108 in ecstatic bliss…finding the “authentic self”

“[…] We spend the first half of our lives developing a personality and the second half defending it because we worked so hard on it.  (“Sure, I’m stubborn-I’m a Taurus!”)  As we become more attached to the personality we’ve created, we start to mistake it for our true identity.  And it starts to shape our body and mind.  This mistaking is avidya, ignorance fo the our true nature, which is the immortal, changeless Self.

If you cling to personality, you can be easily hurt if someone misunderstands you.  “I thought you knew me!”  you might exclaim.  The personality, in turn , becomes more rigid and begins to limit our possibilities.  The next time you catch yourself saying, “I’m just not that kind of person,” or “that’s not really my thing.”  reflect that you do not have to behave in a fashion consistent with the personality you’ve constructed thus far.  Loosen up (your identification with the body/mind, that is)!

To rid oneself of the kleshas, Patanjali recommends an eight-limbed system of yoga called Ashtanga, or Raja Yoga.  Each limb on the tree of Raja Yoga represents a purifying yoga  practice:

1. yama: restraint or abstinence

2. niyama: observance

3. asana: posture, seat

4. pranayama: restraint or control of the life force

5.  pratyahara:  withdrawl of the senses

6. dharana: concentration

7. dhyana: meditation

8. samadhi: bliss, superconsciousness

Through these yoga practices we seek to purify the body and mind so we can free ourselves of the kleshas and experience the incredible bliss and Self-knowledge of samadhi. Yoga practices like asana and pranayama stir up our fears, our ignorance and our attachments.  As we become conscious of them, we can begin to let them go.” (Practices for liberating body and soul: Jivamukti Yoga, 2002)

Simply food for thought on the path of seeking the authentic self…

As I sat on the beach today quite sore after 108 sun salutations yesterday- mostly Surya Namaskara A, which you can view here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnQc_Qwvxb0…I once again dived into the depths of Jivamukti Yoga…in reading the book cited above.

Yesterday Joe and I participated in a Yoga Mala-108 sun salutations.  The practice was in motion for over 90 minutes-the time is not what is to be noted here.  It was our first 108.  I am sore.  I cannot convey verbatim here, yet I do recall one of our many phenomenal instructors from yesterday stating the soreness we endure after our practice is a reminder of the suffering…the suffering of humanity.  I am grateful to endure this suffering as it is a great reminder of all that I have to be thankful for.

There were moments in which I felt light, weightless, the PRANA was moving me through my practice of devotion…Steven Groff and friends provided live music of mantras that kept my mind occupied and engaged as the names of deities vibrated through my being as sound waves nurturing my soul and every cell within my physical body…as we came up forward into Uttasana from Ardo Mukha Svanasana and floated my hands back to heart’s center in Anjali Mudra…the mudra of the heart~my thumbs pressed against my sternum and I felt my hearts rapid rhythm bringing me back to the annamaya kosha-my physical being and quickly sent them shooting straight up to the sky so high-falling into a backbend to bring my consciousness back to the higher self…the authentic self …in divine bliss acknowledging the life force flowing within and throughout…oh how my body loves the practice of YOGA-the cultivation of our true selves-the ‘yoking’ uniting with GOD, the supreme, the absolute.

Kirtan following, led by Durga Das-David Newman and his wife, Mira-accompanied

by their talented ensemble…words cannot describe the intensity of the energy radiating through the room at the Skylands in PA:

more to come…

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