It all begins at the tailbone is the first Svaroopa® Yoga Sutra. You ask what is a Sutra, it is a statement about the principles of yoga, the philosophy behind the yoga practice. Used in ancient times to pass down the wisdom of yoga philosophy to students. The most famous book of Sutras is Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras which gives the teachings of the ancient yogis. Today in Svaroopa® Yoga my teacher Swami Nirmalanda gives us Svaroopa Sutras to help us understand the underlying philosophy of why and how Svaroopa® Yoga works.
It all begins at the tailbone is also our first Sutra which means it is the most important one. We believe that all of the tensions in the spine first start at the tailbone and as those tensions climb the spine they create physical, mental and emotional health problems. The good news is that as you release those tensions the healing process climbs your spine also providing healing from chronic illness, pain and stress.
Part of what makes this Sutra so important is to understand the way we tighten our spinal muscles and how that effects our health. Unlike the ancient sages we are not monks living in a cave doing yoga and meditation all day long. We live out in the world and there are so many things that cause you to tighten your tailbone, even though you may not even feel it happening! Just think about driving, if you have a long commute it is not just the long time sat in the car (which can be very tightening and even painful) but someone cuts you off suddenly your temper flairs and your tailbone tightened! As I look out my window and see the last of the leaves falling from the trees I know what I will be doing this weekend, raking. How will my shoulders feel after that? If my shoulders hurt how much did I tighten the rest of my spine?
The good news is there is help, do a little more yoga! Do a little more Svaroopa® Yoga. Luckily the Magic 4 takes only about 20 minutes to do, or do any other spinal sequence to take the changes from the tailbone to the top of your spine. You have so many options, the Daily Practice theme we finished in September has hopefully helped empower you to do yoga at home on your own. Still not comfortable with doing yoga on your own? You can add an extra yoga class in one week, or better yet sign up for a private session to really get a deep opening in the tight muscles of your spine. You have so many options to carry over the blissful feeling you have at the end of class! Treat yourself to more – more yoga, more healing, more you!
® Svaroopa is a Registered Service Mark of Svaroopa Teachings Collection, Inc. used under license.
via Daily Prompt: Criticize
How do I criticize myself? Let me count the ways. Self criticism is so internal that no one necessarily knows I’m doing it but me. The thousands of thoughts that run through my head on a daily basis are rarely positive. I’m fat, frumpy, not good enough a failure, etc. Why are we so hard on ourselves?
Like any problem realization and acceptance are a start to stopping the inner critic in my mind. Like most problems I face my yoga and meditation practice helps me to begin to control my inner thoughts. Yoga helps me still the constant replay of mostly negative thoughts. In fact the goal of yoga is to still the modifications (thoughts) of the mind.
There is a flip side to self-criticism, I am not unknown to criticize others. Often when I think or say something negative about another it is not to their face. So I realize I can and should be kinder to myself and others.
The word itself criticize has a negative connotation, but constructive criticism is helpful, necessary and often provides an opportunity for growth. So much of whether criticism is helpful or harmful is in the delivery. So before I speak to myself, to others and especially about others I am going to pause, think and maybe rephrase to positive, constructive statements! How lucky I am to have found Svaroopa(R) Yoga to help me along the way.
One of the most famous text on yoga is Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. In the text Patanjali explains what yoga is. In Sutra 1.2 he says:
I.K. Taimni translates this as:
“Yoga is the inhibition of the modifications of the mind” 1
Your first question might be what are modifications of the mind? We just don’t speak like that today. Modifications of the mind is the chatter that at least for me is constantly going on subtly in the background of my mind. Citta-vrtti is the sanskrit for these modifications and it always strikes me as the word itself almost sounds like chatter.
The modifications and chatter in your mind takes me back to 8 track tapes. In the 70’s you could buy an album on an 8 track tape to play in your car. In what now looking back was a rather large player that attached to your car radio. We didn’t have car stereos back then and certainly couldn’t carry a whole collection of music on one little tiny I-pod. I guess I’m really showing my age.
This sutra reminds me of 8 tracks because in most peoples minds there is usually several streams of thought (tracks) going on at any one moment. Fewer streams since I started yoga but always more than one. Stop for a moment, close your eyes and notice the thoughts in your mind. How many different tracks do you have?
Everyone has constant thoughts going through their head. Yoga helps you stop the modifications of the mind, stop the chatter, stop the chitta-vrtti’s. This is why yoga helps you calm and quiet the mind. This for me is why yoga is so helpful in easing stress and anxiety. If the thoughts going through your head are of constant worry and fear what will that do to your body? To your mind? Yoga’s tools of poses, breathing practices and meditation can be used to help you calm the chatter.
Practicing yoga helped me go from 8 tracks of thoughts to one or two at a time. So don’t let the chatter exhaust you, don’t let your thoughts turn you into a hamster on a wheel constantly replaying things over and over in your head. Take a yoga or meditation class and start to still the modifications in your mind. See how much better you feel!
- The Science of Yoga I.K.Taimni p.6
I was looking at my blog site and noticed that last April I had written a blog called signs of spring, with a photo of my daffodils poking up from the ground. The date was April 7, 2015 it was a long hard winter in Boston last year. Flash forward to today February 25, 2016 and those same daffodils are already poking up from the ground! What a difference a year makes.
This winter has seen temperatures fluctuate from -9 to 56 degrees in the space of 3 days. The weather man mentioned that we have had an equivalent amount of precipitation but rain this year instead of snow. Letting out a sigh of relief, I look forward to more and more frequent warm days like today.
Sitting in my sunny dining room and writing this blog I feel an overwhelming sense of contentment and bliss. The sun is warm on my face, NPR is on in the background and I am writing a blog post all things I enjoy.
Yoga says as you immerse yourself in your yoga practice you will open deeper and deeper into consciousness. As you become more and more immersed in your yogic state the structure of your mind changes it becomes more porous things don’t stick to you the way they used to. You are not as dependent on external situations to create your happiness. You don’t need to prop up your state of being with externally pleasurable events.
The weather man says that tonight the temperature will drop, tomorrow is back to cold, cold winter. My mind is more porous then it was a year ago, that forecast doesn’t stick to me, doesn’t bring me down, doesn’t change my state. Today I am enjoying the present moment, the warmth and sunshine, I am content and blissful.Tomorrow hopefully I will stay in my yogic state, in that present moment content and blissful.