Astangajooga Helsinki | Caritashtanga


THE BIG ONE – WHAT IS ASHTANGA YOGA?

Sharath began by talking about the, mostly western, misconceptions of ashtanga being purely physical, purely relating to asana. He said not many people understand what ashtanga yoga truly is. ‘Too many people say, ‘It’s too difficult for me’. This is crazy – anyone can do ashtanga yoga.’

‘It’s important to remember that ashtanga yoga is in fact the eight limbs of yoga: yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi. Each of these limbs is connected. They are steps that need to be gone through before arriving at the final limb, samadhi… Samadhi is like a temple on top of a hill. You can’t just jump right up there, you have to walk up all the steps to reach it.’

There is a need to integrate the yamas (ahimsa – non-harming, asteya – non-stealing,satya – truthfulness, bramacharya – celibacy/continence, aparigraha – non-coveting) and the niyamas (saucha – cleanliness, santosha – contentment, tapas – heat/perseverance, svadhyaya – self-study, ishvara pranidhara – surrender to god/higher consciousness) into daily life.

‘Once you have awareness of the yamas and the niyamas, your actions are more conscious and you make better judgements.’

‘Ashtanga is how we live; how we change our life to embrace the eight limbs. So ashtanga yoga is not just about physical transformation. It’s also about mind transformation and increased awareness. But the asanas are nevertheless very important because they provide us with steadiness of mind and body.’

‘Yoga is becoming very popular these days. Yoga is not related to looks; it happens inside you… Ashtanga is the changes that happen inside you. You have to see the beauty inside you…. You should do yoga because you love it. There shouldn’t be an agenda behind that (e.g. authorisation).’

 

IMPORTANCE OF ASANAS

‘Without asanas we can’t reach higher levels of yoga, but it’s just the beginning. If you don’t embrace the other limbs you’ll get caught up in asanas.‘

‘If you’re caught up in asanas, you’re like a boat sailing endless circles of the world’s oceans; soon you’ll just think of the ocean as surface water. But as soon as you delve beneath the ocean’s surface, you see there’s a world of infinite beauty down there, that was there all the time.’

The joyous, piercing scream of a happy baby then filled the room. Sharath looked over to the baby and said, ‘You see, even he agrees with me!‘, and then, ‘I need to meet this little guy.’ The baby was passed to Sharath, where it sat on his knee contentedly playing with his car keys. He gazed down at the baby and said, ‘They are like gods, they don’t have any delusions in them.‘

After this little interlude, once the baby was reunited with its parents, he continued on the previous theme:

‘To bring stability to body and mind, we need to do asana first… A solid asana practice cures mental disorders and calms the mind.‘

 

PURITY OF FOCUS / DHARMA

‘If you try and do too many things it becomes a mess… You need to find the thing you’re good at and stick to it. It is not possible to do too many things… To be a yoga teacher you have to totally immerse yourself in and surrender yourself to this practice.’

He told us how he has been immersed in the practice and teaching since his youth; how he gets up at 12:30 to do his own practice before teaching; how he is totally focused on yoga and teaching.

‘Delusions, distractions and attractions can prevent you from realising what it is that you’re good at. Once you find it, you need to dedicate yourself to it.‘

 

Q & A

Someone asked a question about how to practise when you get older and find the asanas more difficult and painful:

‘Pain is there. No pain no gain. When the body is changing there is pain… You can hurt your body by trying to prove things, and by performing. Know your limitations… Don’t get so attached to the asana thing… Your body will change but your state of mind shouldn’t change. Become wiser in your thoughts… I used to be able to catch the backs of my knees. Now I can’t. So what?… Asana practice is just physical at first, until you develop wisdom… The yoga is what happens inside you – that should be alive all the time.’

 

Someone then asked what happens if you miss a practice, for example if you sleep through your alarm:

‘Early morning practice keeps your mind and body stable. If you don’t practise for a few days, your mind is all over the place. Much less stable.’ He retorted that sleeping through your alarm is not what he wants to hear as an excuse if you skip practice. But then he conceded that, it happens sometimes and it’s OK – we’re only human. He also helpfully told us to set two alarms!

Someone asked about when you can start learning pranayama:

‘Before you can teach someone pranayama, their breathing in the vinyasas needs to be very stable. Your guru tells you when you’re ready… You need proper guidance in pranayama, it’s very complex. Without guidance you can go crazy!… First you need a purified nervous system and strong lungs. You can’t just do it straightaway… If you don’t do it properly you can invite diseases.’

He followed on from this by reiterating his previous views on sticking to one system:

‘If you follow one system, you have to follow one system… Yoga has become like a buffet now, with so many teachers offering different things. But if you eat everything in a buffet, you will get sick… My grandfather only had one guru his whole life. Everything has a system. If you follow one system it generates positive energy, clarity and clear perception.’

He then elaborated on the importance of having a guru:

‘In every Indian family there used to be a guru who would guide the family. The guru is important, to keep you on the right path… The guru will show you the road but you have to put in the effort.’

Finally, he talked about the interconnection of all matter (and I’m definitely paraphrasing here, so am not sure I truly encapsulated what he was meaning, so any amendments most welcome!):

‘Everything is particles of supreme energy, therefore we are also part of the supreme energy. The ashtanga practice removes delusions, makes us pure and makes us recognise that we are supreme energy… The Bhagavad Gita says that we are all caught up in a mire of magic. Once we escape the mire we realise we’re supreme because everything is connected.’

And that is where my notes stop! So either I zoned out or that was the end – I can’t quite recall. Anyway, as a first conference experience, I really enjoyed listening to Sharath speak – in particular I enjoyed his creative and sometimes poetic analogies. As I said before, next time I will be a bit more diligent in note-taking, as I realise now there’s loads of stuff I missed out.

Until next time… 🙂

 

notes by Becky May

 

 




Nykyään kaikki halutaan valmiiksi pureskeltuna eteen, ota tämä tieto tai osaaminen haltuusi tiettyä korvausta vastaan. Eihän se noin voi onnistua. Kaikki jää vajaaksi, kukaan ei osaa mitään enää kunnolla. Tahdotaan tietoa vähän sieltä täältä. Raapaistaan pintaa vähän joka alueelta. Ei jakseta keskittyä yhteen asiaan ja syventää tietämystä.

Itse mietin paljon joogaa ja sen oivaltamista, koska se on tällä hetkellä niin vahvassa roolissa omassa elämässäni. Joogan tietoa ei voi antaa valmiiksi pureskeltuna. Se on koettava itse. Se ei ole fast foodia, se vie aikaa… se on life time practice. Joogan päämäärä on mielen toimintojen pysäyttäminen, tai edes niiden hiljentäminen. Se onnistuu harjoituksen ja kiinnittämättömyyden kautta. Ensin tulee harjoitus, joka on säännöllistä, jatkuvaa ja pitkäaikaista. Se tarvitsee valtavaa itsekuria (tapas). Joogan päämäärää ei voida saavuttaa ilman harjoitusta. Ensin on tehtävä lujasti töitä. Nykyään puhutaan paljon että pitää elää flow’ssa ja päästä vaan irti, niin asiat tapahtuvat itsestään. Oma näkemys tähän on, että ilman harjoitusta asiat eivät tapahdu tai ainakin asioiden syvyys jää pinnalliseksi. Ensin on harjoiteltava säännöllisesti, ilman taukoja, pitkän ajanjakson. Sitten voimme alkaa päästämään irti, ei kiinnittyä mihinkään aineelliseen tai aineettomaan, kuten työhön, rahaan, asemaan, menestykseen, ihmiseen, hyvän olen tunteeseen.

Olen miettinyt paljon myös joogan opetusta. Siinäkin on sama trendi – kaikki tänne nyt heti – tässä joogan opetus 200 tuntiin tiivistettynä. Se ei vaan onnistu näin. Opettaja voi ainoastaan opettaa perinteen, mutta oppilaan on tehtävä koko työ itse. Oppilaan on harjoiteltava pitkään ja nähtävä kokemuksen kautta kuinka harjoitus toimii. Sitä ei voi oppia kirjoista. Nyt mennään opettajakoulutukseen ennen oman harjoituksen vakiintumista, josta saadaan joogaopettajan diplomi ja samalla tullaan joogeiksi. Kilpailun kiristyminen ja paineet kasvavat alalla. Tämä tarkoittaa, että koulutuksia tulee tulevaisuudessa olemaan vieläkin enemmän.

Myöskään asanaa ei voi selittää oppilaalle auki, vaan sen voi kokea ainoastaan tekemisen kautta, kuten kaikki muutkin joogan 8 haaraa. Yaman ja niyaman voi lukea kirjasta ulkoa, mutta oppia ne voi ainoastaan oman kokemuksen kautta soveltamalla niitä omaan elämään. Tähän perustuu myös Sri K. Pattabhi Joisin sanonta ”99% practice, 1% theory”. Tämä siis pitää sisällään astangajoogan kaikki kahdeksan haaraa. Kyse ei siis ole vain asanaharjoituksesta.

 

Practice practice and all is coming. –lyhyesti ja ytimekkäästi piste.

Om Mysore life <3

 




Notes by Josh Pryor
facebook.com/pariahyoga

What is the benefit of doing these limbs, what is the purpose? By following these we remove impurities, physical and mental. Then we have better clarity, jnana will flow within you, spiritual knowledge, you become wiser. This is the benefit, the advantage of practicing ashtanga. Applying all the limbs, you can come closer to the last one, samadhi.

We have been discussing yama and niyama, that no one can begin and follow immediately, transformation happens slowly, your practice is what makes the change. 99% practice my grandfather said, not too much talking.

There are many asanas, as we have said, for every living being, for every nervous system, only Shiva knows them all. Some asana are not recommended for women, some are not for family men. There are lots of different types, so what is good for us? In the past yoga was only for sannyasi with no attachments, no family. Krishnamacayra changed this, he taught his wife and his children, through him people came to know that everybody can learn yoga. Everyone started practicing.

The process brings oneness within us, self transformation, this is why we do the asana, chanting, study. If we just party all the time, just feeling good, smoking, transformation is not happening. It is the changes that happen in you, it changes perceptions, thoughts, actions and reactions.

The six poisons each of us carry, kama (desire), krodha (anger), moha (delusion), lobha (greed), matsarya (envy) and mada (sloth).

In the ocean, how do you find a pearl? [Asks students for possible answers]

The pearl can be found inside a shell, and unless you break open the shell you can’t see it. Inside you there is purity, like this pearl. It is so attractive, your heart is this, so beautiful, covered up by these six shells. Once we break through the shells, through practice, then you have better understanding, you are able to see and realise what is inside each of us.

So again, the sadhana is very important. This is the purpose of asana, not for showing off, there is no use in doing asana if the changes are not happening within, with yama and niyama.

As you master asana, with many years practice, you can do pranayama, contraction of breath. The body is controlled by mind, and the mind controlled by the breath you take. Extend breath and extend life. First need to have lungs and nervous system strengthened through asana. Every day in asana we are doing basic pranayama to build this strength. I have personally applied this with many people, those with health problems, basic breathing technique brings lots of benefits. Sometimes we forget that this progress is coming.

After pranayama is pratyahara. Everything becomes one within you, this is the state of pratyahara, when the mind comes close to the divine. God doesn’t have a form, we have created these forms. For man, god is a superman, for a monkey, god is a super monkey, for tiger, a super tiger. God doesn’t have any form, with higher consciousness, you can become god.

[Sharath tells story from the Uttar Ramayana, where Hanuman, as the biggest disciple of Rama (an incarnation of Vishnu), had to show his devotion by fighting Rama. Rama draws his bow and arrow, Hanuman does nothing but chant “Rama Rama Rama” and so becomes Rama himself, unaffected by the arrows]

There is delusion. The six poisons make us think that we are not part of nature, part of the divine. Every day you are breathing, do you know this? Who is making you breathe? You cannot say. You are part of nature. Who is making everything happen? Everything is energy, god is nothing but energy.

If you don’t have something, don’t worry. When you become attached life becomes miserable. When the mind is free there is progress.

Q: Sometimes in practice we have fear, how do we overcome this?

A: I have a sutra for this: “no fear, no fun!” You should have fun, with no effort there is no enjoyment. Everyone has fear, fear makes it special. When the fear is gone, you still have to be careful, if kapotasana is easy you still need to do properly.

Q: What about bad things that happen, is it god’s will?

A: Last year there was a huge flood in the Himalayas, afterwards investigation found that man had blocked the passage of water with hundreds of dams. If you block something, nature will find another way. With disaster, it is very bad that it happens, but it is part of nature.

With human crime, this is ignorance. People are destroying so much, we create global warming, India had 80% forest, people vanish the forest. It is not only humans that are important. How many plants have you killed in your life?

Save nature, nature saves you. How many wild animals have you fed and cared for? How many trees have you planted? There were 85,000 tigers in India, now only 2,000. Each and every species is very important. We have invited destruction, there is a lot of connection between us and these events.

People ask me, will I have a third child, I say “No I will plant some trees instead!” For one person we need three hectares of forest, good air. Polluted air pollutes the mind. Destruction isn’t “god’s will”, it is caused by actions. Before the flood, many animals went further up the mountains to survive, they sensed it happening. We have to be sensitive.

[Sharath shows a photo he took in a jungle one hour away, it shows a leopard next to part of the trunk of an enormous 800 year old tree, the leopard is completely dwarfed by the tree]

Think about your last five years. Write down how many good and bad things you have done. Make a list. What have I taken, what have I taken that I did not need?

Small things can change the world, one tree gives air to many people. Once you start caring for everything, not just humans, perception changes. Plant more trees and have less children, plant enough trees to be able to support the children you create.




Notes by Josh Pryor
facebook.com/pariahyoga

Yoga is sadhana, this means many years of practice with guidance. Without guidance it is impossible to reach higher levels of realisation. Books are very good, academia, but real experience you need, with guidance. Guru will remove obstacles and ignorance, taking towards brightness, jnana.

Doing advanced series, having flexible body, does not make you enlightened. Application of sutras in daily life is what takes you there, thoughts become action. Following ahimsa brings good thoughts. Satya also to ourselves and in interactions with others.

Youtube is not parampara! A student once came, he said he has studied much youtube video, but when practicing, there is no dristi, breath incorrect, open hands when they should be closed. People forget aspects of yoga over time, not just asana. There is a method, if not followed it becomes a circus. You can relish your practice, enjoy it, do it from your heart, then it initiates. The process that happens within you, you have to allow it to happen.

If you want to know the depth of the sea, you can keep sailing and sailing all around the world, but you come to the wrong conclusion. Only when you go inside, then you can know, see the beautiful things underneath. Until you go inside you don’t see what is there. You can keep reading books, but until you practice in-depth understanding is not starting to unfold.

In saucha there are two types, internal and external. Internal cleanliness means our body should be cleared of toxins, by doing asana our mind is cleared and good thoughts allowed to build. External means our mat, clothes must be clean, and our body bathed.

Santosa also happens not just on the outside. Some people you see smiling, but they are not satisfied, inside there is competition and wanting. Some other people are always unhappy, even when they get what they want. Being born is a gift, how you use it is very important, relish each moment. Things may seem the same, like this conference, same people and same place, yet still slightly different. Santosa is not having something, it is to be grateful. Half of your stress will come down then.

Tapas also, discipline, sometimes people think it means being hard to yourself, like military strictness. It is consistency, maintaining a suitable lifestyle, not excessive sleep. My grandfather taught for 70 years, waking at 3am, teaching, he would not eat until 2pm, only taking coffee or glass of milk before then. You should not do this though! [laughter]

Svadyaha, self study, it’s not that you believe you don’t need a teacher, it is additional personal study. Like today, I am talking about sadhana, so you study after. Conference, there are different kinds, you can use in different ways. Teacher giving knowledge, also entertainment, stories.

[Sharath tells a favourite story from his childhood, about cheeky monkey convincing a tiger not to eat him].

Real application is what we want, what we should concentrate on.
Very important for sadhakas to know and realise in their own practice.

Q: Sometimes all the intensity of asana takes me away from depth and I get distracted by sensations, how do we maintain?

A: You can put more focus into asana. Pain is always there, when you are doing asana or somewhere else, it’s just a different sort. When doing asana, your attention is coming, it must be there. During kapotasana, is your attention there, and do you realise that your mind in that moment has stopped thinking other things? Attention must be there. If you just leave your mind idle, there is so much wandering. Asana brings focus, this is the depth. The concentration grows strong, with many years practice and with good intention. Intention is very important, like a knife, can be used to cut sweet fruit, or to injure. Again, you can try, stop practicing for 15 days, you will see how nice your mind was, how your concentration was.

Q: When practicing with a guru is so important, what if our guru is very famous and we are unable to get a place to study with him?

A: Then you know the value of the guru! [laughter] There are so many students here, lots of good intentions. Energy levels are very high.

[Sharath tells story about a young, enlightened, Buddha-like boy who drew crowds of people without speaking, just being present, doing his own yoga, at a tree where people would congregate]

Q: With the primary series, is there a goal or a theme, why were these poses chosen?

A: There is a goal and there is not a goal. Some students have goals, some not. These poses were chosen to cure diseases. Strengthen and stretches body, heals the body. Janusirsana, maricyasana, kurmasana and supta kurmasana, these are very good for health. You should not have a goal, if you do, frustration can come. Just keep doing.

Q: When we jump through to seated is it okay if we need to take extra breaths?

A: You can take extra breaths. Use surya namaskar, with more practice you can build strong lungs, full breathing.

[Sharath tells story about Guruji having to go to hospital before travelling to Australia because he had some small phlegm in his lungs, they asked him to blow into a device to measure lung capacity, and his breath was so strong they had to ask him to stop because he might break the machine]

Q: As we practice, we add new poses, when we get older can we have poses cut from our practice?

A: Mind stays young as the body ages. Some poses I used to do 10 years ago I am not doing now, with so much teaching. Effort must be there, otherwise laziness. Don’t say “I am old”, that is just the body. Bhagavad Gita says everyone has 100 years, don’t waste. Socialising is important but that is not life.

Spiritual life, self-realisation is the most important, going in search.




Notes by Josh Pryor
facebook.com/pariahyoga

Sharath began by recapping the Tristana discussed last conference, and then raised the question of the importance of bandha.

There are three most important bandha. Jalandhara is locking the chin, Mula is locking the anus, Uddiyana is below the navel. This is described in many texts, the Mula, is of most importance. It is the source, the base. One verse says “always mula bandha”, this means when walking, sitting, everything. There are so many aspects to this, so much philosophy as well. It is the source to control the mind. Another verse says “old man who can control mula bandha, will become young again”.

The five great elements, what is their source? Many people do not want to believe in a god, finding it scary. It is the supreme energy, the source of the elements, giving life. You can feel it, just as you feel yoga inside you. A verse says “when practitioner master mula bandha, he becomes king of all the yogis”. It comes with practice, one or two years.

Perfection comes only from practice. Nowadays everything is fast, fast food, everything is takeaway. The process of creation is being skipped, masala dosa takes two days to create from scratch, but when we order we want it fast. If we don’t give the time we won’t know the yoga. Mula takes one or two years, maybe more.

Here, with my Grandfather’s yoga, progress is slowly, slowly, one at a time. So when we practice for two to five years, we can start to know what we are doing. Until then it is physical. We eventually have more clarity within us. Many people get confused, you can tell the difference between people who don’t have in-depth experience, that devotion. Asana can become ego, what we are doing is getting rid of these things.

In-depth experience and better understanding only comes through personal practice. Anyone can read translations of the sutras and then recite out loud. What is required for the individual is sadhana, to be a sadhaka.

A verse says “Guru is remover of obstacles and ignorance, one who takes us towards the brightness of spiritual knowledge”. You can see what happens without parampara. A devoted student dedicates himself to learning from a master, it is different to fleeting, changing practice. Someone asked once, how do you find your guru? If, when you first see him, you have some dislike, but something in your mind persists, you hate him, but you are prepared to learn.

[At this point Sharath’s young son comes on stage to ask his father to announce that they will set of some big firecrackers after conference for Diwali, pictures in the comments]

Q: So what is the process for developing mula bandha?

A: Many asana help, in particular utpluthih, navasana, even jumping through. Jumping into handstand is not it. Utpluthih is a pose, but also just means lift up, bring your body off the ground, like in navasana. If you do mula properly, uddiyana will come automatically. Jalandhara in is some postures, more in pranayama.

Q: Can you tell us more of the story of Patanjali?

A: Patanjali’s words were to bring health to the people, people suffering from physical and mental disease, using three methods. Yoga (clarity, concentration, steadiness), grammar (better speech, conversation, understanding), aryuveda (for some diseases, no side effects, everything natural)

Yoga came before Patanjali also, in the Vedas. When the galaxy started, our existence, that is when yoga started. The Bahagavad Gita has a reminder, Lord Krishna teaches yoga. This is very old knowledge, from parampara. It is timeless, it is pure experience.

Just as soil must be nourished for the flower to blossom, so we must follow the external limbs, yama, niyama, to allow yoga to be nourished. [Sharath describes some experiences of dharana]. Sometimes people are advertising they are in pratyahara or other state, it is impossible to tell, nor can it be advertised.

Q: What on your thoughts on why we get injured?

A: My question to you is why you did not come to practice today! [Laughter – the student answers that she was late and did not want to disturb].

There are lots of reasons for injury. Overdoing it is common, lack of concentration, and from doing other physical exercise. Body can become confused from switching between stiffening and stretching. I played lots of cricket when I was younger, and when I began practicing seriously I could tell the difference, body is changing, brings pain, you have to allow it.

I would prefer to do 10 asana perfectly than many with imperfection. If mind is somewhere else, injury can come. A kind of meditation should arise over time as you get deeper in your asana. Concentrate on your own practice, not other people! If you do this, you become focused, your practice will change.

I have done many demonstrations, when I do, as soon as I begin asana I become unaware of the people and what is going on around me. Only through much practice, giving attention entirely to practice. You can get to another level of yoga. Try it.

Q: We have been talking about meditation this conference, should we be meditating outside our practice?

A: Meditation is an English word, what does it mean? [Student proposes “one pointed mind”].

It is not a real word in Sanskrit. A verse says that vision is often directed externally, when we draw attention inwardly, external stimulus will not bother you. Meditation is usually external, more like drishti.

Bring peace within you, you can call this dhyana, try to be calm, quiet, not disturbed. There is difference between dhyana and meditation. It can happen any time, again, like the flower bed, nourish the soil and it can happen spontaneously.




Mantrat ovat useimmiten sanskritinkielisiä pyhiin kirjoituksiin perustuvia resitoitavia tavuja, rukouksia tai tarinoita. Mantran toistamista joko ääneen tai hiljaa mielessä käytetään hengellisenä harjoituksena. Mantrat syntyivät varhaisessa hindulaisuudessa ja myöhemmin niiden käytön omaksuivat myös buddhalaiset, jainalaiset ja sikhiläiset.

Sanskritin sana mantra koostuu juuresta man- ”ajatella” (myös sanasta manas, ”mieli”)  ja päätteestä -tra (sanasta trayate, vapautua), joten käännös sanalle voisi olla ”mielen vapauttaminen”.

Resitoinnilla on mieltä keskittävä, puhdistava ja parantava vaikutus. Joidenkin kirjainyhdistelmien värähtely vaikuttaa suoraan sisäelimiin, verenkiertoon ja hermostoon.

Astangajoogassa tunnetaan yleisesti kolme mantraa: alkumantara, suryanamaskaramantra ja loppumantra.

Alkumantra resitoidaan ennen asanaharjoitusta kädet kara mudrassa, eli kämmenet vastakkain sydämmen kohdalla. Astangan alkumantra on kunnianosoitus Guruille, eli opettajille, ja heidän jumalaiselle tiedolleen, jotka parantavat oppilaiden elämänlaatua ja johtavat kohti korkeimman minuuden oivaltamista.

Om Vande Gurunam charanaravinde
Sandarshita-svatma-sukavabodhe
Nishreyase jangalikayamane
Samsara-halahala-mohashantyai
Abahu-purushakaram
Shankhacakrsi-dharinam
Sahasra- sirasam svetam
Pranamami patanjalim Om

Käännös (Petri Räisänen, Nadi Sodhana)

Kumarran Gurujen lootusjalkoja
jotka kirkastavat paljastetun itsen onnen
jotka ovat korkein hyvä
jotka ottavat viidakon parantajan muodon
poistaakseen elämän ja kuoleman kehrän
myrkyn aiheuttaman harhan.

Shanti mantra eli loppumantra lausutaan asanaharjoituksen päätteeksi kädet kara mudrassa. Se on rukous koko maailmankaikkeuden energian parantamiseksi. Loppumantran avulla suunnataan asentoharjoittelusta saatua enrgiaa, tietoa ja kokemusta epäitsekkäisiin tarkoituksiin, kohti hyvyyttä, ymmärrystä ja rauhaa. Erityisesti sen viimeiset säkeet tunnetaan kaikkialla Intiassa, mikä osoittaa intialaisten suurta suvaitsevaisuutta muita kansoja ja uskontoja kohtaa. (Tämä kappale on suora lainaus Petri Räisäsen kirjasta ASTANGA, sillä se on minusta todella kauniisti sanottu.)

Om Swasthi prajabhyah paripalayantam
Nyayena margena mahim mahishah
Go-bramanebhyah shubam astu nityam
Lokah samasth sukhino bhavantu
Om shantih, shantih, shantih

Käännös (Petri Räisänen, Nadi Sodhana)

Onnea kansalle sekä hallitsijoille,
jotka suojelevat maata totuuden polkua kulkien.
Tulkoon aina kaikkea hyvää lehmille ja brahmiineille!
Olkoot kaikki maailmat onnelliset!

Suryanamaskaramantara eli aurinkotervehdysmantra on rukous aurinkojumalalle. Jokaisen aurinkotervehdyksen aikana resitoitu auringolle omistettua mantraa ja se on auttanut mieltä keskittymään harjoitukseen ja vienyt harjoitusta meditatiiviseen suuntaan. Mantraa resitoidaan yleensä hiljaa mielessä ja yksi rivi on aina yhden vinyasan mittainen. Tätä mantraa ei tule kuitenkaan tehdä ennenkuin asanaharjoitus on edistynyt ja resitoinnin täydellinen tekniikka on opittu Gurulta.

Alla olevassa videossa Lakshmis resitoi astangan alku- ja loppumantran. Laksmish opettaa sanskritin kieltä ja chanttausta KPJAYI:ssa.




Mysoreikävän yllättäessä katselen siellä kuvattuja videoita. Se auttaa. Ikävöin Sharathia, ystäviä ja Intiaa yleisesti. Ne kulkevat aina mukana sydämessäni, missä ikinä olenkaan. Tämä video saattaa toimia myös inspiraation lähteenä harjoitukselle ja ehkäpä tulevalle Mysoren matkalle! Suosittelen lämpimästi <3

YOGA GURU R.SHARATH JOIS




Vietin viime viikon kotiseudullani Keuruulla. Pidin siellä viisi päivää kestävän astangajoogan alkeiskurssin. Kaikki oppivat fundamentaaliset asanat sekä niiden vinyasat. Nyt heillä on edellytykset pitää yllä omatoimista mysoreharjoitusta. Ryhmä oli tosi innostunutta ja se näkyi myös harjoituksessa. Pieni vinkki, ja Petrin Astanga –kirja oli jo käyty lainaamassa ja aurinkotervehdykset tehty heti herättyä. Mahtavaa oma-aloitteisuutta. Siemen on kylvetty!!

Viikon aikana nousi monia asioita esille. Yksi niistä oli sopiva harjoitusmäärä.

Kuinka monta kertaa viikossa tulee harjoitella?

Perinteisesti astangajoogaa tehdään kuusi kertaa viikossa, niin että lauantai on vapaapäivä. Tätä seurataan Intian Mysoressa, joka on astangajoogan ”pääkaupunki”. Siellä tehdään maanantaista torstaihin mysoreharjoitus, perjantaisin kaikki tekevät vedetyn ykkössarjan ja sunnuntaina on vedetty ykkös- ja kakkossarja, riippuen oppilaan tasosta.

Lauantaivapaan lisäksi huilataan kuupäivinä ja naistenpäivinä. Kuupäivät tarkoittavat uudenkuun ja täydenkuun päivää. Naistenpäivät ovat kuukautisten kolme ensimmäistä päivää,.

Alussa voi olla haastavaa harjoitella kuusi kertaa viikossa. Ihmisillä on erilaisia elämänvaiheita ja muitakin harrastuksia. Yleensä suosittelen minimissään kolme kertaa viikossa harjoittelua. Silloin oppilas saa kiinni harjoituksen ytimestä ja edistystä tapahtuu. Astangajoogan tuomat hyvät vaikutukset alkavat pikkuhiljaa näkyä ja yleensä siinä vaiheessa oppilas automaattisesti lisää harjoitusmäärää. Toki yksikin kerta on parempi, kun ei ollenkaan. Tässä tapauksessa harjoitus tuo yksittäistä hyvän olon tunnetta, mutta laajempaa harjoituksesta saatavaa hyötyä ei vielä saavuteta.

Itse aloitin viisi kertaa viikossa harjoittelun saman tien, sillä astanga meni suoraan syvälle minuun. Olin hiljattain toipunut välilevyn pullistuma operaatiosta ja tunsin kuinka jokainen harjoitus paransi minua. Harjoitus kehittyi huimaa vauhtia alkuaikoina ja se piti myös mielenkiinnon yllä. Samalla alkoi harjoituksen hyvät vaikutukset tulla esiin. Reilun puolen vuoden päästä harjoittelinkin jo kuusi kertaa viikossa, aamuisin –minä iltavirkku. Olin myyty. Tiesin että tämä on minun harjoitus. Toimii tässä kehossa ja mielessä!

Rakkaudella om




Muutosta toisen perään, suoranaista kaaosta ollut ilmassa kuluneen vuoden aikana. Tuntuu, että kaikki palaset ovat liikahdelleet paikoiltaan ja alkavat pikkuhiljaa asettua uusille alustoilleen. Uusi energia, uudet tuulet.

Alkuvuoden vietin Intiassa, kuten viimeiset seitsemän vuotta olen tehnyt. Kaksi ensimmäistä kuukautta olin Mysoressa opettajani Sharath Joisin luona opiskelemassa. Jokainen reissu on erityinen ja tällä reissulla sain avustaa Sharathia shalalla. Se oli suuri kunnia ja iso opintoretki syvemmälle opetuksen syövereihin. Pakko tunnustaa, että ensimmäisenä päivänä polvet tärisivät jännityksestä, kun tarkkailin menoa shalan takaosassa. Sali oli täynnä suuresti arvostamiani joogeja ja minun tuli nyt avustaa heitä. Pikkuhiljaa jännitys laukesi ja shalan energia antoi voimaa ja uskoa, sillä olihan minun opettaja myös uskonut tämän tehtävän minulle. Kuukauden päivät saavuin shalaan 4.30 ja aloin avustamaan opettajaani, guruani. 6.45 vuoro vaihtui ja aloin itse harjoittelemaan. Jälkeenpäin kun ajattelen tuota avustusjaksoa, tulee tosi nöyrä ja kiitollinen olo.

Maaliskuussa jatkoin matkaa Goan kautta Rishikeshiin Louise Ellisin luokse. Se oli ensimmäinen kerta Pohjois-Intissa. Maisemat olivat huikeat, joogaturismi ei ollut niin huikeaa. Louise on upea nainen ja joogi, joka kunniallisesti seuraa Pattabhi Joisin perinnettä astangajoogassa. Suosittelen lämpimästi vierailua hänen luonaan.

Kotiinpaluu ei sujunutkaan enää niin hyvin. Sovittuja töitä ei ollutkaan enää, ne oli annettu muille ja minulle tarjottiin vaihtoehtoisesti hatha- ja yinjoogatunteja. Olen astangajoogaopettaja ja auktorisoinnin vastaanottaessani Sharatilta olen allekirjoittanut paperin, jossa lupaan opettaa vain astangajoogaa. Tätä ei työnantajani kunnioittanut ja minä en ottanut muita tunteja vastaan, sen seurauksena minut irtisanottiin. Sitä oli vaikea niellä, sillä olinhan mielestäni antanut kaikkeni opetukselle ja tehnyt parhaani. Paluu kylmään kotimaahan työttömänä ja rahattomana tuntui kohtuuttomalta. Pari kuukautta meni, että pääsin jaloilleni tuosta kokemuksesta ja pystyin tunnustamaan itselleni, etten tehnyt mitään väärää. Siitä alkoi uusi nousi.

Toukokuussa aloin suunnitella oman yrityksen perustamista ja se tuntui hyvältä ja oikealta, uudelta alulta. Kesäkuun 1. päivä toiminimi oli rekisteröity ja ensimmäinen toimeksianto toteutuksessa, sekä starttirahapäätös takataskussa. Fiilis oli loistava ja olin valmis kohti uusia seikkailuja! Kesän aikana olen päässyt pitämään pari astangajoogakurssia kauniissa Suomen saaristossa ihanille ja vastaanottavaisille oppilaille. Sain myös tehdä muutaman viikon tuurauksen entiselle opettajalleni. Olen onnekas, että saan tehdä tätä työtä ja jakaa eteenpäin asiaa, joka on minulle niin tärkeä ja lähellä sydäntä.

Loppu kesällä suuri suru vavisutti meidän perhettä ja pysäytti meidät. Pisti ajattelemaan elämää ja sen tarkoitusta. Mikä on tärkeää ja mikä on toisarvoista. On luovuttava paljosta, mutta jotain tulee myös tilalle. Vaikeuksia tulee, mutta ne on ylitettävä ja päästettävä irti, on jatkettava matkaa.

Uudet haasteet ovat innoittaneet minua ja päätös omien astangatuntien aloittamisesta on tuntunut hyvältä. Toki myös jännittää, mutta se varmaan kuuluu asiaan. Olen kuitenkin oppinut todella paljon uusia asioita, kuten rahoitus- ja kannattavuuslaskelmien tekemisen, liikeidean luomisen, verotuksesta, kirjanpidosta, kotisivujen luomisesta, kirjoittamisesta, kääntämisestä, konjuktiolauseista, Photoshopin käytöstä, hovereista, feedeistä, footereista, croppailusta ja monesta muusta tärkeästä asiasta…heh! Välillä tunnen olevani monitaituri ja toisinaan taas aivan riittämätön, mutta pääosin olen tyytyväinen ja luottavainen.

Nyt on aika pinnistää kotisivut ulos. Tuntuu kuin synnyttäisin lapsen, jota olen luonut sisälläni jo tovin. Iso kiitos myös Rakkaalleni sekä Saralle ja Katjalle suuresta avusta ja tuesta tässä luomistyössä! Ilman teitä näitä sivuja ei olisi syntynyt!

Rehellisesti rakkaudella Om



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