The beautiful Hindu myth, The Churning Of The Milky Ocean, tells the story of the gods who wanted to get the amrita, the nectar of immortality. For that, they had to cooperate with the demons. Light and shadow, prana and apana, must work together. The first thing that came out of the ocean through the churning process was the most horrible, stinky and lethal poison, called halahala.
People think that yoga is all about getting the nectar of life, but when we deepen our practice, at a certain point we must come face to face with our own halahala—the mixture of our shadows, suppressed thoughts, emotions and all the bullshit we prefer not to acknowledge or deal with. But if we ever want to get the amrita, we must cope with our shit.
Those extreme yoga poses that feel like they’re pulling your hips out of the sockets? They might.
Mindful teachers mind your muscles (missing mine).
Around 2 pm on May 18, 2009, God in his high heavens, in his most infinite and unfathomable wisdom, took the final decision to allow an old man to just exhale for the one last time in his 94 years on the planet, and not inhale that most vital whiff of air, the breath of life.
Yoga guru Pattabhi Jois had breathed his last.
Yoga is showing where to look for the soul - that is all.
"The dead of winter can be a kind of hero’s jourey… [U]se it to discover – and to decide – what you are made of.”
I recently began practicing Ashtanga yoga. By that I mean I recently began practicing Ashtanga yoga for real, as in crack-of-dawn Mysore style, moon days and I-don’t-feel-like-it-days, eating dinner super early and drinking the “practice and all is coming” kool-aid like it’s going out of style. The experience of committing to [it] finally, was a lot like the joyous free-fall of falling in love. The birds sang, the sun shone, and small creatures trailed behind me singing as I walked from the studio in the early morning hours back to my car.
And then, the music stopped. The Ashtanga Police stepped in and shut those singing creatures up faster than you can say “Ekam.”
This practice comes from a love, not from a sense of duty.
Boonchu, the 8 limbs of yoga
Yama: refers to the five abstentions
Niyama: refers to the five observances
Asana: Discipline of the body
Pranayama: control of breath
Pratyahara: withdrawal of senses from their external objects
Dharana: concentration of the Chitta upon a physical object
Dhyana: steadfast meditation
Samadhi: oneness with the object of meditation