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May all find the teacher within to guide oneself towards unconditional love and peace

Friday, November 5, 2010

Initial understanding of yoga philosophy before performing yoga practices - part 1

Before we start to learn any physical movements in performing any yoga practices, we must know what is yoga all about. All the yoga practices like asana, pranayama, concentration, meditation, yama, niyama, selfless service, chanting and etc, are there to help us to develop self-awareness, non-attachment and selflessness.

The purpose of the asana practice is not about trying to achieve a perfect body, perfect strength and flexibility, or trying to go beyond the physical limitations.

The asana practice and pranayama, the breathing exercises are there to influence the energy, balance the energy, purify the energy, conserve the energy, stimulate the energy centers, restore the energy, and unblock any energy blockages in our system. This will directly influence the state of the mind and make the mind free from tensions, being calm and balanced.

When the mind is calm and balanced, wisdom will arise. We will know the truth of ourselves and everything else. When we know the truth, all kinds of ill-wills, ignorance and suffering will disappear. The world is still being what it is, but we will not be influenced by the world anymore whether to be happy or unhappy.

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The very basic practice is to learn how to be at the present moment, observe the present moment, accept the present moment, and let go of the past instantly without attachment. Not project into the future. Not being disturbed or affected or influenced by the past experiences or the future imaginations.

Not being disturbed, or affected, or influenced by what the mind perceives through the senses of what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think. Remain equanimous, calm and at peace not being disturbed by all the happenings and experiences in the body, in the mind, in our life, in the surrounding, and in the world.

We are not the body, the body is not us and it doesn’t belong to us. We are not the mind, the mind is not us and it doesn’t belong to us either. The body and the mind is subject to impermanence. It is not in our control to want it to be the way that we like it to be. By understand this, we stop attaching to the body and the mind. We truly appreciate and be grateful of having this body and the mind for us to be here to experience so many things, to learn, to share, and to realize our true nature is not different from the universal consciousness. We take good care of this body and the mind without attachment, so that we can fully make good use of this life existence to be in the world to do so many things and to perform selfless service for ourselves and for all other beings.

This body and this mind doesn’t belong to us and what to say about relationships and all other things in the world that we can attain? We cannot control all these things to be the way that we want it to be. All these things are subject to impermanence. They will change and sooner or later they will be apart from us. we can only appreciate and enjoy while we are still being with all these things, temporarily. Once they have changed or gone, we have to let them go. If we couldn’t let go, that will create so much suffering and unhappiness in us.

Not attach to the body and the mind. Not attach to the thoughts, feelings and sensations that come from the body and the mind. Not attach to the likes and dislikes that come from the ego. Not attach to whatever the mind perceives through the senses. Not attach to what is happening in our life and in the world.

That is real non-attachment. There is no judgment, no comparison, no competition, no expectation towards ourselves or other people and things. All these judgment, comparison, competition and expectation come from the ego.

It doesn’t mean that we become selfish and doesn’t care for the world, and runaway from our duty and responsibility just like there are many people misunderstanding about the terms of non-attachment. It doesn’t mean that we ignore or deny the world, or don’t care for ourselves and other beings in the world.

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We care a lot for ourselves and for all other beings, out of great compassion without selfish intention. We can perform so many beneficial actions for the well-being of ourselves and other beings. We can do whatever is possible to help the world to evolve and to become a better place. But without attachment. Without the intention to help ourselves, to help other beings or to help the world. Intention-less. Without the expectation that we or other beings or the world be will benefited from our compassionate actions. Non-expectation.

Just like the sun, the air, the water, the earth and the space. They just give, provide and support all living and non-living beings unlimitedly, unconditionally, unceasingly, tirelessly, inexhaustibly without discrimination of good or bad beings, ignorant or wise beings, pure or impure beings, happy or unhappy beings, ancient or modern beings… They embrace all and everything.

Without intention, they give. Without expectation, they give. Without attachment, they give…

No fear. No worry. No dissatisfaction. No disappointment. No frustration. No like. No dislike. No Good. No bad. No craving. No aversion. No "I". No "beings". No giver. No receiver. No success. No failure. No superiority. No inferiority...

That is selflessness, compassion, non-attachment…

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Know thyself. There is no existence of 'I'. Everything is impermanent. Be free, be peaceful, be happy.

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My husband and I run ongoing yoga retreats in Langkawi Malaysia. We teach traditional Hatha Yoga - a combination of Asanas (postures) and Pranayama (breathing techniques) and relaxation, that has given benefit to millions of practitioners over thousands of years. Our yoga studio is situated in Langkawi. We also run yoga retreats in Europe and India.

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