Saturday, October 5, 2013

riding the b train, applying a hadith to yoga practice

Me and my fucking writer's block.  I'd been working on the blog below for weeks-- chipping away at it, walking away from it, coming back to it, etc.  Then earlier this week senior teacher Guy Donahaye came out with a most insightful blog rendering much of what I was writing moot.  Here's a link: 

 http://yogamindmedicine.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2013-01-01T00:00:00-05:00&updated-max=2014-01-01T00:00:00-05:00&max-results=6


For those unwilling to read the whole thing, this quotation from the blog is a pretty good encapsulation:  


"While the hatha yogins pursue ecstasy as the medium of their sadhana, the South Indian tradition which flourished with Krishnamacharya, was focused on an internally focused path towards stilling the mind. Asana in this context is viewed as therapy - preparation for sitting and the internal practices."


So the practice outlined in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika is not necessarily the same as the practice taught in the Pattabhi Jois/Krishnamacharya lineage and as you read below, you will see that this revelation was something of a relief to me.  Now without further ado, and with assurances on my honor that any redundancies between Mr. Donahaye's blog and mine were independent and coincidental, the blog I had been working on:


In an effort to ramp up my practice of svadhyaya (the niyama of self-study or study of scriptures) I recently dusted off my copy of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika (hereafter referred to as the HYP) and have been reading through it again.  The Bihar publications edition, translated with commentary by Swami Muktibodhananda Saraswati is truly fascinating.  Some have called it dry, but my experience is that it reveals more with each reading.  This time around I've been inspired to tackle one particular aspect of yoga practice head-on.


Now, some of the practices described in the HYP range from outlandish to outright nasty.  While I try not to say never, I do not anticipate ever doing any of the following: smearing myself with burnt cow shit, drinking my own pee, slicing the membrane at the bottom of my tongue, drinking salt water until I vomit, swallowing yards of cloth and then pulling it back out of my mouth, pumping my lower GI tract full of air and farting it all out, prolapsing my rectum and washing it by hand, and perhaps strangest of all, inserting a catheter into my urethra and drawing liquid mercury all the way into my bladder by pumping and contracting my urogenital muscles.  I know, I know.  I'm a pussy.  Where's my dedication?  In all seriousness, though, and to be fair to the author Swatmarama, none of these practices were meant to be done daily.  And at least as far as the sucking mercury up into your bladder thing, the commentary posits that Swatmarama didn't mean the actual deadly poison mercury and that he was being allegorical somehow.


No, it is the slokas concerning brahmacharya which have piqued my curiosity.  I've decided to take another stab at it.  For a brief review, brahmacharya is one of the five yamas, or ethical precepts governing a yoga practitioner's dealing with the world outside of himself.  It means that one does not waste his energy, specifically his sexual energy.  In short and as I understand it, the yogic view of sex is similar to the Roman Catholic view:  one may, or one ought to, actually, have sex with one's spouse for purposes of procreation in accordance with the lunar cycle.  Otherwise, all bets are off.  Keep it to yourself, keep it inside.  For the renunciate practitioner this means the grim prospect of never having an orgasm.  For the householding practitioner, it means no more "self-time," or however you wish to euphemize it.


As it turns out, shocking as this may be, self-time is a pretty ingrained habit for me.  Breaking it has followed a pattern similar to breaking any habit.  The first few days aren't so hard, because you've made a resolution and your will is strong.  After a few weeks, though, the samskara reasserts itself.  It's noon, you've come home from a long morning of teaching and practicing, the dog is walked, same old alarmist shit on the news....  Some temptation is there, as Jayashree or Narasimhan might say.  At the risk of revealing too much, I'll only say so far, so good in regards to the temptation piece, and that there have been vast improvements in other areas that were good already.


Now some of my more skeptical readers may be thinking "Oy gevalt ist mir.  Why deprive yourself of this thing that pretty much all humans, even most mammals, do?  It isn't enough all the sacrifices you make already?  Six days a week, going to bed at 830, schlepping to India, not eating your mother-in-law's delicious roast pork on Noche Buena, etc. etc.?"  Perhaps.  But this is it-- a great many things go into practicing yoga, and not everybody can do all of them.  It's ok.  We all do the best we can, and we wade deeper into the stream at a pace appropriate to each of us as individuals.  There is a hadith from Al-Bhukari that I always loved which goes

Allah says, 'I am as my servant expects Me to be, and I am with him when he remembers me. If he thinks of Me, I think of him. If he mentions Me in company, I mention him in an even better company. When he comes closer to Me by a handspan, I come closer to him an arm's length. If he draws closer to Me by an arm's length, I draw closer by a distance of two outstretched arms nearer to him. If my servant comes to Me walking, I go to him running.

Through the course of my practice of yoga, I have experienced this pretty much exactly.  Each notch up I've taken, each sacrifice I've made, has yielded great dividends in my overall happiness.












17 comments:

  1. Interesting. We discussed the bramacharya a great deal during my teacher training with Mark and Shankara Darby. From what I remember, I thought that sex outside of the lunar cycle was okay as long as you saved the seed... Squeeze your moula bandha and let the sexual energy travel up your spine or heal organs or do something else that's exciting. Perhaps I need to return to the source...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes yes. they were talking about vajroli mudra, related to the drawing mercury into your bladder thing. i'm sure wonderful things can happen when pull in instead of shooting out, but that's still a deep part of the stream into which i have no interest in wading.

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  8. My name is Rita Brian from United States i want to thank Dr. Aquete for bringing back my husband, we broke up for more than 4 month and he told me that he never want to see me in his life again. i love him so much to the extend that i could not do any thing again, i was confused and depress due to the love i had for him.i did everything i could do to have him come back to me but all went in vain. so i decided to contact a spell caster, i did not believe in spell casting i just want to try it may be it would work out for me. i contacted Dr. Aquete for help, he told me that he have to cast a love spell on him, i told him to start it. after 3 days my husband called me and started to apologize for leaving me and also he told me that he still love me. i was very happy and i thank Dr. Aquete for helping me get back my husband back to my hands. his spell is the the greatest all over the world, it was the love spell he cast on my ex that make him come back to me. all you ladies who want back the ex husband back i want you to contact Dr. Aquete at the following email address and get all your problem solve..No problem is too big for him to solve..Contact him direct at aquetelovespell@gmail.com or aquetelovespell@yahoo.com.his web sitehttp://auqetelovespell.webs.com/THANKS.

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    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
  12. I met my boyfriend while on vacation in Europe. We were both with tourist groups from across the country and it was fate that we met when we did. We both had just gotten out of abusive relationships and needed a fresh start. We had more in common than anyone I have ever met. He was my soul mate and I knew it from the day I met him. When we returned to the U.S., he became distant. We lived 5 states away from each other and maintaining a long distance relationship was hard. He broke up with me after a few months and I felt lost. My best friend told me about this love spell caster from re_unifyexlove@outlook.com or website info: http://reunifyexlove.webs.com that help people by casting spells, so I gave it a try. I contacted Dr. Grea and ordered for a love spell with the intention of not only bringing him back, but also getting him to move by me so that we could have a normal relationship. It worked better than I ever expected! One day he just stopped into my work and I almost fell off of my chair! I was so surprised to see him with a big smile and flowers! He told me that he got a new job in the area and moved here so that we could be together. He professed his love for me and how I make him a better person. I know it had everything to do with the love spell that I had cast by Dr. Grea via: Re_unifyexlove@outlook.com or website info: http://reunifyexlove.webs.com and also want to shout it to the world that his spells really make magic happen!

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  13. i am here to give testimony of how i got back my husband, we got married for more than 9 years and have gotten two kids. thing were going well with us and we are always happy. until one day my husband started to behave in a way i could not understand, i was very confused by the way he treat me and the kids. later that month he did not come home again and he called me that he want a divorce, i asked him what have i done wrong to deserve this from him, all he was saying is that he want a divorce that he hate me and do not want to see me again in his life, i was mad and also frustrated do not know what to do,i was sick for more than 2 weeks because of the divorce. i love him so much he was everything to me without him my life is incomplete. i told my sister and she told me to contact a spell caster, i never believe in all this spell casting of a thing. i just want to try if something will come out of it. i contacted Supreme spell temple for the return of my husband to me, he told me that my husband have been taken by another woman, that she cast a spell on him that is why he hate me and also want us to divorce. then he told me that they have to cast a spell on him that will make him return to me and the kids, he casted the spell and after 2days my husband called me and he told me that i should forgive him, he started to apologize on phone and said that he still live me that he did not know what happen to him that he left me. it was the spell that Dr papa casted on him that make him comeback to me today,me and my family are now happy again today. thank you Dr papa for what you have done for me i would have been nothing today if not for your great spell. i want you my friends who are passing through all this kind of love problem of getting back their husband, wife , or ex boyfriend and girlfriend to contact supremetemple@hotmail.com or visit his website on WWW.SUPREMETEMPLE.COM and you will see that your problem will be solved without any delay.

    ReplyDelete