Blog Archive

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Yoga that is put in a Box of "Cause-Effect"

We are living in a world that is very busy to look for "cause and effect".

If we are used to this way of thinking too much,
we tend to seek for something as an "ultimate cause" that can solve everything like a savior.

I usually see somebody who might have this kind of desire.
Or, I may be (definitely used to be) a person  who has such desire.

However, if we put yoga in a box of "cause" of "becoming well", it cannot be special compared to other methods.
There are many other powerful way, I know yoga is very powerful for health though.


Plus, this way of explanation describe the world too much simpler than as it is.
We miss the vast network and relationships that make each phenomena happen.

If we describe yoga as a "cause" of good effects, we mention the aspect of "tapas".
Tapas means to reduce the mental/physical impurities.
It is sure that yoga contains this aspect.

But yoga has more qualities;
tapah svadhyaya isvarapranidanani kriya yogah. (PYS.2-1)

Yoga is not only preparation "cause" for future result.

Svadhyaya means to look over the whole network of "cause-effect" and to know oneself arising from complexity of relationships.
Isvarapranidana means to know that individuals cannot possess any relationship and to surrender oneself to the flow of nature.

Yoga contains these three qualities and they happen simultaneously.
I think this fact makes yoga very powerful.


When people ask me a reason why I practice yoga,
and when I explain why yoga is good,
I have no choice but to mention the aspect of "a cause that brings about better effect".
It's not impossible to say about it.

However, essence of yoga may reside in the fact that we cannot complete describing it on this "cause-effect" context.




Saturday, September 8, 2018

Paradox of "Suffering" in Yoga Practice

I'd like to say,
yoga is not solution of suffering(duhkha).
not transition from the world where there is suffering to where there is not.
Yoga is not something you do in your room to feel better.

It is mere perception of whole life and being intimate with it.
It is not matter of contents (story) of your life.

You may feel "relief" or "relaxation" (in my case these are main) when you perceive whole aspect of life,
but it is also possible to feel  "weariness" ('oh, I have to live on in such a condition!') or
"hatred" ('AH, I discover such a ugly aspect of life!').

Even though it might be negative feeling, we can go through natural healing process as a result of participation in Life.
This healing begin by mere embracing of whole life, not by effort to change negative pattern to positive one.
There is no struggle to solve problems there, but
this entire participation can provide most powerful solution.

Therefore, for practitioners (who have already begun) suffering (duhkha) is not even what to perceive.
And this feature makes yogis/yoginis optimistic (sometimes too much).

Sadana, what you can do from now.
If you focus on this, you don't even need to know suffering, and you can just live your life as life.


So, what happens when someone starts yoga practice?
Each everyone has his/her purpose.
In short, I may say there are two points.

1. perception of suffering
2. expectation for becoming better

We feel suffering (duhkha; including pain, adoration for what you are not) and face it, and then we can initiate actual practicum.

As long as you avoid facing suffering, you cannot start embracing entire life.
(but I'm not sure if it is proper to make such people look the Life.)

So,  you feel suffering, then you feel desire to becoming better.
This desire is not what to suppress or control, but sincere motivation that makes us start practice.
At this single moment when student tries to start practicing, duality happens.
Duality between "student who hasn't begun yet" and  "someone who has already begun".
Teacher(acarya)'s role is to mediate this duality.

When you do something for benefit from it, there is a distance between you and the benefit inevitably.
For instance,

1, You do cleaning(practice) because you want reward(benefit).
2, You do cleaning(practice) because you want to feel better in a clean room(benefit).
3, You do cleaning(practice) because you enjoy it(benefit).

Describing practice and benefit in this way, these two seem to be apart.
For you before practice, the benefit seems not to be there (even at 3).

For sutudent before starting practice, benefits are absent and full of uncertainty.
It is teacher(acarya) that who can make student know benefit tangibly.
In Krishnamacharya's translation, acarya means who overcome their own difficulties.


Student can connect with acarya by love, trust, and friendship.
In this intimate relationship, acarya can suggest student to do practice.
"This practice is very good for me, will you try?"
Teacher can shows what student can start from here now(sadana) by consideration for student's health, age, cultural background...

By this intimacy,
student can start yoga practice as what he/she can enjoy his/her whole life,
not as dual-effort to solve problems.

Summary,
yoga is not solution of suffering,
but one can needs to perceive suffering when starting practice.
At this moment duality inevitably arises, and function of acarya can mediate it.




P.S.
I saw some "living evidence"of yoga when I visited Fiji last month.
It was really honor for me to meet them and live together for 2 weeks.
Special thanks for Mark Whitwell, Tamar Zick, and all yogis/yoginis who I met there!

However, if I choose "proper teacher for me", I'd say Japanese are better.
Fortunately, I met Yohsuke Ono who lives in Japan and understands our culture.

I'd like to help people who are in similar condition with me, while thinking as universal as possible.






Saturday, August 25, 2018

Spark

They say that you should have one strong point.
For, you need to make everyone notice your attraction.

It cannot be helped!
Sadly, the spark of your being itself is supposed to be invisible for almost everyone.

So, you need a hook so that people around you can realize it.

But isn't it only people around you that who don't notice it?
Are you yourself aware of it?
Don't you forget about it, do you?
While pretending to be all right, don't you lose what is shining there, do you?

Oh, do what you love.
Do what you are excited.

Then, look! Here is a Gift!
(Has it been there since before I notice it?)



Location of Beauty


Beauty exists everywhere.Every existence has wonder of "being".On the other hand, we see "constructed beauty".
These beauty reside in specific area such as canvas.
And we reproduce them as "special" beauty.
They can be entrance of our perception of beauty.
If we meet original works (not reproduction), we will feel the beauty more powerfully, and more tangibly. (aura!)

However, we don't need such things actually.
Wherever we see, there is beauty.
Somehow, the closest material, our body, is felt as transparent usually.
In order to play roles as social functions, we cannot be surprised all the time!
But if we always work as functions, we will forget something significant;
Beauty is here, too!

We are the beauty not because we are collection of what is called beautiful,but because we are manifestation of what is called beautiful, what is called ugly, everything.
Short, important invitation.
.
Shall we remind the beauty of existence here, once a day!?


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! "
(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!"

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, family, close friend....)

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

I will send Love to whole world, from where I am.