We completed the presentation of “Siddhis: The mystic powers from meditation -2” yesterday. You can find the slides, audio and video recordings here.
We studied various threads in the chapter on Siddhis. Patanjali has a lot of sub sequences in the Chapter on Siddhis with each sub sequence talking about mystic powers when mastery (Siddhi) is attained over an aspect of nature. We saw several practical aspects of what a mind settled from meditation can do. For example, we studied the Prana in detail.
If you have questions and would like me to do these sutra presentations again for your group, please send me an email. You can also contact me via the facebook page dedicated for this purpose.
Tomorrow, we will continue to study the inner realms of the mind with the topic of “The Siddhis – Mystic Powers from Meditation -2”. You can find the registration information, the slides of both parts and the recording of the 1st presentation here.
When some Buddhist monks were flown to Dr. Richard Davidson’s laboratory in the Univ. of Wisconsin and were hooked up with EEG electrodes on their heads to study the Chitta, they started laughing and pointed to the heart as the location of the Chitta.
Many of the Siddhis may sound lofty and beyond reach for most of us, but there are a lot of practical benefits even if these powers have not been perfected. In the first presentation of the Siddhis we discussed Praathibha or divine intuition. Intuition is one of the greatest gifts various limbs of yoga gives us. Our body is the best lie detector, not our brain. There are other siddhis that Patanjali talks about which even in their unperfected state have a lot of benefit, like harnessing the Pranic energies, Udhana and Samana. Have you ever noticed, how the body feels light on certain days during asana practice and heavy like iron on other days ? Have you felt the fire burning deep in your gut and the effect it has on your clarity of thinking and the motivation to get things done ? These come from Udhana and Samana respectively.
The Sanskrit word “sutra” and the english word “suture” share the same root which means thread. Just as Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita that “these worlds are strung on me like gems on a string”, the yoga sutras are like gems of knowledge woven on a thread of a sequential flow of understanding.
People who have done Vinyasa or flow yoga, especially Ashtanga Vinyasa, will know the importance of maintaining a “flow state” using the Ujjayi breath and the bandhas and not staying excessively long in a pose, lest they should lose their flow state. Studying the yoga sutras is just like doing Vinyasa flow yoga or like crossing a stream by running on rocks. The teacher needs to keep the students engaged and progress through the sutras at a healthy pace to maintain the thread of continuity. Stay too long and you enter a state of lassitude; stay too less and your mind does not settle down.
“…….While it is a great thing, indeed, for one to discover the yoga sutras, the one problem with trying to study the yoga sutras directly without previous exposure to yogic concepts, is for example, akin to doing the third series of ashtanga yoga without knowing the fundamentals of Hatha Yoga from the first series – namely the bandhas, the ujjayi breathing, the Dhrishti and body awareness.
I have been doing presentations on the Yoga Sutras where we study the sanskrit meanings of the sutras, listen to the chants and correlate with other yogic texts. We studied several self contained units like the “The yoga practice as defined by Patanjali” and “Foundation for Ashtanga Yoga”. Another self contained set included “Ashtavangani 1 & 2”. Now we will study the third set : Siddhis – the mystic powers from meditation 1 & 2.
I had already presented “Siddhis-1” earlier this year but for the sake of continuity will offer it again along with part 2. Please register if you are interested. You can find more information below. If you are interested in having me host this from your studio, please let me know.
The previous yoga sutra slides and presentations can be found here:
My desire is to help people get a succinct and clear understanding of the sutras along with the Sanskrit word-by-word meanings, the context and the larger message by connecting with other yogic texts. My goal is to make it interesting and practical while sticking to tradition.
Indian Mythology has a lot of ‘Sukshmams’ which means subtleties in the plots. For example the density and interconnection of the plots in Mahabharatha, the longest and one of the greatest epics in the world, is far more that that in any mystery or detective novel.
One practical benefit of doing Pashasana is that by learning to relax in a deep twist like Pashasana and breathing normally, one is able to handle difficult situations like physical pain, being in a MRI machine etc. with a lot more ease than without this training. The symbolism is that when Yama, the lord of death (and also the lord of fairness and Dharma) casts his celestial Lasso called the Pasha to retreive the atma, one is able to let go if the body with a lot more ease.
Indian Mythology, especially the Mahabharata, considered the longest and one of the greatest epics in the world, is rich in symbolism through stories. In the second part of the “Mythology and Symbolism behind Asanas” series, we will look at asanas named after great yogis and rishis and also look at asanas named after mythical and worldly creatures. We will use several stories from the Mahabharatha to illustrate the symbolism behind the asanas. We will, for example, in the context of bakasana (Crane pose) see some riddles from one of the 5 gems in Mahabharatha, named “Yaksha Prashna or Dharma Baka Upakhyana”, the Riddles of the forest spirit (Yaksha) on Dharma.
You can find more details on this presentation (taking place on Sat. July 16, 2022 at 1:30 pm PDT)here. You can access the 1st part and other presentations here.
Last Monday, we had this presentation titled “An introduction to Yoga Philosophy”. In this presentation, we looked into the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali to understand the core concept of yoga philosophy. The Yoga Sutras are like a scientific treatise for yoga and just like any other scientific treatise is difficult to understand. The Bhagavad Gita, on the other hand, is Bhagawan Krishna’s poem on the basis of yoga philosophy amongst other things, delivered to a lay person, Arjuna, and is therefore easy to understand. Hence these two are used in conjunction to explain the “why” of yoga.