True Knowledge and the Soul in Samyama – Yoga Sutras

True knowledge and the Soul through Samyama
I.49 sruta anumana prajnabhyam anyavisaya visesarthatvat This truth-bearing knowledge and wisdom is distinct from and beyond the knowledge gleaned from books, testimony, or inference.
I think the concept that truth-bearing knowledge does not come from books is a difficult one in the culture we live in.  From as early as I can remember I knew that I would go to University, complete a degree, and get a good paying job. We all know how important it is to do well in school and attend a good University (especially a University with a famous name like Harvard, or Yale!).  But the fact of the matter is this is a deluded vision of success. Education nourishes our mind and ego.  Pablo Picasso is credited with a beautiful quote, “Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”  I think the same is true in terms of wisdom.  Intuition is educated out of us, replaced by ‘intelligence’ which only serves to further delude us.  We need to start breaking down everything we’ve learned to be true and reignite our intuition to discriminate the real from the unreal.
III.17 sabda artha pratyayanam itaretaradhyasat sankarah tatpravibhaga samyamat sarvabhuta rutajnanam Words, objects and ideas are superimposed, creating confusion; by samyama, one gains knowledge of the language of all beings.
When I say the word flower what is the first thing that comes to mind?  For me it’s a great big bouquet of gerbera daisies, my favorite flowers.  For another it may have been a field full of sunflowers, or a single red rose, or any other of an infinite list of possibilities.  The point is, a single word can and will have a different meaning for each individual based on past impressions, cultural influences, and language.  The thoughts and ideas of a person will superimpose with their words, potentially masking their intended meaning. But through samyama, the sadhaka can distinguish the true meaning behind the words of all beings.
IV.15 vastusamye cittabhedat tayoh vibhaktah panthah Due to the variance in the quality of mind-content, each person may view the same object differently, according to his own way of thinking.
In contrast to III.17, this sutra addresses the varying ways in which people view the same object. Following the previous example, say I showed three different people a single red rose.  The first person looks at the rose and sees the brilliant red color, the beautiful turn of each petal, and the striking contrast of the green stem.  The second person looks at the rose and sees the painfully sharp points of the thorns.  The third person looks at the rose and sees that the petals are starting to wilt as the flower has been cut and is no longer alive.  Each of these people sees the rose differently as their consciousness is affected by the compilation of their experiences and the qualities of nature.  Even within a single individual, perceptions will change as consciousness evolves. The challenge remains to recognize that ‘an object exists independent of its cognizance by any one consciousness’ (IV.16).
III.36 sattva purusayoh atyantasamkirnayoh pratyaya avisesah bhogah pararthatvat svarthasamyamat purusajnanam By samyama, the yogi easily differentiates between the intelligence and the soul which is real and true.
The intelligence referred to in this sutra is not that of the mind, it is the truth-bearing knowledge discussed in I.49 above.  Patanjali tells us here that even that truth-bearing knowledge is separate from the unblemished light of the soul.  The soul is pure and cannot be altered.  True intelligence, however, is still affected by the experiences of the sadhaka and by the influences of nature. As each person in the previous example saw the rose differently, truth will be perceived differently when viewed through intelligence.  Truth cannot be spoken.  When a person tries to speak the truth their words have already been tainted by their perception.  Truth can only be ‘felt’ by the unchallengeable soul.
IV.5 pavrtti bhede prayojakam cittam ekam anekesam Consciousness is one, but it branches into many different types of activities and innumerable thought-waves.
As intelligence is affected by the experiences of the sadhaka, so is the consciousness.  In fact, they are one in the same.  Consciousness is at the mercy of the mind and the influences of nature.  Within the mixture of sattva, rajas, and tamas the consciousness can direct thoughts in infinite directions.  As such, it can cause fluctuations of the mind by creating conflict, doubt, confusion, and desires.  With the tools of yoga consciousness can gradually be channelled in the right direction.  As the fluctuations of the mind settle, nature begins to work for the consciousness, purifying it. Eventually, intelligence and consciousness will realize they are one and duality will come to an end.
IV.6 tatra dhyanajam anasayam Of these activities of consciousness of perfected beings, only those which proceed from meditation are free from latent impressions and influences.
Patanjali tells us here that the only way to remove the influences affecting our intelligence and consciousness is through meditation.  The mind will be present in us until death, and as such will be able to influence our consciousness.  In chapter 6, verse 6, of the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna tells Arjuna that the mind is the friend of those who have control over it, and the mind acts like an enemy for those who do not control it.  Meditation is the means of gaining control of the mind. Krishna continues in verse 20 telling Arjuna that the mind disciplined by the practice of meditation becomes steady, one becomes content in the Self by beholding Him with purified intellect.

Time and Nature- Yoga Sutras

Time and Nature
IV.13 te vyakta suksmah gunamanah The three phases of time intermingle rhythmically and interweave with the qualities of nature.  They change the composition of nature’s properties into gross and subtle.
A single moment is pure. As it moves into the next moment, creating a chain of moments reaching into the past and the future, it is affected by the gunas and time takes on the qualities of sattva, rajas, and tamas.
Growing up in Montana these huge, black, cumulonimbus clouds would build up over the mountains in the morning and come into the valley we lived in late in the afternoon. There was always a quiet calm that would settle in with the arrival of the clouds as everything seemed to stand perfectly still.  In that moment of stillness there was purity and the potential for anything. It was only when that moment went into motion and moved into the future that the storm would suddenly break lose in a cacophony of thunder and lightning taking on the wonderfully rajasic and tamasic qualities of a thunderstorm.
Any moment has the capacity to absorb any combination of the qualities of nature, but will only do so when put into the movement of time.  This relationship links the three phases of time and the three qualities of nature eternally.
III.53 ksana tatkramayoh samyamat vivekajam jnanam By samyama on moment and on the continuous flow of moments, the yogi gains exalted knowledge, free from the limitations of time and space.
I will start the discussion on this sutra with a very logic based preface; Einstein’s theories of relativity, specifically the concept of time dilation.  This theory explains that the passage of time depends on the motion of the observer.  The example often given to illustrate this theory is of an astronaut traveling near the speed of light then returning to Earth to find that more time had passed there than he had observed on his journey.  In a similar way, when engaged in meditation, or samyama, an hour can pass by in what seems like a few minutes.  I would propose that the ‘motion’ of the mind has come to a stand-still, thus arresting time in the gross world and allowing the consciousness (the observer) to ‘travel at light speed’ through the subtle world.
By samyama on this concept, the yogi can learn to live only in the pure moment of the present, unaffected by the past and the future and thus unaffected by the qualities of nature. No longer limited by time and space, the yogi attains samadhi.
IV.32 tatah krtarthanam parinamakrama samaptih gunanam When dharmamegha samadhi is attainted, qualities of nature come to rest.  Having fulfilled their purpose, their sequence of successive mutations is at an end.
IV.33 ksana pratiyogi parinama aparanta nirgrahyah kramah As the mutations of the gunas cease to function, time, the uninterrupted movement of moments, stops.  This deconstruction of the flow of time is comprehensible only at this final stage of emancipation.
As ‘the three phases of time intermingle rhythmically and interweave with the qualities of nature’, they are interdependent on each other.  Stopping of the flow of moments and living in and observing the purity of the now will eliminate the effects of the gunas, so it must also be true that the cessation of the gunas will result in the arrestment and destruction of time. In dharmamegha samadhi, the yogi no longer lives in the movement of moments, but in the moment itself.  He has gained control over the qualities of time and nature and can use them when necessary because he is no longer affected by them.
The Bhagavad Gita chapter 14, verses 22-25 describe the yogi who is no longer under the influence of the gunas, “The Blessed Lord said: O Pandava (Arjuna), he who does not abhor the presence of the gunas – illumination, activity, and ignorance – nor deplore their absence; Remaining like one unconcerned, undisturbed by the three modes – realizing that they alone are operating throughout creation; not oscillating in mind but ever Self-centered; Unaffected by joy and sorrow, praise and blame – secure in his divine nature; regarding with an equal eye a clod of clay, a stone, and gold; the same in his attitude toward pleasant or unpleasant (men and experiences); firm-minded; Uninfluenced by respect or insult; treating friend and enemy alike; abandoning all delusions of personal doership – he it is who has transcended the triple qualities!”

Posture Analysis


Shoulders: appears neutral from this view, however, upper torso sways to the subjects left causing a misalignment in several areas.
Lower ribs: aligned
ASIS/PSIS: misalignment between both the anterior and posterior points of reference (top of hip and top point of pelvis).
Anterior View

Shoulders: this view better illustrates the pull to the left and shows quite a difference in the levels of the shoulders, the right being significantly lower than the left.
You can see here that the subjects lower right lumbar region is compensating for the misalignment of his upper torso.
Posterior View

Shoulders: some medial rotation.
Hips: slight hyperextension in the hip/lumbar region.
Knees: neutral.
Side View

Knees: neutral.
Knee View

Ankles: planter.
Feet/Ankle View 1

Feet: pronated.
Feet/Ankle View 2

Upper back: although not a good picture to view, subjects upper back/shoulder area is tilted to the left side.  The subjects Cervical, Thoracic and Lumbar regions are misaligned – subject suffers from lower back pain.
Lower back: lumbar region is flat, due to the misalignment of the spine. 
Back/Spine Anterior View

Back/Spine Posterior View

Light on Life – B.K.S. Iyengar: A Book Review

The following is a brief synopsis and personal interpretation of the above-mentioned book written by Yoga Guru and legend B.K.S. Iyengar.
This book illustrates the personal journey and story of B.K.S Iyengar.  Light on Life is an emotional, spiritual and personal journey of an individual to aspire to, for those who are taking the yoga journey and for those who perhaps need some form of inspiration. 
Each chapter provides a descriptive explanation of the Five Sheaths of Being (Kosas), which could also be defined as one of the fundamental platforms of Yoga.
There appears to be a distinct progression throughout the book, building to a climax from the first chapter, however, the author is quick to clarify this is not the case, stressing that each level is as vital as the next to reaching “wholeness” and working in harmony.
As a relative newcomer to Yoga I found this literature a sound introduction to the theory behind the history and practice of Yoga.  I found the way the author related personal obstacles throughout his life to the framework he was explaining, to be of great value enabling the reader to digest some of the more complex subject matter a little easier.  It also prompts the reader to reflect on their own challenges, past and present, and how they may have tackled those obstacles differently. 
Additionally, the book offers a realistic and sustainable solution to making improvements in any aspect of their lives and is not limited to Yogis or advanced Yoga students, but is accessible for anybody motivated to make these improvements and would recommend it accordingly.

“When I practice I am a philosopher,

When I teach I am a scientist,

When I demonstrate I am an artist.”

B.K.S. Iyengar

Enzyme (home-made environmental friendly)

1)  to do dishes and laundry( add about 20ml to full load of laundry, 40ml to 500ml of detergent)
2) for washing bathrooms and toilets( act as a booster to cleaners)
3) for removing stubborn stains
4) to clean vegetables and fruits
5) clear blockages in kitchen sinks and drains
6) as a natural insect repellent (use undiluted) for ants, cockroaches..
7) as a floorwash to mop floors shiny clean( add a small cap to floor cleansers for a full pail of water)
8 ) as fertiliser for vegetables, flowering and non-flowering plants
9) as a skincare product, e.g. facial cleanser( great for oily hair, add about a teaspoon to each wash for scalp cleansing!!! tried it and loved it!! saved alot on hair treatment!)
Things to prepare :
10L of water
3kg of fresh Fruit skin ( I prefer citrus fruits example pineapple, orange, lime, lemon)
1Kg of Brown sugar
Mix and stir everything together to dissolve the sugar and place it in a sealed container, air tight please!! you would never want the smell to diffuse to any part of your home. Place it in a safe place ( where no spillage will occur) for 3 months. You can speed up the process by adding 2 tablespoons of yeast which will take about 2 weeks instead of 3 months for full fermentation.( i have never tried using yeast). I suggest you fill the final product in small bottles for easy excess usage. This about should last almost more than 6 months.
My family has been a avid user for a few years!! We are very please with the results and whats most important we are saving the earth. With so many products introduced every year but only a few guarantee to be bio-degradable. It is a factor that affects a lot of developing countries, with toxics pumping into open seas and rivers. Affecting eco system in seas. Lets do a small little part right in our homes.

Garbha Pindasana (Womb Embryo)

Tiny thoughts:
“Slippery when Wet.” That is the way to go for this pose. Do your primary series and you will reach this position towards the end and it will make it easier to do the asana and smile(with satisfaction as you are reaching the end of the practice). Try when you have not sweat it out before the Primary Series and then try again in the flow of PS. Try it! You will know what I mean.
Dristi point: Nose
Chakra: Manipura
Benefits:

  1. Reduces excess fat in the body especially in the abdominal region due to total contraction during the asana.
  2. The digestive system of the body improves due to the regular practice of this posture. It also prevents all kinds of stomach illnesses.
  3. Provides exercise to both the upper and the lower body
  4. Exercise that might help get you to the perfect Asana:
  5. Lots of hip flexors( Baddha Konanasana)
  6. Core, which helps to loosen the fats around the trunk.
  7. Strengthen the knees

Hip Adductors (Inner Thigh) / groin muscle and inner quad muscle (VMO) Strengthening: Sit in chair, put fist between knees, squeeze together knees. Hold for count of 10. Relax for count of 3. Do 10 repetitions.
Lie on floor on your right side, shoulder and hips aligned. Use your right hand to prop up your head. Place the left hand on floor in front of you to help balance yourself. Bend left leg and bring it to the floor in front of you. Slowly raise your right leg about 10 inches off the floor then, hold for a second, then slowly lower leg to ground. Lift 10 times on each side.
Hip Abductors (Outer Thigh) strengthening: Lie on floor on your right side, shoulder and hips aligned. Bend right leg (leg on floor) to 90 degrees.Slowly raise you left leg about 18 inches, hold for a second, then slowly lower leg.Do 10 repetitions. Repeat on other side.
Instructions:
Place the legs in full lotus.
Slide elbows through the 2 gaps formed from the lotus pose.
Place the chin in between the palms
Variation: Roll back and fourth clockwise nine times with deep breathing OR roll back and fourth nine times in a straight line
Note:
Overweight people may find it relatively hard to pass their arms through the gaps between their calves and thighs. However, the arms can be more readily passed through the gap if one raises oneself just a bit after placing legs in Full Lotus
www.syvum.com/cgi/online/serve.cgi/fun/yoga
www.bigkneepain.com/knee-exercises.html#kneestrengtheningexercises

Navasana

Navasana (Nava=Boat)
Tiny thoughts:
Engage your abdominal muscles babe!
I am terrible at this pose but I am about to change things around! The next time, you will be hearing. “I love this Asana!”
I have been working on my abs. Sitting in a V-shape with my sit bones grounded to the floor and holding up one leg at a time. Then holding both legs up above the ground, ENGAGE your CORE!!! I hear myself saying to myself again and again. Then I will let go of both my arms and “PLOP!” my legs fall THUD onto the ground. So.. bring it up again!!!
This helps: Rotate your thighs inward and SQUEEZE… Lengthen your spine and lift your sternum..
Anatomical focus:
Thyroid
Dristi point: Toes
Chakra: Muladhara and Swadhishthana
Benefits:

  1. Strengthens the abdomen, hip flexors, and spine
  2. Stimulates the kidneys, thyroid and prostate glands, and intestines

Contraindications:

  1. Asthma
  2. Diarrhea
  3. Headache
  4. Heart problems
  5. Insomnia
  6. Low blood pressure
  7. Menstruation
  8. Pregnancy

Neck injury: Sit with back against the wall to perform this pose. As you tilt your head back, rest the back of your head on the wall.
Prop for help!
Often its difficult to straighten the raised legs. Bend your knees and loop a strap around the soles of your feet, gripping firmly in your hands. Inhale, lean the torso back, then exhale and lift and straighten your legs, adjusting the strap to keep it taut. Push the feet firmly against the strap.
Instructions:
Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you. Press your hands on the floor a little behind your hips, fingers pointing towards the feet and strengthen the arms. Lift through the sternum and lean back slightly. Make sure your back is straight; continue to lengthen the front of your torso between the pubis and the top sternum. Sit on the ‘tripod’ of your sit bones and tailbone.
Exhale and bend your knees, then lift your feet off the floor. Lengthen your tailbone into the floor and lift your pubis toward your navel. Straighten your knees, raising the tips of toes slightly above eye level.
Stretch your arms alongside the legs, parallel to each other and the floor. Spread the shoulder blades across your back and reach strongly out through the fingers.
Try to keep the lower abdomen flat. Press heads of the thigh bones toward the floor to help anchor the pose and lift the top sternum. Breathe easily. Tip the chin slightly toward the sternum so the base of the skull lifts lightly away from the back of the neck.
Release the legs with an exhalation and sit upright on an inhalation.

Quick view on type 2 Diabetes with help of yoga postures

Diabetes means that the body does not produce or use  insulin properly. Many studies have reported the beneficial effect of the practice of yoga on diabetes. Type 2 Diabetics made up 90 to 95 percent of Diabetics.It is a scary thought that we could so much harm to our body.Reason for type 2 Diabetics is a metabolic disorder in which the body does not respond to the effects of the hormone insulin. This is known as insulin resistance. In addition, some people with type 2 diabetes also may not produce sufficient amounts of insulin in the pancreas.

The pancreas contains enzyme producing cells that secrete two hormones. The two hormones are insulin and glucagon. Insulin and glucagon are secreted directly into the bloodstream, and together, they regulate the level of glucose in the blood.The cause of abnormal pancreatic function in diabetics is insulin resistance, it happens when cells stops responding to insulin means it does allow glucose to enter it. which in return will increase glucose in blood and it gets higher and higher. As long as there is too much glucose in blood and too little in cells, the Pancreas will continue to produce insulin to pull glucose level down. It is a vicious cycle.This is how Diabetics occurs.
Long term damages:
kidney failure, diabetic retinopathy and blindness, peripheral neuropathy,  serious skin infections, cardiovasculars disease, stroke, disability, osteoporosis, Alzheimers disease, hearing damage and death.

Studies  have confirm that the practice yoga asanas can rejuvenate the insulin producing cells in the pancreas of diabetics of BOTH types, and that doing the postures in a relaxed manner, without exertion, meditation and pranayama help most patients to control the causes of diabetes.

Here are some asanas which will benefit Diabetics

Marichyasana ABCD, Dhanurasana (Bow pose,) Paschimottanasana(Sitting crane), Padangusthasana (Standing crane), Sarvangasana(Shoulder stand), Spinal twist, halasana (Plough pose)

These postures will help to massage abdominal organs like intestine, stimulate peristalsis, tones and massage the liver and pancreas. And also do wonders by stretching the kidneys.

Philosophy

Chakras
There are seven locations of the principle chakras from lower end of spinal column to the crown of the head: Muladhara, Swadhisthana, Manipura, Anahata,Vishuddha, Ajan and Sahasrara.  As the place to store subtle and vital energy forces, each chakra represents a state of consciousness with particular characters and corresponds to the seven lokas, astral or mental planes.  The philosophy of chakras is very helpful when practising Yoga.  I will focus on the following two chakras.
 Muladhara locates at the lower end of the spinal column and represents the Earth principle, which bestows breath and mind control, and knowledge of past, present and future.  Surya Bhedana Pranayma and Uddiyana Bandha can be the good examples to hold breath and lock Muladhara chakra to heat the body.
 Swadhisthana locates at the genital organs and represents Water element, which confers psychic powers, intuitional knowledge and knowledge of astral entities. To practise Bhujangasana and Vamadevasana can strengthen the genital organs, as well as Swadhisthana chakra.
Meditation
Meditation is a way of focusing your mind and stimulating body cells, as well as an agent to help us to reach chakras. As a particular posture, Padnasana is well known for its effectiveness to concentrate our attention on breathing, mind cleansing and soul pursuing.
There are various forms of meditation, Padnasasa is not necessary if you are not comfortable with the posture, you can sit anywhere with any posture and start to meditate by closing your eyes, controlling your breath and focusing on something.  You can meditate by your own or with a group of people.
For better effect, do not meditate after meal.  After shower will be an ideal time to relax and meditate.
 Nose cleansing
There are two ways of nose cleansing: Jala Neti and Sutra Neti. The previous one is comparatively easy by pouring salt water into one nostril, then raises the head and blows the excess water out of the nostril; or, raises the head and allows salt water to flow down into the throat and out of the month.  The latter one sounds difficult: insert the catheter into the nostril, and then draw it out through mouth slowly and carefully by using the index finger and thumb.  I tried both and found they are very useful to treat my sinus.

Vrschikasana

Vrschikasana
Introduction
“Vrscika” is a scorpion. This pose in its advanced stage resembles a scorpion with its tail arched back over its head for attacking.  It requires strength on  the shoulder and upper back, although when in the position, little strength is needed as you find your balance and relaxation into this posture.
The Posture
As a comparatively difficult posture, for beginner I suggest you to do it against the wall for safely purpose. Place your  forearms and hands on the ground of shoulder-width, walk your feet towards your body then one leg at a time, place your feet or heels against the wall push your hips slightly forward and tighten your buttock for support, your eyes look down to your hands. So,  please do not force yourself to lift up if you have weak spine or spine problems. To recover, reverse your path slowly and carefully then move into the child’s pose so that your head and neck are supported in line with the rest of your spine.
Benefits
People who can practise this posture usually with a very stable mind and strong will.  Of course you can also enhance your balancing, improve lung function, stimulate inner muscles and train a stronger spine.