Blog Archive

Sunday, May 6, 2018

To write about Yoga



It is always difficult to write about yoga. There are a lot of great texts on yoga such as Yoga sutra and Bhagavad Gita. The words written in them sometimes help us when we actually practice yoga.
 However, suffering arises when we take them as imposition. Description on long history of yoga may give a lofty impression, and discussion on philosophical background may be seem complex and irrelevant to ourselves. It is quite difficult to talk about yoga without making readers think that “it is difficult, I am not sufficient to understand it, so I have to make efforts.”
In fact, yoga is not meant to reach higher mental state, to understand complex ideas, nor to realize difficult physical exercise like acrobat. You may have such impressions of yoga by complicated philosophical terms or images on advertisements, and you may think you cannot do it. But yoga is concrete, actual and practical means that everyone can start from right here, now. What we require is actual living life, body, breath, and a teacher who is close to you.
 My teacher told me a simple breathing and moving practice that I can do every day. I practice it every day and share it when needed. Yoga happens in mutual interaction between actual people. It is not what is taught on assembly line or performed as a linear process to get somewhere.
  The confirmation of the benefit before the practice itself is impossible and unnecessary. Yoga is a lifelong practice and its benefits are also shown throughout life. Therefore, we have no choice but to find it out only by practicing and living with it. A strong motivation for practice is trust. I was taught yoga directly by a teacher who himself practices yoga every day. I don’t know why but I put my trust in him and began to practice it. The trust has no any particular reason in a same way as we don’t know the reason why we love someone or something.
   Continuing this practice and keep living with the practice, I developed certain feeling. That is, the wonder of Life. It is hard to explain by words, but Life is already perfect and functioning as an extreme intelligence. Even if temporary symptoms or dysfunctions appear, they are also parts of inherent healing of Life. Yoga is mere participation in the wonder. You may get healing, inspiration, or great experience described in Yoga Sutra as a result. But you don’t need to get confused by words. You don’t have to struggle to improve your life and to reach “better” stage. Breathe comfortably, move the whole body, and feel the Life. That is enough. I hope yoga functions for many people as a blissful experience.

To Live with Yoga


About two years have passed since I began to practice yoga. I greatly appreciate the fortune to meet yoga at the age of 19, relatively early stage in the life. Yoga is not a special ritual performed only on the mat, but what is normal and inseparable from our lives. I will propose what The Life with Yoga is from one perspective of a practitioner who is standing on the start line of the path on Yoga.
              “It is impossible to dislike one’s life itself.” This is a statement by Genboku Takahashi, the author of this book. We have daily lives, and we inevitably have multifaceted feelings, habits, and behaviors. Most of us must have undesirable behavioral patterns which we continue unconsciously even though we don’t like it. Even though we have some parts that we don’t like by ourselves, however, it is impossible to dislike one’s life itself, the fact that we are living and existing here.
              Yoga is a mere process to reassure the fact that we live. On this simple fact, there is no any value judgement such as good or evil, for we can only say that the life itself is just as it should be. The keys to access to the life itself are body and breath. This is because these two things are always existing even when we are not aware of them. Asana (body movements, seated postures) and pranayama (breathing techniques) on yoga are process to treat these two. And what we call yoga practice mainly indicates these two practices. In my case, every morning I stand on a mat, and practice asana and pranayama, then meditate a little, then return to daily life, and repeat them as one seamless process. I think this is one form of “to Live with Yoga”. It is very important to suit yoga for each individual lifestyle and continue non-obsessively.
              First, there is a Life. The body takes a specific shape inevitably, the breath continues, and uncountable biological activities happen without our will. These process are essentially nurturing and caring. Even if they express as a pain or some diseases, they are parts of this caring process that life has. We can say yoga is participation to this fullness of life. We cannot modify our bodies beyond the nature of human body structure, nor hold and extend breath so long. What we can do is to accept them as they are and regulate them a little bit.
              In asana practice, one participates to life itself, by modifying the body posture so that one can energize it if possible without distracting it. Then one moves to pranayama practice, to stay in one stable posture and concentrate on the breath, to direct the mind toward the breath that has become deeper, stronger, and more receptive as a result of participation by the whole body. Finally, one releases the consciousness that has been toward the breath, and merely sit in silence. When one gives up any conscious effort, meditation may happen. And then, one goes back to daily life with the life shining more.
              This is how my yoga practice, a ritual to be with the fullness of my life itself, comprises. It was very lucky for me to bump into yoga the time full of wondering. Yoga will help me and remind me something important especially when I face problems. I every day practice yoga to be as a normal being.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Shock and Love

Yesterday was a big day for me,

One of my closest friends said to me;

"Quit Yoga! 「ヨガやめろ!」"
(He was drinking and the way he said was half joke and half true.)

I was shocked, damaged, and confused by this word.

I'm thinking a lot about this word....

What did he want to say?
______________________________________

Last month, I attended a philosophical meeting that he was also there.

The member including him were talking about human relationship.
But I don't know why, I couldn't get into this conversation, couldn't say any words to them.
For me, what they were talking was not a problem.
So I could only see empty words there.

Maybe you can notice, I read U.G.'s book and did Yoga a lot at that time.
I was a kind of nihilistic, and couldn't see the value in that conversation.
____________________________________________

However, I am a person.
I can only see the world from the perspective of a person.

And at that time, there were people who talked about human relation in front of me.

In short, I had to face them.
I had to love them more.

Even if I had a great experience in yoga or meditation or anything,
I had to face and tried to relate to people in front of me.

If I really thought that there was no problem there, I had to say so and make everyone stop the search.
If I disliked them, I had to show how I felt.

That's the best way to send love to them.

What I shown them was not Love, but an opposite thing; indifference.

That's why he was mad at me.
________________________________________________

Again, what he wanted to say?

If I put it in other words,

"If you make hierarchy by doing yoga, quit yoga!
「もしヨガをやることによって階級をつくってしまうくらいなら、ヨガをやめろ!」"

In fact, I spend a "special" time by doing yoga every morning.

I can feel the connection with the world through my body, breath, and movements.

However, if I talk with someone, I can access to the world through him or her.
If I have a trouble, I can deeply relate to the world by thinking about it thoroughly.

There is no superior point in yoga(=breathing and moving exercise).

If I access to the whole world, I should start form where I am.


What he wanted to say might be;

"Look at me!"

______________________

Happiness is to have enough love for all the windows even while cherishing that special one view carved deep inside your heart.

Exactly!

I have something that I feel special love.
(How much I say "I love all", still I have something special, yoga, you😊, family, close friend....)

But at the same time, I face something right now.
That's what I should embrace most.

I will send Love and Ho-oponopono to whole world, from where I am.







Friday, September 1, 2017

The Body that Makes Choices

Life is repetition of choices.

The moment we start living, we pick up some and discard the other.
The result of all choices I have made is I.

Whatever we do, we cannot avoid to make choices, and cannot be neutral.

Choices are not only social and conceptual (what jog I choose, and what kind of character I play).

Standing with two legs as a process of evolution is also human choice, and we Japanese losing the ability to distinguish R and L is choice, too. We cannot be alive without these choices literally.

Therefore, that we say something, that we take certain form (have a body that have a specific shape), and even that we exist are parts of our choices. In other words, they are removal or directivity.

Any existence cannot see the world as it is.

That we live in this world means that we categorize the world along with our own convenience, and do something based on this categorization.

I want to question here.

What have I been doing?

There is a life we have already begun, and there is a self we have been playing in a very real way.

Earlier than I do something, I began to do human and do Yuto Matoba.
My body presents the gross of what I have been doing.




Anyway, lets move my body.
The moment I flex any parts of my body, one choice and exclusion begin,

If I pay attention to some parts, the other parts begin to exclaim.

Thats not fare! Look at me!

I move and breathe while listening to them.
After this exercise, I feel refreshed, relaxed and can see the world in a flat way.

However, even in this state, there is a bunch of parts that I have overlooked.

Moreover, returning to daily life and doing Yuto Matoba, playing a university student, and behaving masculine, and doing a human, I put myself huge number of bias.

After all, we can see the world only through the lens we ourselves have made.

We, such existence, always face something different.
Different culture, age, gender, species

They categorize the world in a different way from me and live based on the world image.
Thats why it is possible to have a conflict.

I need to renew the question I made earlier:

What have I been discarding?

People, animals, plants, stuff around us, and my body...
They are always sending signals to notify us what we have forgotten.

Looking back choices I made, and being aware of them.
Only after that, I can have a possibility to relate to others who are incompatible to me.


Still, I can see the world only in a way I have categorized, but there is a beauty in the fact that while we cannot understand each other completely, we can relate .

Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Self as a medium

You are a perfect being as you are.

When you are said in this way, you tend to have this questions;

Then, dont I need to anything?

NO, no,
You take yourself in wrong way.

You regard your true self as the unchangeable subject that exists without any transitions and interactions with others and do nothing, arent you?

In reality, however, we are cast on this world first, and are made to start living while we cannot understand why we do so.

We tend to think we have a body first and the body changes and interacts with others.
But, in fact, interactions first, transitions first, and the place that they happens is called body.

The existence of I is dependent on this world.

So there is no such thing as the self that does nothing and isnt placed anywhere.
This is a mere product of our thoughts.

Some people use the expression; we need to keep internal peace,
But we cannot identify internal and external.

Even if we become a priest and renounce the world, we cannot exist without interaction with the world.

Im not mentioning some special states of spirituality.
Im mentioning in an actual way.

For example, see how your body is.

Your body doesnt exist as an entity.
The interactions with what you eat and drink, the air you inhale, and the bacteria that live in your body happen all the time.
We cannot live without them even a few moment!

It is said that the number of bacteria that live in human body are more than that of human cells.
Not are bacteria living in our body, but are we living on bacteria!

Then, when we say I am thinking, what on earth are thinking?




When I chanted Yoga Mantra one day,

I tried to manage how I chant well at first.

As I continued, however, the consciousness that I am chanting was getting to disappear.

I felt like the world wanted to express something and accidentally my body was chosen as a medium.

I didnt need technique to chant anymore.
What I did was just try not to distract the flow of the energy.

Even though my self-consciousness disappears, it doesnt mean my personality does.
My personality remains through my body inevitably.
(Feel a relief!)

When I was there as a medium, I felt so fantastic.
But, it is boorish to try to maintain it and to find the way to represent it.

On the same level, for us, mere media of what the world wants to express, it is also boorish to try to remove something bad when things dont go well.

We are just placed in this world, and we can enjoy the transitions and interactions that happen there.

Well then, is there nothing that we can do?
Relax. You are doing something inevitably.

So, dont I need to do anything positively?

???

Im wondering in the same question that I cast as first

Friday, May 5, 2017

Function of yoga mat as a boundary


Yoga mat is becoming an essential item for modern yogis/yoginis.

But, when did it become popular?

Traditional yogis in India may not use mat…

I couldn’t identify the exact time.


Originally, yoga mat might come from practical needs; prevention of slip or comfortability on lying down postures.
Plus, the functions I will refer seem to be added consciously or unconsciously.

Boundary between yoga and others


Modern yogis who practice while live in social life use yoga mat as a boundary between yoga and others.

They set yoga mat for “sacred space”.
They set the time they are on yoga mat for “sacred time”.

The moment they stand on the mat, they are separated from gross and miscellaneous daily.
They are in “yogic mode” during the time they are on it.


Yoga mat, an artificial object, lies between yoga, the workings to be part of nature.
This can be unnatural and impure.

If I can, I want to use a mat made from natural materials so that it can return the earth.
(Recently, two of my friends pointed it out for me. It is embarrassing for me but I didn’t care about it when I purchased my mat.)

However, there is a merit due to the artificiality.

Yoga mat, an artificial item, can exist without any change from yesterday to today, from today to tomorrow (at least from macro viewpoint).

I, a social being, am a natural object which is always changing.
Sometimes my feeling is mess when I stand on the mat.

Yoga mat can bring me to usual state thanks to the “un-changeability”.
(It is similar to “unmoved mover” as Aristotle said. )

Incidentally, on my yoga mat there is a signature and message of my teacher J. Every time I stand on it, they remind me the power of yoga.



Boundary between self and others


Yoga mat functions as a boundary between self and others as well.

This fact is clear in yoga classes with many people.

Each of them secure “their own space” in the room.
Even if you don’t care about this personal space, you may hesitate to step into others’ space.

Many “boundaries” are made in yoga classes unconsciously…



Some people may assert their personality by color or design of mats. If so, it is also an important function.


Impossibility of “oneness”


By the way, the word “yoga” originally means “union”.

The goal of yoga includes unity between yoga and others or between self and others.
If so, I’d like to remove any boundaries we make unconsciously in the end.

Union, unity, oneness…
When the view of the world that is shown by these (above) words realizes, it may be the time when we don’t need yoga mat anymore.


Now we are in yoga time. Now we are not…My space is here. His space is there…

Hopefully, I will practice yoga as much as these distinctions are not problem, but it is difficult.

In reality, we cannot help making these boundaries so that we can do specific practices.

However, as long as we depend on the means; the use of yoga mat, and if I say more, asana, pranayama, and any kinds of techniques, we inevitably keep drawing boundaries.

So, I cannot jump for joy without reserve.
I’m feeling like always running with “training wheels” that I should discard someday.

L.Wittgenstein says,
  My propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands me finally recognizes them as senseless, when he has climbed out through them, on them, over them. (He must so to speak throw away the ladder, after he has climbed up on it.)

I don’t know if someday I don’t need yoga mat, poses, and breathing techniques anymore.

If the time comes, it would be great.
If not, it is also good.


Yoga happens in the exercise named internal conflict; depending on many practice materials and at the same time trying to detach from them.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Admit that I feel dislike.

Unconditional love


This is the one of the ideal states of yogi.

Not to judge as good or bad, and to accept and love with no reasons.

Is it possible?

Since we were born, we have “judged” too much. It is said that we get the ability to distinguish between pleasure and displeasure, and they differentiate to “joy”, “sadness”, “anger”…

So, should we decrease these kind of judgements?

Ideally, yes, maybe.

However, we cannot “do” it. As you make efforts to do so, you will be annoyed.


We have nowhere to find “ideal state”!


Heart of yoga, which I have learnt, is said to have “non-dual philosophy”.

J.Brown, a senior teacher, usually says,

Dualistic yoga practice makes us painful.

In other word, if we set “ideal state” somewhere else, we have pain by the gap between the ideal and what we are now.


Therefore, if we seek “unconditional love” as an ideal state, we must realize that in reality we emotionally judge everything around us and have a guilty to yourself which do so.

When you face something you dislike, you feel pain by itself and simultaneously feel pain by how much you judge. Double pain!

For human beings, it is normal to dislike something as a natural feeling. (If you are a saint, don’t you?)

When you pretend to have “unconditional love” and to be stabled even if you suffer internally, you are not honest to yourself. It is a violence to yourself.


Love is not equal to “kindness”!


One day, I honestly told one guy that I have felt dislike for his behavior.

This is a normal thing, but I was about to forget to do so.

Maybe I misunderstood “love”. The word “love” usually implies kindness, but not necessarily.

Love is sometimes severe.


Even if we seek to be like a saint, we can only live as we are.

We have to be honest enough to face this inevitable fact. If you feel dislike by someone, tell your feeling frankly.
It may be the best way to tell “love” him or her.

By doing it, we could be more comfortable each other.

The state of “unconditional love” is impossible to seek by artificial effort.
If you hope so, there may be only one way.
To be as you are.