” meaning ‘command.’  Working with this chakra gives us a greater spiritual command of our lives.  The color is INDIGO, and the element is Light.  Physically, it is connected with the pituitary and pineal glands, eyes, ears, and nose.  It relates to vision, intuition, intellect, inner wisdom, perception, and mental clarity.


Why sing along with Dharma Gypsys?

Why should you sing along with Asato Ma (track #1 from the Dharma Gypsys Volume One: Music for Yoga Meditation and General House cleaning)? And What do the these words mean?

The fact that the words to this song are not in English is to your advantage. Knowing a word in your native language comes with a lot of baggage. Take the word God. It has a mountain of baggage attached to it, especially here in the west. So singing or saying something in a foreign language removes that mental baggage. It’s hard to pollute something consciously if we don’t know exactly what it means. But subconsciously, it is reaching us.

We want to get back in touch with the place we have forgotten but have never left. The universal mind. The collective consciousness. Where everything that has ever been or is ever going to be is available to us. Einstein talked about it. And you can have the same information Einstein had, hear the same things Beethoven—a deaf man—heard. How do you think Jimi Hendrix—an American man in his twenties—redefined the guitar forever? Sure he practiced a lot. But there is something else. The undefinable, the thing Jimi himself may not have been aware of. Like a medium, like a conduit of light and things better left unnamed.

You are part of the whole. The whole world. In fact you are the world. But our brains and ego—and the mental chatter produced by that pair—are deafening. It’s going to be easier to get into our subconscious if we can’t mentally define and label something.

So as we hear without listening, as we create without defining, as we sing along with words we do not understand because they are not in our native tongue, we can  receive the meaning in it’s purest form. No labeling. No defining. Only direct contact with the source.

So do you still want to know what the words to Asato Ma mean?

Asato Ma Sad Gamaya
Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya
Mrityor Ma Amritam Gamaya