Thank you to my teachers over the years. This is dedicated to:
- Jaimis Huff
- Sharon Gannon and David Life - Jivamukti Yoga
- Jafar Alexander
- Andrey Lappa - Universal Yoga
I start with a page on karma here because our karma during this lifetime is what determines how far we will be able to progress on the spiritual path. We all have different obstacles to get through and they can take many forms.
Most yoga I’ve come across in society is primarily a physical workout with the teacher explaining how I should be more positive and say Om and Namaste at the end.
But what is yoga?
Yoga is not just exercise or a workout. Yoga is a spiritual science.
Yoga is not about stretch stretch stretch - it is all about development of sensations. We want to feel sensations in the body more clearly.
Yoga is the science of controlling attention and creating a balanced internal state across all of our being’s shells or koshas.
In more traditional terms, in 1.2 of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras states:
yogash chitta vritti nirodah
Yogash - Yoga
Chitta - Mind
Vritti - Fluctuation
Nirodah - Cessation/Restraint
Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind.
We are comprised of five shells (or seven depending on which map you use):
- Anamaya Kosha - Physical Body which is like flesh and bones. An important point to realize here is that our physical bodies are memory. This means that our memories are stored in different parts of our body and we can actually learn where specific emotions will land in the body (example - stress in shoulders)
- Pranamaya Kosha - Energy Body which is like a network of cables that runs prana/energy through them
- Manomaya Kosha - Emotional Body which is like how we feel and our expressions
- Vijnanamaya Kosha - Wisdom Body which is like our intellect
- Anandamaya Kosha - Bliss Body which is like our spirit
There are no clear lines where one shell ends and another begins. All are operating together and generally, some are more balanced than others. When people say we are ‘multi-dimensional’ beings, I think this is what they mean.
Each shell is like a mirror. These mirrors get dirty due to factors including:
- Harmful conditioning from parents or society
- Rnanubandhanas or karmic debts from previous lifetimes
- New karmic debts created in this lifetime
- Injuries to the physical body
Yoga is a prescription for dirty mirrors, like Windex. Once all mirrors are clean, we are in balance and radiate our authentic self. Once balance (yoga) is achieved, that is where tantra begins.
The root of the problem is that our attention is scattered. It needs to be trained, especially in this age of social media. We must control our doors of perception.
So if one wants to clean their shells and gain mastery over their attention, what is the best place to begin?
Raja Yoga is a helpful guide. Raja Yoga is an eight-limbed path to achieve a state of yoga:
- Yama - self-regulating behaviors that affect external circumstances
- Niyama - practices that affect internal circumstances
- Asana - physical postures (this is usually what one does when they 'go to a yoga class')
- Pranayama - breathing exercises to activate and manipulate prana (energy)
- Pratyahara - withdrawing all sensory perceptions to the root of attention in the back of the head
- Dharana - single-pointed focus of all attention
- Dhyana - passive experiencing in a neutral position
- Samadhi - state of meditative absorption
Swami Vivekananda explains each limb these in his book Raja Yoga:
I also break each limb down further here:
Each of these limbs of Raja Yoga helps yogis move towards creating the conditions for a kundalini awakening.
Some teachers say that activating the kundalini energy is a main point of a yoga practice. Every effort in yoga can be consciously directed towards creating the internal conditions for a kundalini awakening.
To understand the kundalini energy, we first need to cover nadis:
The energetic structure of the body is comprised of 72,000 channels called nadis. There are three primary nadis:
- Ida - moon, left, female
- Pingala - sun, right, male
- Sushumna - central central that kundalini energy must move through to achieve a kundalini awakening.
You have probably seen images like:
Both of these represent the three channels discussed above.
It is also helpful to learn about the Vayus or five winds before discussing Kundalini:
We also need to discuss chakras. Everyone has probably heard the word chakra at this point. When I first heard about chakras I didn't think they were 'real'. I now understand that 'real' is a complicated term, and chakras for our purposes do exist.
If we are sitting cross legged on the ground, we can separate our body into seven energetic centers, which are the chakras. Here are the seven chakras and the areas associated with them:
- Muladhara - base of spine - survival
- Svadhisthana - sexual center - creativity and sexuality
- Manipura - solar plexus - wisdom, power
- Anahata - heart - love
- Vishuddha - throat - communication
- Ajna - forehead - awareness
- Sahasrara - above head - spirituality/connection to divine
Here is a picture of the energetic centers in a visual format:
There is a great book, Wheels of Life by Anodea Judith, that I recommend reading if one is interested to learn more about the chakras:
Wheels of Life: A User's Guide to the Chakra System (Llewellyn's New Age)
Wheels of Life: A User's Guide to the Chakra System (Llewellyn's New Age) [Anodea Judith] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Wheels of Life: A User's Guide to the Chakra System (Llewellyn's New Age)
Now, with all of the previous topics covered we can discuss kundalini energy, which is resting at the base of the spine, typically dormant. When activated it feels similar to the energy generated from an orgasm. It kind of acts like Draino in our energetic system. Using a combination of mantras, bandhas, and mudras, advanced practitioners can manipulate the kundalini energy up through the body.
When the kundalini energy is activated, and connected from the root of the spine all the way through the crown of the head, a state known as tantric ecstatic samadhi can occur, which is a state of pure bliss.
Religion as Technology - create dogma that is based in yogic technology to create specific results.
Kama Sutra is the external practice if you have sex. 100% of attention on the sex
Kama Sutra is not all about postures. If there are many pictures or drawings it is good. How to control chakras and build energetic structures.
A book that is quite good Thai teacher Mantak Chia. His books explain quite good techniques. Energetic schemes on how to build energy. It can give some ideas, but is not Indian Kama Sutra.
Secret level practice is to imagine taste of something and have it be the actual practice. If you really smell something externally it is the final result.
You can feel before you eat whether food is fresh or not.
System of lifestyle in US is so broken that you can’t even start practicing. More you have, more you have to pay. Always crazy because you never have enough money. Social pressure in other countries is less strong.
World is moving towards direction where we will have less and less freedom. Maybe when you reincarnate next time, you will have no freedom to do spiritual practices.
Leave the world for $30,000 - get enlightenment. You need to do it. You need three years of real spiritual practice.
Love is like a prysm of the mind. Dependence on another person to make you feel love is a lie. You have love in your heart because of internal reasons.
You are dominating. You are in power. Weakened spirit people need blankets.
If you are a beginner you can use props, but this is a sign of weakness. Better, no props. Alone, always victorious.
Yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory. In ashtanga vinyasa, this was not understood. In ashtanga no one learns theory, they just practice, practice, practice.
But theory is essentially important. Can you practice warrior pose if you don’t know what it looks like? You need to understand everything.
Brain is sending signals to the nervous system and the nervous system is doing work. That is why you need to learn the full yoga system without any exclusions. Then you will get guaranteed results. No doubts.
If you go to a yoga studio and very rarely learn anything, you won’t get any results. Practicing all the time won’t help without theory. Workshop is just like a small glimpse. You have to take part in full program.
Main essential things of yoga came in strange way. Everyone in India calls yoga YOGA. You don’t need a second word. In the US they start adding all the other words. They believe they won’t be able to collect people to their programs unless they add a second word like ‘ashtanga’ ‘Iyengar’ ‘Vinyasa’ etc. Second word squeezes what we teach into some narrow corridor.
Universal has a very wide meaning. It consists of Uni meaning one and version which means version. It means yoga. One version of yoga. There is no hammock hanging yoga.
Second interpretation - universal system. A knife has many tools and you can do a lot with it. They will be universal. Different tools for different people, but need a universal system for everyone.
Yoga systems cannot be narrow. Any full system is universal.
If thinking mainly in Hinduism then we think about yoga. Buddhism is not considered as much here, although it is quite relevant also. Universal bridges Hinduism and Buddhism.
Most people just don’t understand what yoga is. Nowadays what people practice has very shallow methodics.
Fourth meaning of yoga is that we are talking about a full complex system. This is in opposition to the narrow systems that are in many systems. It clearly shows what is different between this style and other styles.
Essentially we always have to remember the translations of the word. Always have to think about all the meanings/translations. It is coming from sanskrit vocabulary. It has been proved for centuries. Not a matter of debate. It’s like if you debate Einstein or the rules of gravity. We accept traditional classic standard based on the sanskrit vocabulary.
We are overcoming the dualism of the consciousness.
You can see the reflection of things as the truth. Water that is still will show truth. If it is not, it will be mixed. Yoga must produce ability to see things as they are.
Yoga is also about balance and harmony. Harmony is about balance of surrounding space.
To be a yogi means to be natural. We want to live in harmony with nature. That’s why yogis live naked and don’t like houses or electronics. Both hinduism and buddhism don’t appreciate nature being destroyed. Nature is your friend. We don’t want to be synthetic.
Yoga also means to have over normal powers. If you feel called, you use certain things. Use certain things, for certain circumstances. Don’t have to deal
Practice in the forest and in nature. When you breathe fresh air, you get better results. Climate control is for weak people. This is at the top of the pyramid.
If you go deeper, Universal Yoga is described in the Upanishads. It is over 6000 years old. Human being consists of the shells - mayakoshas.
Upanishads talk about five shells - pancha kosha. Kosha means shell. Maya means illusion.
Anna - illusion of food. Organic shell. You eat and the food is building the material body.
Prana - shell of the sensation. Shell of the energy flows
Mano - emotional
vijnana - intellectual
ananda - regular people can’t understand it. But once you build very strong ecstacy and get great pleasure beyond best pleasure in life. That is when you understand those techniques
Later other texts talk about shells six and seven. When you overcome your mind activity, your mind stops discriminating the heart. This allows the heart to bloom. You feel yourself with great pleasure.
Budhi Maya Kosha - the control function. The place where you make decisions. It’s where you think and don’t think.
Chitta Maya Kosha - we have in general consciousness, consciousness and subconciousness. Stupid people has IQ of 0.2%. Smart people have 4%. Stupid stupid people use 0.001%.
Second shell to fifth shell is the consciousness. Sixth shell is the subconsciousness.
What is in your subconsciousness. You don’t automatically control this. It’s like you don’t control how you digest food. You don’t control how you grow. You don’t control many things.
What is happening when you have sex? Many things you don’t realize. You don’t realize how the body heals the scar. There are special techniques for subconscious programs.
Sub programs control temperature and many other things. This is much more interesting than doing asanas on the mat. Most people don’t want to practice yoga individually.
Tendencies tend to bring you places. They lead you to interests, actions. This is how karma brings evolution.
If you think about what in yoga studios people practice, it is mostly for the first shell. Very rarely is it for psychic or emotional shells.
What is good about fulll system? You understand interconnection between the shells. People sometimes don’t understand why they can’t get results. If you don’t change on the right level, you won’t progress much on the physical level.
Attachment to junk food is purely in the mind. Lifestyle leads to tendencies. It is very important to understand connection between the shells and really really work on it. We look at the shells using three limbs.
- Development in each shell must be in balance.
- if on physical level we can establish some stuff, it must all be developed on the other shells to.
- = development in all qualities
- Balance between shells
- How much time you spend in class for physical practice vs mediation
- You spend less time in some shells which leads to disbalance.
- There are some people focused on pranayamas or focused on kundalini who have third open.
- Maybe only meditating and don’t have body open.
- Development between shells must be balanced
- This doesn’t mean equal time and equal intensity.
- Morning is for hardware. Evening is for software.
- In general at different time of day, you develop all shells.
- Alternate days if needed. Tuesday thursday saturday are for internal shells. Mon Wed Fri for physical shells.
- Surrounding space is critical to balance with the shells
- Use the yamas and niyamas to balance the shells.
- Must be very serious about these rules
- See other section for yamas and niyamas
Inside every shell you can direct each technique. If you do a practice for one shell physically, you can direct the knowledge to almost opposite purposes.
Use knowledge to balance to weaknesses.
Focus work on that which you don’t have. Don’t do what you already can do. If you are flexible, great. Don’t stroke your ego.
Focus on that which you don’t have so you can balance on each shell equally. Focus on strength, flexibility, coordination.
All practices look very different.
From here we go to particular practices.
Memories usually cannot hold such vast amounts of information. Need to slowly digest information and use it effectively. Being introduced is not the same as knowing.
Repeating a program few times is necessary. Some people come to programs only because they like to listen. In reality you have to apply what you practice. You have to be a good practicioner and good teacher. You will gradually start to understand how things work. Invest one minute, get great result. Not possible.
Water heated for five seconds won’t boil, even if at 5,000 degrees.
Need years of learning and practice. In yoga everything is about mastership. You have to accumulate merit of ecperience. There is no cheating or shortcuts.
Qualities of chakras are like chinese energetic system.
Learning about the hierarchies of yoga and who practices what is key.
Main motivation must be usefulness.
Ashvini - horse ass mudra - horses squeeze and release anus to poop - squeeze and release anus - both sphincters
Yoni - vagina
For women - contract all muscles of vagina
For men - contract the perineum
Sex - contraction of sphincter of urination
women contract clit
man contracts penis
F1 - Mula bandha is the combination of these three mudras
Names hold the meaning
F2 - Uddiyana - means uplifting - not just pulling in - pull belly in and up to push diaphragm up
F3 - Pushes pressure to ribcage
F4 - if you do nothing with neck it pushes to the brain - control pressure in the head using jalandhara bandha. In this way you can control all the levels in your head
jalan - the net
dhara - wisdom
It means to catch big fish - don’t allow too much pressure to go to the head
Shakti cholani mudra - state of tantric disciple - learn to contract the backside of the neck - this gives movement straight into the head and bring influence to the third eye
Nadi - means sky and navel but here about sky - three positions of toungue - palette and tongue and back
If you want to send energy through central back channel use ashvini or vajroli for front central.
Mudras and bandhas work together
The eyes can be moved to move energy in special directions.
All organs of perception are connected to each other.
Asanas can be used as mudras with purpose of kundalini awakening
If you sit for a long time with bended legs, when you stand up, you have two effects. Legs get numb until normal sensations come back. This is because you are squeezing the nervous system. Secondly you stand up and the needles go through the legs because of valves.
When blood doesn’t go through the channel, that’s why it feels like needles. This just shows that if you sit long time with bent legs, state of nervous system is changing so much that it needs time to balance out.
If you hold asanas for short time it won’t do much. Long time hold will give you the effects because the asana becomes a mudra.
Macrocosmic orbit is like a huge circle behind the back through the universe
Tadagi mudra is paschimottanasana in tantric yoga.
In shavasana we don’t send any energy anywhere.