|Sun coming up during practice this week. Note my Sweeney bottom right as I brush up on my 2nd.|
yogah - the topic
citta - mind;brain
vrtti - activity
nirodhah - stoppage
Yoga is the complete stoppage of the mind/brain activist
'Patanjali describes two categories for these loopings of the citta. Those that torment are called klista. Others are called aklista; they are neutral and do not cause torment and suffering. This is an extremely important point made right at the beginning of the Yoga Sutras. Many citta vrittis are important and needed as props for meditation and as the content of intelligent thought. The tormenting vrttis often cease thanks to the background work of those that are non tormenting. By the same token the non tormenting vrittis are absolutely necessary as well, and they too drop their structures and forms in deeper states of meditation. Yoga actually improves the thinking process rather than creating a catatonic state. It is important to remember that even though deeper practices of yoga lead to states of mind in which thought comes to a point of cessation, yoga is not an antithought practice. Instead it is a refinement of the art of thinking, allowing chains of thought to unfold within an open sky of compassion and intelligence. Rather than just giving up with an attitude of , "well, thought has gotten us into all of this trouble so now we are not going to think at all," yoga encourages clear, penetrating thinking. It is astonishing how frequently and easily this has been misinterpreted over the centuries by those unwilling to enjoy the paradoxes of thought that are revealed and observed within a healthy yoga practice'.
p151 The Mirror of Yoga; Richard Freeman.
Patanjali's Yoga Sutras based on the teaching of Srivatsa Ramaswami by Pamala Hoxsey
Of course reading the yoga shastras/scriptures (or Richard's book for example), studying, reflecting on, discussing and mulling over theory, seeking to explore, ground, and understand our practice is not the same as 'chattering about yoga', and we do chatter a tad in the blogosphere. I notice though, that most of the hits on this blog come from people visiting in their respective mornings. Keep an eye on the feedjit gadget on the bottom right of mine and others blogs and you can watch the world wake up and fortify, occasionally inspire themselves, for their coming practice. The 'talking/reading about yoga', helps us get on the mat and reflect on other aspects of practice throughout our day. Ideally of course we would just have a copy of the Upanishads or the Gita in our pockets and turn to that for a few pages of inspiration, but room for a little of both perhaps.
I tend to read yoga blogs rather than World News in the morning, while drinking my pre practice Nespresso
And of course we love our asana ( and Pattabhi Jois' Ashtanga is, for good or for ill, a highly asana focused practice) and picking them apart, searching for the elusive key that will help us bind in Mari D or catch our ankles in kapo or raise the duck in karandavasana is a little addictive. There is no secret key of course just practice but those little tips we come across that give us new hope and inspiration to keep trying, serve the purpose perhaps of getting us back on the mat each day for where that practice takes place.
I take it back, there are a few keys, a few secrets, that make a little difference but mostly they just make it safer or more comfortable... more elegant. You can haul yourself through the practice just by turning up each morning and eventually some degree of grace will shoulder it's way into our practice despite our clumsy, clunkiness...the body and the breath, it seems, tend to work it out pretty well between them.
Anyway in honour of Sharath's clarification that 99% practice includes theory here's the bibliography from Krishnamacharya's Yoga Makaranda much of which can be found in pdf form through a simple google search ( here's a good place to start http://archive.org/details/TheYogaUpanishads ). Krishnamacharya's Yoga Makaranda can be found in free download over on the right of my blog on the free downloads page along with some other good reads.
Read some of them perhaps, try to understand them as best we can, question them, see if they fit with our own experience and if so, try to work them into our day long yoga practice.
1. Rajayoga Ratnakaram
2. Hathayoga Pradipika
3. Yoga Saravalli
4. Yoga Balaprathipikai
5. Ravana Nadi (Nadi Pariksa of Ravana) 6. Bhairava Kalpam
7. Sri Tattvanidhi
8. Yoga Ratnakarandam 9. Mano Narayaneeyam
10. Rudrayameelam (Rudrayamalam)
12. Atharvana Rahasyam
16. Gheranda Samhita
17. Narada Pancharatra Samhita
18. Satvata Samhita
19. Siva Samhita
20. Dhyana Bindu Upanishad
21. Chandilya Upanishad
22. Yoga Shika Upanishad
23. Yoga Kundalya Upanishad
24. Ahir Buddhniya Samhita
25. Nada Bindu Upanishad
26. Amrita Bindu Upanishad
27. Garbha Upanishad