Aum Diaries 3

Aum… Aum… Aum…

What is it about this sound?  Is it supposed to be AUM or Ohmmmm?

Looks like a 30 with eyebrow problems.I’m a big believer in the A-U-M variety.

In fact, who cares what sound you make  Just make something.  It sounds good no matter how you say it.

I’m going through BKS Iynegar’s book called Light on Yoga.

In his AUM section there’s a story at the end, one of those zennish type stories.  It goes like this:

Taking as a bow the great weapon of the Upanisad, one should put upon it an arrow sharpened by meditation.  Stretching it with a thought directed to the essence of That, penetrate the Imperishable as the ark, my friend.  The mystic syllable AUM is the bow.  The arrow is the Self (Atma).  Brahman is the target.  By the undistracted man is It penetrated.  One should come to be in It, as the arrow in the mark.

Any ideas, class?

So, I’m not exactly sure what it’s all supposed to mean, but it sounds cool and I’m going to let it stand.  Love to hear your opinions.

Now go make some noise.

Aum.

 

 

 

Aum Diaries 2

Aum… Aum… Aum…

Have you tried a yoga class where they make you do an AUM?

Or does it go Ohmmmm?

Looks like a 30 with eyebrow problems.I’m a big believer in the A-U-M variety.

Maybe someday there will be a war over how to pronounce it.

At the moment, I’m not going to care..  It sounds good no matter how you say it.

I’m going through BKS Iynegar’s book called Light on Yoga.

In his AUM section there’s all sorts of triads that the three letters are supposed to represent.  That’s nice, and I’m not going to make a big deal out of it.

But there’s also something big that each triad represents.  You can go to the last post for the triads.  Here I’m just jotting down the big stuff.  Here’s the triads:

  1. speech, mind, and breath, or
  2. length, breadth and depth, or
  3. absence of desire, fear, and anger, or
  4. masculine, feminine, and neuter, or
  5. sattva, rajas, and tamas, or
  6. past, present, and future, or
  7. teachings of mother, father, and Guru,
  8. or asana, pranayama, and pratyahara, or
  9. Creator, Maintainer, and Destroyer, or
  10. the mantra Tat Twam Asi meaning “That Thou Art”

Now, here’s the big stuff:

  1. All Conscious States, (very similar to number 9)
  2. Living Spirit,
  3. Divinity,
  4. Perfect (Hu)Man
  5. Creation
  6. Gunatitas
  7. Creator,
  8. Self Knowledge,
  9. Samadhi, (very similar to number 1)
  10. Brahman,
  11. Realization of Self Divinity

That seems like quite a bit to load onto a single sound, doesn’t it?

It’s still just a sound.

Let’s focus.

Aum.

 

 

 

 

Aum Diaries

Aum… Aum… Aum…

Have you tried a yoga class where they make you do an AUM?

Maybe your teacher does OM instead?

Looks like a 30 with eyebrow problems.Does it feel weird?

It did for me as well.  I got over it.

There’s this guy, BKS Iynegar, who wrote this book, called Light on Yoga.  He was kind of cool, and the book is kind of cool.  But this isn’t about him.  It’s about what he says about Aum.

His AUM section starts out saying that in order to unlock the divinity within yourself you need concentration.  Totally agree.  Here’s a quote from page 49 in my version.  “To achieve this concentration, what is recommended is eka-tattva-abhyasa or study of the single element that pervades all…”  I like this.  He finishes the paragraph saying that the sadhaka concentrates upon AUM, which is his symbol, to achieve ekagrata.

Now, I’m not sure of all the intricacies here, but basically it’s saying AUM is important.

Page 50 starts off by saying AUM and the latin word OMNI have the same root.  I don’t know if it’s true, but it sounds good.  He says that both words mean omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence.  I’ll buy that.

My favorite part is this, a dissection of the how the word is pronounced.

It has three syllables, namely A, U, and M.

They can symbolize all sorts of things, like:

  1. Waking state, Dream state, and Dreamless states, or
  2. speech, mind, and breath, or
  3. length, breadth and depth, or
  4. absence of desire, fear, and anger, or
  5. masculine, feminine, and neuter, or
  6. sattva, rajas, and tamas, or
  7. past, present, and future, or
  8. teachings of mother, father, and Guru,
  9. or asana, pranayama, and pratyahara, or
  10. Creator, Maintainer, and Destroyer, or
  11. the mantra Tat Twam Asi meaning “That Thou Art”

That seems like quite a bit to load onto a single sound, doesn’t it?

Maybe it’s just a sound.

Let’s focus.

Aum.

 

 

 

 

Yoga Sandwiches Filling

A friend told me he tried yoga, but found the classes “too hard.”

Yoga can be considered a sandwich.   It’s easy to make a sandwich.  It’s easy to practice yoga.  Don’t let an ambitious instructor or your fancy-pantsy friends tell you otherwise.

Like the bread of the sandwich, yoga starts with something basic, something easy.

Those things are: Listening to your body, Watching your breath.

These are the most important two things you can do.  The more you do them the better you get, the better you feel.  That’s the foundation of yoga.  Do these all the time, while you’re doing postures, while you’re reading this.

Just breath.

What about the physical part of yoga?  How does that compare to your sandwich?

Sandwiches become famous for what is between the slices of bread, not the bread itself.  That’s too bad, because the bread is very important.  But if you want a pastrami sandwich, or corned-beef sandwich, or BLT, or cucumber, or grilled-cheese, or any other kind of sandwich you name it by what sits between those lovely slices of bread.

When you make yourself a sandwich, you put exactly what you want in the middle.  You want a pickle, go ahead.  You want a slice of lettuce, tomato, or onion?  It’s all you.  Only meat and a thin sliver of cheese?  Sounds great.  And it’s your creation.  Eat it up.

What about our “yoga?”  Do we vinyassa, do we ashtanga, do we hatha?

Guess what?  They are all still yoga, and when you are in a class, it’s all you.  You are not a sandwich being made at the deli.  Your instructor is not the sandwich maker.

You are the sandwich maker, and your yoga is your sandwich.  It is your breath that determines when you move, it is your heartbeat that determines how hard you are working, it is your body that decides what pose is proper for you to do, today.

So the next time you feel your yoga class is too hard, pause a moment and think about what you can do to make it easy, simple, and fun.

After all, it’s your body, it’s your sandwich, and your life.  Why not enjoy them as much as you can?

Thanks for reading!  Now, go do some yoga, then eat.

 

Yoga Sandwiches

A friend told me he tried yoga, but found the classes “too hard.”

How could this be?

The instructor made them do things a certain way, the pace was too fast, and some of the postures hurt.

Has this happened to you?

You don’t have to put up with this.  Only you make yoga hard, or fast, or even “right.”  No one should pressure you to do yoga any way other than YOUR way.  Not the instructor, not your friends, no one.

And it all has to do with sandwiches.

Yes, the lowly but lovely sandwich can be our guide to yoga.  How can this be?

First off, can you make a sandwich?  Even my little brother enjoyed making spaghetti sandwiches.  Two slices of standard bread, mass of spaghetti in the middle.

The foundation of every sandwich is the bread.  One slice on top, one slice on bottom.

The bread is the easiest component.  Even though it’s simple, you still have many choices.  Toast?  Grilled?  Rye or whole wheat?  Baguette or ciabatta?

The yoga equivalent of bread is also basic, something easy.  The two things you’ve been doing since the beginning: listening to your body, and breathing.

What’s this?  Since when is breathing and body-listening part of yoga?  Did your instructor never talk about these things?  No?

That’s sad, so sad, because yoga is so much more than physical activity.  The whole “moving your body” part of yoga is only a small fraction of what yoga is all about.  Don’t get me wrong, asanas or posturing is very important, but so is the rest of yoga.

In fact, the very first most important part of yoga is about YOU…

… getting to know …

… YOU.

The best way to do that is to be still, and listen.  Listen to your heart, listen to your breath.  Feel your breath, feel your heart.  Do these things while sitting in a chair, sitting on the floor, lying in bed, lying on the mat.  Do them at your desk, do them in a meeting.  Do them anywhere, anytime.

You’re doing yoga.

Here’s something I learned the hard way, and it still makes me smile.

At first I thought it was silly, refusing to do it.  Then I started doing it, as a joke.  Then I started doing it more, because I realized I was getting better at it.  Then I realized it wasn’t silly, and started paying more attention to it.  Today, I do it every single time I think about it.  Heck, I’m doing it even as I write this.

Why?

I calm down.  My heart slows.  I feel better.  I work better.  I live better.  I love better.

Practicing listening to myself made me a better listener, to myself.

This is only the bread portion of yoga.  Next time, the rest of the yoga sandwich.

Thanks for reading!  Now, go make a sandwich.