Yoga Teaches You to Be Truly Free
@1 year ago
When you practice yoga you embark on a jedi mind training that teaches you how not to get so caught up in past experience that your future is absolutely determined by it — while at the same time using your real world experiences to teach you both on and off the mat.
Yoga asks you to reflect on the past as a learning device, not as an absolute future determinant. It would be naive simply to say that there is no past and no future without a firm understanding of just how to live in the present moment. The epiphany moment that wipes away painful past experiences and opens the door to a new way of being happens in one instant and is the culmination of many years of hard work and determination. This moment of transformation is grounded in the past while reaching toward the future and yet must happen in the “now.” Growth often manifests with seeming light speed but this effervescence is actually dependent on years of learning spent on the tight tope between past, present and future.
My teacher, Sri K. Pattahbi Jois often talked about “samskaras”, negative thought forms and mental images that have an uncanny way of determining what our life experience will be, most often for the worse. One of yoga’s most powerful tools is its ability to condense life learning into more easily digestible fragments. If you have an image of yourself as a weak person who needs to work on strength then every time you start your practice you will look for evidence that you are indeed weak. But if you change your mental image, or samskara, of yourself from a weakling to someone who is in the process of building strength you are already creating the change you want. If you see yourself as you have always known yourself to be it is simultaneously something reliable and restricting. If you allow yourself simply to not know who you are in each moment it becomes more possible to give yourself space to discover who you really are underneath all the samkaras created in the past.
It is possible to change samskaras because the depth level of human nature is an eternal, changeless peace that defies all definition that is beyond the products of the past. Culture, family, history and the habit pattern of the mind form the pieces of our personality, but are not who we at the essence of our being. When you believe the externalities of life to be your essence you see them as eternal when in reality these aspects of the self are only temporal. Yoga teaches you how to truly be free from the past just enough so that you can actively choose your future, breathe by breath, posture by posture. Yoga asks you to know yourself deeply not so that you are chained by that knowledge to always be the same as you have always been. Instead the part of yourself that yoga asks you to know is beyond any constructs of time, past or future, and lives only in the present moment. Along the way you must get intimate with the parts of yourself that are transcendent of time so that you can be as you really are, infinite and totally present.
By Kino MacGregor
At first glance, yoga and martial arts seem to have very little in common. They may also seem like two opposing philosophies and forces. Do they have a common ground?
It is said that in the sixth century A.D. a Buddhist monk from India, Boddidharma, visited the Shaolin temple where he began to teach the monks a form of physical system of health maintenance which is believed to be Yoga. It is also said that this monk, Boddidharma, was a member of the Warrior caste, therefore he should have also had a knowledge of Kalarippayat (an Indian martial art). He is believed to have reached a very advanced level of meditation which allowed him to develop a mastery within the mind, the body and the spirit. These three elements of the human being have never existed on their own in the Western philosophy and culture and yet successfully exist as separate ideas in the Eastern world. The body can be trained, purified and driven across its limits but only up to a point. The mind should also be trained just as well. All practitioners who have been dedicated to this path of martial arts and/or yoga for a long period of time are fully aware of the power which lies in the human mind, the psyche. Ignoring it may seem as foolishness.
Why would a martial arts practitioner incorporate yoga into their routine? No matter what kind of martial art one is dedicated to, whether it is a traditional Japanese system like Karate, Jiu-Jitsu or Judo, traditional Thai system of Muay Thai boxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, boxing or kickboxing and even the now so rapidly developing Mixed Martial Arts – all these have a common ground on which the practitioners develop strength, flexibility, endurance and above all – dedication. The performance of a martial arts practitioner can be, and often is, directed to be purely of a physical nature and find its true meaning on the sport arena. However, there is so much more to martial arts than competition only.
From the physical point of view yoga can bring various benefits into a martial arts training. For a start – if you want to kick high, quickly shift position when grappling, punch fast you need to develop skills which grant a high level of flexibility. Yoga can also become an efficient way of developing the sort of functional strength which is a core need in any martial arts training. Why not lift weights? Such performance focuses solely on the biggest muscle parts and all blood is directed into them. The ligaments and tendons, which play a crucial part in activities when good balance is required, are thus not strengthened. Also, in the less controlled situations, the smaller muscle parts become crucial. These are however also left out during a typical strength and endurance training.
@1 year ago
#martial arts karate yoga ashtanga
"Do your practice and all is coming."
Sri K. Pattabhi Jois
@1 year ago
@1 year ago
It is believed that every human being has an energy centre in one’s body, the source for all energy, the life force prana. The body’s energy and gravity center is located just beneath the navel, and when all movement and power comes from that place mastery in all disciplines becomes achievable. In traditional Japanese martial arts it is called “Hara”, in Chinese – “Dantien”. In Yoga we speak of “Uddhyana Bandha”. They are all basically the same thing – the energy center which provides us with the sense of strength and balance. Instead of saying “act from the heart” we should be acting from our stomachs, as it is the source of our deepest motivations, intuition and strength. Stability gained from the body’s energy center becomes stability in life.