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Thread: Iyengar yoga recommended to me; I have questions

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    Re: Iyengar yoga recommended to me; I have questions

    Namaste Jainarayan,

    Some other thoughts -- you don't have to use a cross-legged position to settle and meditate. The level 1 Iyengar yoga class that I am going to has presented us with a few different possibilities, plus our teacher has asked us to tell her if anything hurts when we try the asanas. She usually has something to offer that will help.

    Virasana can be a good meditating pose (and your legs don't cross at all). If, like me, you are too stiff to sit all the way back onto the floor, our teacher helps us to find a position using blankets that works. The level of the blankets varies from person to person and she helps each person find the way that helps them. Some people are very sore at the top of their feet when they attempt Virasana and she has ankle rolls for them. As you practice the asanas in good alignment, your body becomes more flexible over time. The key is good alignment + time!

    I should have said more about the books I recommended. The Preliminary Course (Yoga in Action) book by Geeta Iyengar explains very basic ideas. The good thing is: a certified Iyengar teacher will teach those very principals in the class and the book can reinforce what you just did and help you remember better when you practice at home. I find yoga classes to be a bit like dreams -- hard to remember the specifics afterward. So this book helps with that.

    Light on Life by BKS Iyengar ranges over all sorts of practical topics about being embodied and practicing Hatha yoga. He wrote this book about 50 years after he wrote Light on Yoga and he says that he could not have written Light on Life when he was younger because it took so many years of living to understand these things.

    Light on Yoga is also essential -- but I didn't find it to be that useful (for me) until I'd practiced Hatha Yoga for about 2 years. Before then, too much of it was too far beyond me. Now I consult it constantly. It deals with a lot more than asana, too.

    I have not read it yet, but people also highly recommend BKS Iyengar's Light on Pranayama. However, this one is for later, at least for me. Our teacher does not accept people into the pranayama class until they have completed at least 6 months of level 1, plus they must be able to hold an inversion for 5 minutes. I'm not there yet. BKS Iyengar says in Light on Life not to attempt Pranayama until the body is strong enough for it. So I look forward to all of this, but I am not ready for it yet.

    Geeta Iyengar has written a book for women -- I think it's called Yoga a Treasure for Women or something similar. Some say that this book, not Light on Yoga, is the most important book for women. And the 2nd most important book for men! So another very useful book and one I'm planning on studying deeply.

    My teacher has a spiritual approach to the world but does not teach her spirituality in the class. Her yoga room is clean, fresh, and spare. Every time I go there I'm ready for good things to happen there and they do.

    Pranam

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    Re: Iyengar yoga recommended to me; I have questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Sahasranama View Post
    Iyengar is no saint, he is just as commercial as any other yoga teacher and he will say anything to attract more costumers. He is often criticised for teaching physical only yoga. This is not entirely true, there is certainly a meditative aspect to doing hatha yoga postures. Focusing on physical alignment is not something to shun, it's good to prevent injuries.
    Sahasranama,
    I'm not really sure of that..both of my instructors met BKS Iyengar and one of them learnt directly from him during late 70s.. said he is a pleasant person. If he is commercial he could have been a billionaire by now considering how people in the west are exploited in the name of yoga. There is a no copyright on Iyengar yoga like some people who went to the west during 70s and 80s and copyrighted few sets of asanas. There is of course meditative aspect of Raja Yoga (Hatha Yoga) but he teaches through Pranayama and not all his students teach Pranayama in their own classes. If you think he is focusing on only physical aspect it's because people are only interested in becoming slim, lose weight and also to recover from physical ailments. He learnt from Shri Krishnamacharya for less than 2 years and was asked to go to Pune to teach. He practised and popularised yoga but still very humble and always pays homage to his guru in every one of his books..to me it's a mark of a teacher and a real master.

    Most people who learn yoga don't even know what's the end to yoga just like martial arts ..both are not just for becoming fit and prove yourself to others.. it's way of life.. realising yourSELF through your body and mind. Like Bruce Lee says only if you know the philosophy and technique you can perfect..students should be interested in taking the initiative of knowing the philosophical part of Yoga or any martial arts...rather not just be satisfied with techniques or asanas. The onus never lies on a master to teach everything he knows until a student requests him or her to teach what all he or she knows.

    It's very sad to see in Bangalore itself..there are new yogas (like judo+yoga etc.,) and people are buying them and I have seen people teach Iyengar yoga just by learning from his books.
    Last edited by realdemigod; 27 July 2012 at 11:27 AM.
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    Re: Iyengar yoga recommended to me; I have questions

    Namaste @Jainarayan

    What is your goal?

    If your goal is to meditate for divine vision of god or something similar, then you do not need to *strickly* sit in any posture to achieve the goal.

    IF you want mastery of body and then prana and later mind, then Hatha Yoga is good.

    Patanjali has not described any asanas to meditate. He simply said, ' sit in the asana which is most comfortable to you.

    *cough* do not sleep

    If you lie down and then meditate, then you may fall sleep.

    If you stand and meditate, then you may fall down and get hurt.

    If you sit with bend spine, then you may have some spine problems, which are common among people sitting in PC for long period of time. It gives you fatigue and boredom.

    So sitting in spine straight is recommended as it also balances force of gravity on body. But if you cannot sit straight for prolonged period, then you can rest your back or use a pillow.

    Asanas are like medicines. They are not needed if you are fit, unless you are fitness freek. So all asanas are not applicable to you, specially then you have operated your spine and considering your age.

    There is no need to sit in padmasana (cross legged). IF you are not comfortable, how can you meditate? Just be comfortable.

    God is inside you, it does not matter whether you sit in siddhasana, padmasana or simply folded legs (lotus pusture).

    No doubts asanasa, mudras do have a definite impact. Looking at your age, and knowing that you have been operated, you can even sit on edge of chair, just use 5 - 6 inches of seat and not the whole chair. This will help you to sit straight without support. Sit in east or north direction and then meditate. Initially sitting in east is also fine, later you can shift you north.

    Hatha yogis are of a different kind. God wants bhakti, surrender, etc more than discipline. You can becomes both physically and mentally strong and can have control over your body and actions, but God is above body and mind. You cannot go beyond body, if you give too much importance to your body. Give importance to God. Do whatever you can or rather your body permits you to do. Rest live it to God

    BKS Iyengar is a renowned (hatha) Yogi and mas achieved mastery in many asanas.

    If you still want ot practice asanas, try Baba Ramdevs 7 types of asanas which are much easy. DVD are available on his website.

    In kaliyuga, do not give too emphasis for a 100 % pure spiritual foundation, there is none. If there is some, it's not that famous and has limited members and disciples that you can count on finger tips.

    So if the foundation and the founder is doing good work, but taking reasonable money and if you can afford it, go for it. This is what I think is a practical approach in today's age.

    To spread you should have marketing team, well presentation skills, have good contacts adn must be a powerful orator. You will have to depend upon others. So even if you may be pure adn do not like some things going in your foundation, you have to neglect them, as the people running this foundation are not saints, who just depend upon God. They do not receive any God's direct order. They are just like me and you with limited and conditional faith, but have a liking and some dedication to their work. Please understand this fact. So things cannot be, what you say 'ideal' in today's spirituality. You have to take care of all devotees, trustees and volunteers and handle their egos. It's not easy. Just like a millionaire business knows that his purchase officer is taking commission, and the next one whom he will appoint may also do the same, he neglects it to a point which he can absorb it.

    Crows are always black, wherever you go and you always find 'crows' everywhere (in spirituality), who think they are smart and are a part of a so-called illusionary 'Inner Circle' and that anyone can reach Gurudev only through them

    Ask your self honestly, do you deserve to stand in front of an IDEAL GURU?? - it's a million dollar question. Isn't it. WE are also not that pure.

    Best is to keep praying God to give us pure devotion and pure love and unconditional surrender. Also pray to show us that way and guide our meditation. Rest leave it to God.

    This is not to you (OP) but to other posters.

    So it's better to select what is best available option.

    Aum
    Only God Is Truth, Everything Else Is Illusion - Ramakrishna
    Total Surrender of Ego to SELF is Real Bhakti - Ramana Maharshi

    Silence is the study of the scruptures. Meditation is the continuous thinking of Brahman which is to be meditated upon. The complete negation of both by knowledge is the vision of truth – sadAcAra-14 of Adi SankarAcArya

    namah SivAya vishnurUpAya viShNave SivarUpiNe, MBh, vanaparva, 3.39.76

    Sanskrit Dict | MW Dict | Gita Super Site | Hindu Dharma

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    Re: Iyengar yoga recommended to me; I have questions

    Namaste.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caltha View Post
    Namaste Jainarayan,

    Some other thoughts -- you don't have to use a cross-legged position to settle and meditate. ...

    Virasana can be a good meditating pose (and your legs don't cross at all). If, like me, you are too stiff to sit all the way back onto the floor, our teacher helps us to find a position using blankets that works. The level of the blankets varies from person to person and she helps each person find the way that helps them. Some people are very sore at the top of their feet when they attempt Virasana and she has ankle rolls for them. As you practice the asanas in good alignment, your body becomes more flexible over time. The key is good alignment + time!
    I've sometimes used that sitting in temple, though I read somewhere that position is not acceptable. I didn't have anything to cushion myself with, so it was half kneeling and half virasana, that is, not sitting completely on my heels. For home use I'll definitely use cushioning. I have no objection to doing that at home to meditate, but I wonder about the appropriateness in temple.

    I should have said more about the books I recommended. The Preliminary Course (Yoga in Action) book by Geeta Iyengar explains very basic ideas. The good thing is: a certified Iyengar teacher will teach those very principals in the class and the book can reinforce what you just did and help you remember better when you practice at home. I find yoga classes to be a bit like dreams -- hard to remember the specifics afterward. So this book helps with that.
    It can indeed be overwhelming to try to remember what you learned in the first class or two. I'll look up Geeta Iyengar's book too, then decide out of the ones I've chosen which can be of the most use to me at this stage. If and when I can advance, the books will still be in print, I''m sure.

    Light on Life by BKS Iyengar ranges over all sorts of practical topics about being embodied and practicing Hatha yoga. He wrote this book about 50 years after he wrote Light on Yoga and he says that he could not have written Light on Life when he was younger because it took so many years of living to understand these things.
    Now that's something I can also use.

    I think I will be spending a good deal of time in the bookstore comparing and contrasting several books, and not make any sudden decisions, though I will still get the props I need... block(s), cushion(s), mat, etc. Those will come in useful with anything I do.
    śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ

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    Re: Iyengar yoga recommended to me; I have questions

    Namaste.

    Sound advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Indiaspirituality View Post
    Namaste @Jainarayan

    What is your goal?

    If your goal is to meditate for divine vision of god or something similar, then you do not need to *strickly* sit in any posture to achieve the goal.

    IF you want mastery of body and then prana and later mind, then Hatha Yoga is good.
    Goals: both of them:

    For spirituality and closeness to God, I meditate (e.g. japa, ajapa japa, or simply clearing the mind) sitting in a solid comfortable chair, as straight and tall as possible.

    Physically it would be through hatha yoga, yes.

    If you stand and meditate, then you may fall down and get hurt.

    If you sit with bend spine, then you may have some spine problems, which are common among people sitting in PC for long period of time. It gives you fatigue and boredom.

    So sitting in spine straight is recommended as it also balances force of gravity on body. But if you cannot sit straight for prolonged period, then you can rest your back or use a pillow.
    As imperfect and novice as I am, I do occasionally go into a deep state. I will most certainly lose my balance if I stand, unless I am supported by a wall. I have meditated while lying in bed and have indeed fallen asleep. The same thing will happen in the recliner, even sitting upright... out like a light.

    ...Sit in east or north direction and then meditate. Initially sitting in east is also fine, later you can shift you north.
    My altar is on an east wall in a corner, so when I face it for puja, I am off to the left (not supposed to face it directly?), so I am at an angle actually to the southeast. Angling to the northeast is not possible. But for seated meditation, east and north are quite easy to face.

    Hatha yogis are of a different kind. God wants bhakti, surrender, etc more than discipline. You can becomes both physically and mentally strong and can have control over your body and actions, but God is above body and mind. You cannot go beyond body, if you give too much importance to your body. Give importance to God. Do whatever you can or rather your body permits you to do. Rest live it to God
    I agree and understand. God does not want suffering in the name of bhakti. I know we're given the tools (mind and body) we are for a reason. A certain mastery is good, but torture is not.
    śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ

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    Re: Iyengar yoga recommended to me; I have questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Jainarayan View Post

    Goals: both of them:

    For spirituality and closeness to God, I meditate (e.g. japa, ajapa japa, or simply clearing the mind) sitting in a solid comfortable chair, as straight and tall as possible.

    Physically it would be through hatha yoga, yes.
    You can stay fit, but give priority to any one.

    As imperfect and novice as I am, I do occasionally go into a deep state. I will most certainly lose my balance if I stand, unless I am supported by a wall. I have meditated while lying in bed and have indeed fallen asleep. The same thing will happen in the recliner, even sitting upright... out like a light.
    Chances while going into deep sleep are less as compared to other two.

    I daily meditate at 3:30 upto atleast 3 hours. I have even meditated upto 12 - 13 hours a day, but not constant. I take some breaks, but do not leave my room.

    I have also tried to meditate while lying. Sitting is the best posture I have found and is also mentioned in Gita.

    My altar is on an east wall in a corner, so when I face it for puja, I am off to the left (not supposed to face it directly?), so I am at an angle actually to the southeast. Angling to the northeast is not possible. But for seated meditation, east and north are quite easy to face.
    Altars are generally on east side and facing west. So if you are facing altar you are facing east. Same with north direction.

    If it's not possible, forget it. Just take care you do not show your back to your altar

    I agree and understand. God does not want suffering in the name of bhakti. I know we're given the tools (mind and body) we are for a reason. A certain mastery is good, but torture is not.
    I was told Upvasa is anand. Then I felt it. Let me give an e.g.

    If you daily take dinner at 8:00 pm, then your stomach will start secreting acids and other juices for digestion and you will feel hungry. But when you are in deep meditation, you may not feel the hunger and so you keep meditating for another 2 hours. You have skipped dinner. For you upsava (fasting) is an ananda.

    Now if you were practising fasting, you know that you can sleep empty stomach. (some cannot). So even if you are not that deep in meditation, but you are enjoying meditation, then you will neglect the hunger and keep meditating. This is also upvasa, much better than torturing just body and tons better than not eating anything but then passing time by playing cards or watching TV.

    So increase bhakti. Focus on it and not other things. Do not give the too much importance. I do not say tools are useless. I just say, keep bhakti in center keep God in center and focus on it. Do not give more importance to tools then to you destination.

    Aum

    IS
    Only God Is Truth, Everything Else Is Illusion - Ramakrishna
    Total Surrender of Ego to SELF is Real Bhakti - Ramana Maharshi

    Silence is the study of the scruptures. Meditation is the continuous thinking of Brahman which is to be meditated upon. The complete negation of both by knowledge is the vision of truth – sadAcAra-14 of Adi SankarAcArya

    namah SivAya vishnurUpAya viShNave SivarUpiNe, MBh, vanaparva, 3.39.76

    Sanskrit Dict | MW Dict | Gita Super Site | Hindu Dharma

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    Re: Iyengar yoga recommended to me; I have questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Indiaspirituality View Post
    You can stay fit, but give priority to any one.
    True, often can't give equal time to two things and expect good results.

    Altars are generally on east side and facing west. So if you are facing altar you are facing east. Same with north direction.
    That's exactly it. The altar faces west, and I face east.

    If it's not possible, forget it. Just take care you do not show your back to your altar
    I try not to when I am leaving the area; I back away. I am going to order Japanese screen panels to put up for when I am not doing puja or spending time with the devas. I am now vegetarian, but others in the household are not, especially when the kids come over. And because the altar is in a corner of the 'great room' (combined living room/dining room area, an architectural design I detest), when others eat non-veg, I feel creepy that it's in front of the devas. Though I know They are all around us at all times. It's still a creepy feeling.

    I was told Upvasa is anand. Then I felt it. Let me give an e.g.

    If you daily take dinner at 8:00 pm, then your stomach will start secreting acids and other juices for digestion and you will feel hungry. But when you are in deep meditation, you may not feel the hunger and so you keep meditating for another 2 hours. You have skipped dinner. For you upsava (fasting) is an ananda.

    Now if you were practising fasting, you know that you can sleep empty stomach. (some cannot). So even if you are not that deep in meditation, but you are enjoying meditation, then you will neglect the hunger and keep meditating. This is also upvasa, much better than torturing just body and tons better than not eating anything but then passing time by playing cards or watching TV.
    That's it right there. I've found that before I know it, after sadhana (I just say sadhana as my catch-all term) it's 9 or 10 pm and I have not eaten, yet it does not bother me.

    Thank you.
    śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ

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    Re: Iyengar yoga recommended to me; I have questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Jainarayan View Post
    That's exactly it. The altar faces west, and I face east.
    It's perfect

    I try not to when I am leaving the area; I back away. I am going to order Japanese screen panels to put up for when I am not doing puja or spending time with the devas. I am now vegetarian, but others in the household are not, especially when the kids come over. And because the altar is in a corner of the 'great room' (combined living room/dining room area, an architectural design I detest), when others eat non-veg, I feel creepy that it's in front of the devas. Though I know They are all around us at all times. It's still a creepy feeling.
    Not all things are possible. Always remember. That same God is inside you whom you are worshipping. Who gives you inspiration to chant Mantra or do worship. Inspiration is from inside. He is none other than God.

    So it's ok if you leave your room with back facing to Altar.

    If also OK of kids and others eat non-vg in front of God, as your altar is combined inside living / dining room.

    Spirituality id a subjective matter. You cannot force others to follow what you do. If they do not believe, let them eat non-veg. Just not let them force to you eat it as you have quit it.

    It's all in the mind. If you are not eating, do not fear or fell upset. Just take it easy. It's just between you are your beloved God. It does not mater what others are doing, unless they are not hurting you.

    Just remove that guilt. that creepyness. keep your heart in God and then do any work. Rest leave it to God.

    Not advising kids is the best thing to do. If you FORCE a RULE, results will be reverse. Just do not mind. Take it easy. Just let go.

    ... and no problem if they ask you to push a chicken lolipop dish. Just push it. Chicken has already died and it's not you who has killed it for taste of tongue.

    Just stay normal. no prob if you will ahve to carry a non-veg dish from kitchen to dining table. You simply do not cook it, eat it ( and lik your fingers if at all some chicken gravy sticks to it )

    I hoe others will understand you. Problems arise when try to force anything on others. Just keep the spiritual path and advises to yourself and you wont be hurting anyone.

    There is no need to feel upset. God knows everything and is all compassionate. Better surrender then fear him. God wants love and devotion and not creepiness and guilt.

    Stay neutral, stay in harmony. accept things as they are and most of life's problems will be solved. Rest is just to train your mind, or it's your fate. Accept them too with a smile.

    Cheers


    That's it right there. I've found that before I know it, after sadhana (I just say sadhana as my catch-all term) it's 9 or 10 pm and I have not eaten, yet it does not bother me.

    Thank you.
    Sadhana is the best word for me too.

    Happy to hear this.

    hey wait, not happy to see you hungry, happy for your devotion

    Nice talking to you. Thank God not me

    Time to go to sleep

    Aum

    IS
    Only God Is Truth, Everything Else Is Illusion - Ramakrishna
    Total Surrender of Ego to SELF is Real Bhakti - Ramana Maharshi

    Silence is the study of the scruptures. Meditation is the continuous thinking of Brahman which is to be meditated upon. The complete negation of both by knowledge is the vision of truth – sadAcAra-14 of Adi SankarAcArya

    namah SivAya vishnurUpAya viShNave SivarUpiNe, MBh, vanaparva, 3.39.76

    Sanskrit Dict | MW Dict | Gita Super Site | Hindu Dharma

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    Re: Iyengar yoga recommended to me; I have questions

    Namaste.

    Quote Originally Posted by Indiaspirituality View Post
    It's perfect



    Not all things are possible. Always remember. That same God is inside you whom you are worshipping. Who gives you inspiration to chant Mantra or do worship. Inspiration is from inside. He is none other than God.

    So it's ok if you leave your room with back facing to Altar.

    If also OK of kids and others eat non-vg in front of God, as your altar is combined inside living / dining room.
    Thanks, it's easy to sweat the details. Though it's best to show as much respect as possible, lest one run the risk of becoming careless.

    Spirituality id a subjective matter. You cannot force others to follow what you do. If they do not believe, let them eat non-veg. Just not let them force to you eat it as you have quit it.

    It's all in the mind. If you are not eating, do not fear or fell upset. Just take it easy. It's just between you are your beloved God. It does not mater what others are doing, unless they are not hurting you.

    Just remove that guilt. that creepyness. keep your heart in God and then do any work. Rest leave it to God.

    Not advising kids is the best thing to do. If you FORCE a RULE, results will be reverse. Just do not mind. Take it easy. Just let go.
    No, I would never enforce or even suggest such a rule. It's true that you swim at your own karmic risk. The family knows I don't eat non-veg and does not make a stink about it. In fact relatives brought me some food that was non-veg when they stopped by. I said thank you but I don't... and they understood and said oh, OK.

    ... and no problem if they ask you to push a chicken lolipop dish. Just push it. Chicken has already died and it's not you who has killed it for taste of tongue.
    I knew a Buddhist woman who would not even touch animal flesh to prepare it for someone else. Heck, I feed my dogs and cat, and often get canned food on my hands. So I'm not bothered by that.


    Sadhana is the best word for me too.

    Happy to hear this.

    hey wait, not happy to see you hungry, happy for your devotion

    Nice talking to you. Thank God not me

    Time to go to sleep

    Aum

    IS
    Nite-nite!
    śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ

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    Re: Iyengar yoga recommended to me; I have questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Jainarayan View Post
    Namaste.

    Thanks, it's easy to sweat the details. Though it's best to show as much respect as possible, lest one run the risk of becoming careless.
    Namaste,

    The point is to do whatever best you can and leave the rest.

    I was just trying to remove that 'creepyness' , not to make you careless.

    Aum
    Only God Is Truth, Everything Else Is Illusion - Ramakrishna
    Total Surrender of Ego to SELF is Real Bhakti - Ramana Maharshi

    Silence is the study of the scruptures. Meditation is the continuous thinking of Brahman which is to be meditated upon. The complete negation of both by knowledge is the vision of truth – sadAcAra-14 of Adi SankarAcArya

    namah SivAya vishnurUpAya viShNave SivarUpiNe, MBh, vanaparva, 3.39.76

    Sanskrit Dict | MW Dict | Gita Super Site | Hindu Dharma

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