Wholism: The Authentic Context of Hatha Yoga as a Self Healing Discipline
"Love was born first;
the gods cannot reach it,
or the spirits, or men....
Far as heaven and earth extend,
far as the waters go,
high as the fire burns,
you are greater, love!
The wind cannot reach you,
nor the fire, nor the sun, nor the moon:
you are greater than them all, love!"
From the Atharva Veda 9.2.19, trsl. by J. Varenne, Yoga in the Hindu Tradition, Univ. of Chicago Press, 1976.
Please see the additional hatha yoga links at the of this page bottom
In the West, Yoga is often confused with either being a faddist type of physical exercises and postures (asanas), or as a religion. Authentic yoga is neitehr phsyical exercise nor religion, although phsyical movements may occur in various practices. Yoga rather means to connect or join together. What is being connected and integrated is the individual's pre-existing estranged consciousness with its source (universal eternal consciousness) in the eternal now -- HERE. The individual's fragmentation, alienation, rend, or corruption from Source is the result of negative conditioning, bad habits, ignorance, or simply put, habituated and rigidified delusional thought patterns that reinforce this sense of separate "self" (called ego). Yoga thus is a non-dual and transpersonal affirmation of the sacredness of life which remediates and deprograms this programmed sense of separation, rend, and ignorance from this sacred union. Dissociated from the our True Self, lacking cohesion, then the deluded and confused ego searches for compensatory objects of fixation, solutions to his contrived sense of estrangement and loneliness, and hence habitual desire, striving, pain, and conflict arise with its concomitant disappointments. This realization of this non-dual identity, "True Self", or Buddha nature through yoga produces many freedoms, one of which is to be free from these temporary ups and down or cycles of pain and its release/relief. Realizing the True Self thus contains the realization of lasting and unconditional happiness. How to get HERE is what authentic yoga teaches.
There are many types of yoga (ways of reconnecting), but here we will deal mainly with Hatha yoga. Hatha yoga includes yoga asanas (poses) as one of its practices, but asana practice is only one of many valuable elements which make up classical hatha yoga. Ha means sun and Tha means moon. Yoga means to balance, join together, harmonize, and/or unite the polar opposites of sun (pingala) and moon (ida) which run within man through the ida and pingala nadis (psychic nerves) as well as in all of nature. When these forces are balanced, harmonized, and united in man, then this activates the non-dualistic and transpersonal natural creative and evolutionary circuitry (in the central nadi -- the sushumna) which normally lay dormant or repressed. In this way Hatha yoga aims at removing conflict, tension, stress, duality, strife, abuse, and suffering through Self realization i.e., revealing by itself who we really are beyond our past programming, conditioning, artificial conceptions and habitual false identifications with separation and self limitation.
Hatha yoga is thus not just exercises, nor is it a system of simple health or fitness, rather it is designed to remediate the negative habits and patterned conditioning of self limitation and thus to activate our highest creative/evolutionary potential as an living expression of spirit integrated -- in of ALL OUR RELATIONS.
Yoga is best approached as an art, not as a science, because the wisdom that is attained goes far beyond man's intellectual or conceptional powers, rather it is a communion with the universal evolutionary intelligence itself -- that which made man and the universe. The realization and awareness which is sought is beyond the mere intellect, but rather its source. As such it is not a philosophical, religious nor any belief system. It is not an exercise to ingratiate the will or ego. Neither is Hatha Yoga a battle between the left brain functions of intellect and individual will on one hand, and the right brain functions of receptivity, intuition and instinct on the other, but rather the realization of their mutuality and synergistic synchronicity. Yoga is the process of their integration and thus success in yoga is the product of their merging. It occurs when there is no separation or imbalance between the subjective reality and objective reality -- between embodiment and Source -- between nature and spirit -- between earth and sky, body and mind, muladhara and sahasrara -- afferent and efferent. It is the realization of both absolute subjectivity and supreme objectivity rolled up in one great integrity -- in natural uncontrived perfection and completeness. The true yogi manifests and acts from this harmonious core center naturally and spontaneously, albeit to get HERE some yoga preparation (called sadhana) is most helpful.
In authentic yoga, the ego is simply a misconceptual self limitation and delusion which is the cause of confusion and sorrow. So what we connect up with can be called our higher self, our true self, the big self, the long body, natural self, or our essential self existence true reality (swarupa) which brings well beingness, peace, healing, and bliss -- as the remedy of the sorrow. In this sense, yoga is love; it is the merging of the subject and object in a superconscious non-dual state (Samadhi being the merging of the seer and the seen). Yoga thus is joyful and once it is known it contains its own inspiration/motivation. Through its practice we reclaim our body and the heart and enter into a greater life nurturing and healing self authority.
Yoga is thus the liberation from the bondage of limited thought, the conceptual mind, fabrication, and artificiality. Yoga frees us from superficiality, hollowness, attachment into neurotic external sublimation/compensation and brings us into our more primary state of conscious existence. Yoga leads us into reality through our association with truth, love, light, and peace.
Hatha yoga does this through awakening the kundalini (creative and evolutionary energy) utilizing six major activities:
Kriyas (purification exercises for the body, psychic nerves, and mind)
Asanas (positions that purify the body/mind and also build up psychic heat, inner psychic strength, and activate dormant circuitry)
Bandhas (the activation of various energy locks that prevent the dissipation of spiritual energy and accelerate the inner activation and natural evolutionary energy flow).
Pranayama (consciously establishing a working relationship with our core energy and the source of prana mainly through breath control exercises)
Mudra (utilizing asana, bandha, pranayama, and visualization (dharanas) all at the same time in order to activate and accelerate the kundalini evolutionary energy through the psychic nerves and chakra system)
Meditation (abiding and cultivating consciously the state where dualistic thinking ceases and we one is established in the non-dual bliss ocean state of wholistic existence being absorbed in self existing and uncontrived pure wisdom, compassion, joy, and healing energy).
As a yoga teacher I am doubly blessed, firstly for the beautiful souls who come and share their practice of yoga out of the spark of pure desire for liberation, wholeness, truth, and Pure Being with us; and secondly for the opportunity of experiencing yoga with the eyes of a beginner, explorer, and adventurer more than once a day.
During the past ten years I was triply blessed in that I was graced with the reward of teaching in a wholistic community which in itself was being graced with the magnificent healing power, beauty and sacred spirit of a very powerful living land peopled with sensitive, conscious, nurturing, and caring beings who acknowledge, honor, nurture, and are intimately connected in consciousness and being to the deeper circuitry, communications, and natural magical celebrations of mother earth. HERE in this sacred ground teaching and practicing yoga is generated through grace.
The following pages evolved out of a desire to put down on paper (as a hand out) to those who shared together this wholistic intent and mutual synergistic interaction these past years at Harbin Hot Springs Wholistic Retreat Center. After observing the confusion, false assumptions, and corruptions more generally held by the common man about what yoga has to offer, I wish to share in the following pages the answer to the question; "What kind of yoga do I practice, what yoga means to me, and what is the place of yoga in everyday life?
Many common questions a yoga teacher is called to answer are often specific about asanas, personal injuries, special needs, the nature of kundalini, or recommendations of other teachers who teach a similar style. However, these were easy subjects compared to when asked about how the "positive" beauty, strength, and peace that yoga represents fits into the too frequent "negative" or stressful situations unfortunately so rife in modern polluted urban cities such as anger, hostility, jealousy, competition, violence, fear, deceit, falsehood, cynicism, and despair.
Too often people experience a dichotomy, split, or separation between the world of their spiritual practice and their workaday life -- from the natural wholistic world that yoga represents and the artificial materialistic way of survival in which their past habits and patterns have become conditioned and inured. The purpose of yoga is not to separate the spiritual from daily life, but rather to increasingly bring spirit and integrity into all our activities, to enrich, heal, and empower our lives.
Yoga is not a system of escape, avoidance, nor denial. It doesn't give "neat" and easy answers to the world's problems, by telling him to renounce it as illusory or non-spiritual awaiting a better transmigration, but rather yoga tells us the opposite -- that life is sacred and that in the sacred moment of embodied existence we have infinite potentiality for manifest love -- in fact that is our essence and at the same time the divine presence.
According to yoga all these problems stem from the same cause of alienation and estrangement due to the split off (the primal trauma) from the Great Integrity or True Self (true nature), which is synonymous with ignorance and its resultant state of suffering. This state of separation creates incompleteness and compensatory desire which is the beginning of neurosis, fear, attachment, arrogance, grief, and pain.
Ultimately this suffering can only be overcome by giving up the ignorance or way of separateness and rejoin the "real" world which knows no such artificially imposed limits (illusion). This explanation of yoga as being a method of joining back up, communion, reconnecting, or reintegration back into our original true nature before neurotic conditioning creates the necessary context, but by itself it is often too broad or even abstract for most students. In fact yoga brings us to the veil of life to the unformed, the unbound, the unknown, to the source of creativity/creation/creator.
Most people need to see and awake to how past bio-psychic patterns, energies, and conditioning impinge upon and limit their daily lives and creative potential, so that they then could better recognize the profound relevance of observing this interplay and hence be able to enter into the great opportunity to then consciously transform, regulate, and harmonize these heretofore "negative", self limiting, or repressive situations which before were previously unconscious.
Through yoga we become more aware and sensitive of these energies in our body, mental functions, emotions, interplay with nature, and spirit adventures and become more conscious of their synergistic inter-relatedness. Through increased sensitivity to the dynamics of nature (Shakti) and its manifestation inside the body as the source of life energy (prana), we become increasingly more deeply and firmly interconnected and in conscious harmony with our own original purity, true identity, wholeness, integrity, true nature, nature, as well as its source. This direct "knowledge" or communion brings with it unbounded peace, self confidence, sense of well being, natural virtue, and bliss.
When the dysfunctional forces of limitation, corruption, arrogance, abuse, or alienation no longer operate upon us unconsciously; we are no longer its victims. Revelation thus leads to liberation. Waking up from the dream of maya (illusion), we are free from its snares of fickleness and repression. Here consciousness allows for or creates the ability where we take responsibility for our own destiny (freedom or mukti) which is not dependent upon the denial, fear, avoidance, or ignorance of the body, nature, healing, the life force, or creation but rather the affirmation, recognition, honoring, endearment, and realization of our embodied creative and evolutionary potential.
When we are deeply and consciously inter-connected to the source of life, creation, healing, creativity, peace, inspiration -- the great wisdom and power which lies beyond the mere individual intellectual function and individual will, then we are able to approach each situation from this transpersonal space of healing, compassion, peace, and wisdom instead of the normal (but unfortunately pathological) place of pain, alienation, confusion, paranoia, competition, desire, comparative advantage, selfishness, greed, and ego. Here there is no fear, no pain, and no desire.
The former context assumes an interconnectedness and great integrity of all beings, and is thus both transformational and transpersonal; while the latter context is static, frozen, rigid, split, estranged, limited, incomplete, and arrogant. It is the first context that yoga proposes, and which appears to contradict the latter. It is not that the two contexts are opposed, but rather the latter ignores the former through implicit ignorance (self limitation).
For students the most frequent problem or complaint may occur when the newly aroused awareness and harmony with all of nature begins to butt heads with old dysfunctional neurotic patterns of separation, insecurity, pain, fear, vanity, desire, anger, resentment, chauvinism, and all the other ego diseases centered on ego and separation. In a real sense all disease have their causal energetic patterns, of which matter or physical manifestation merely follow or align secondarily. In this sense all disease is the result of maladaption or perversion of the Kundalini energy. Unfortunately too many of us are "comfortable and familiar" in the prisons of our dysfunction reactive mindsets and although we desire "liberation" and transformation, our fear and conditioned false identifications which attach us to the illusions of security are difficult to dislodge or release.
When new awareness of the unsatisfactoriness of the old ways is awakened, we need to approach the "new" situations consciously from the context of healing, compassion, and peace; otherwise we experience (needlessly) a growth crisis, healing crisis, or spiritual emergence syndrome, where we are confused and pained by the "apparent" contradictions and self contained tensions in our lives.
When the kundalini is aroused through Hatha yoga we are forced to either give up the old dissipated patterns or attenuate the kundalini through denial, escape, defensive behavior, and/or suppression methods such as overeating, drinking, sexual exhaustion unless we attenuate our yoga practice and hence the "perceived threat". One or the other has to give, or tension between these two directions will increase. Some get scared and give up or blame yoga, while thankfully others surrender to healing, integration, love, and the higher self potential -- they begin to wake up to a new life and its "awesome" creative potentials which were previously dormant or repressed within the safe familiar boundaries of the ego's fortress/prisons.
For most the kundalini awakening is gradual and there is ample time for adjustment from old to new ways of relating. For long term growth however and especially in order to alleviate needless suffering (learning the hard way), Hatha yoga must be presented in an integrated context alongside meditation, self study, pranayama, bandha, mudra, kriya, and the rest. Knowledge of Kundalini gives us freedom from its vicissitudes. The flow of kundalini is like a river of ambrosia that flows from mother kundalini. When real kundalini flows there is no fear; only the distortion of this flow stemming from ignorance and attachment will there be difficulties.
Unfortunately it is commonplace to confuse or associate the kundalini experience or tantra yogic techniques with gross sexuality. Hatha yoga does not try to ignore, deny, or bury sex, the body, or nature in some tidy artificial hole, but rather it vitally allows for nature, natural function, and embodied love through the activation of kundalini. In truth, of course, the sexual organs, endocrine system, nervous system, and other organs and tissues are activated in Hatha yoga. True Hatha yoga does not repress these organs and for some who have been denying their natural function may become uncomfortable. If a student has been sexually repressed through old patterns and mechanisms which strangulated the life energy to the reproductive system, then they may experience what may seem like sexual energy when doing yoga; however it is in reality just natural energy. If we cannot deal with this energy efficiently or spiritually, some unfortunately have stopped their practice and even condemned it. Hatha yoga instruction thus must be given with context.
Students who sought only health, beauty, or acrobatic skills to add to their egocentric life style and who were not ready or open to honor or acknowledge the sacred or wholistic aspect of life eventually often became discouraged. This was due to my ignorance, poor communication skills, and lack of insight and compassion more than the fault of the student, because it was beyond my capacity to inspire them to understand the greater relevance, benefit, and advantage of the spiritual or wholistic approach. The solution to these any most other problems is for us to commune and reside increasingly in our core energy, allow ourselves to bathe in the loving vibrations of the universe, to bring this healing and creative energy out into the world in all our interactions, to reclaim our body, our lives, and our heart.
The object of this paper to share my understanding of yoga, which has been extracted from over twenty years of active Hatha yoga practice, so that more people may gain a lucid, empowered, and functional context in order to more smoothly integrate and maximize the gifts of yoga in their daily lives.
For me Hatha yoga has been a way of reclaiming my life, reclaiming my body and heart, empowering myself, regaining wholeness, healing myself, and regaining the confidence of my inner authority i.e., authoritatively knowing what is good for me and what is not; coming into the authority of the heart. We are all born with this potential; indeed, we all inherently, innately, or indigenously possess this potential in the form of instinct and intuition, but we most often grow up in a society which attempts to validate (often defensively and mostly neurotically) a value system separated from the ethics of life, estranged from nature and the body, phobic of the wild and uncontrolled, defensive/aggressive, insecure, and self validating in its self deception.
Such group neuroses does not nurture true groundedness in life, true self esteem, and empowerment, or authenticity, but rather confiscates, represses, and ridicules it. The fears, prejudice, ignorance, and neuroses of the past are hence more commonly passed down from one generation to the other leaving little room for true creativity, self empowerment, and truth, which too often appears to threaten the neurotic's already entrenched grasping onto externalization and pretense which has served as a sublimating self gratifying mechanism of (over) compensation for true security and identity.
Unfortunately for those upholding such a masquerade; escaping in delusion and illusions, even being "reminded" of a life of integrity may trigger red flags of anger, guilty defensive/aggressive reaction, self justification, or other fearful neurotic reaction, which are seen as threats to insecure, fragmented, and paranoid minds who have attached and identified themselves to self deceit, delusion, false pride, ivory towers, and emperor's new clothes. People who have learned to identify with a world devoid of wilderness, estranged from spontaneity and vitality, empty of love, and stripped of trust and unconditional friendship are prime candidates for wholistic therapy.
Wilderness and nature are like truth, they can not be controlled. The desire for truth must be foremost on our priority list, and then the sacredness of existence will come back to life. Often the key in "transition" or transformation will not be devoid of "rocks and hard places" unless we as our own therapists understand history and social forces -- where to start from, how to create context, and stimulate within the client our own dormant, repressed, or externalized desire for liberation and wholeness (sankalpa shakti).
Wholism offers us a way not only to nourish our own intuition, to reclaim our inherent authenticity, to become free from the external authorities of our present health care system, to more fully appreciate and honor life and the earth, to reclaim our own life and healing abilities that have been co-opted and expropriated, but to also manifest our highest potential by ridding ourselves of all biopsychic/spiritual impurities and to enter into conscious harmony with the divine source of creation. Hatha yoga is not the only method of wholism that can do this, but it may be the oldest and most reliable, if not one of the most widely misunderstood.
Here mukti, or freedom, begins by taking responsibility for our own situation. It begins by making a decision to make a change and explore a world no longer governed by external authority or events, but a world of self empowered efficacious vital response, ability, adequacy, and courage. True freedom is not possible without accepting this responsibility for self: in action and in our biopsychic development. Since this responsibility will not work unless we gain self understanding which includes intimate knowledge of life, nature, and our true nature, this exploration must begin and end with total surrender to the truth, to reality as-it-is unencumbered by delusion, prejudice, pride, or desire.
When we truly understand our situation as it really is -- our true nature -- then we no longer are dependent upon external authorities, no longer are we insecure or in need of false ego bolsters, prideful illusions, self deceit, chauvinistic identifications, or compensatory overreaction. Here we are no longer confused about what is good for us, what is healthy, or what is ethical action, because we have reestablished an intimate and conscious interconnection with the vital currents of life: with a living innate ethic. Thus in a wholistic context, freedom, responsibility, self empowerment, surrender, discipline, and transpersonal identity are not contradictory at all, but are rather integral components of the same evolutionary process: a process of deepening worship, celebration, and communion.
Once we have established an intimate and ongoing connection with our inner authority through biopsychic wholism, our old confusion, insecurity, despair, anxiety, stress, and discomfort based on external dependencies, conceptual formulations, or other biopsychic externalization's due to the trauma of dualistic existence gradually are loosened and resolved. When we realize we no longer need to grasp unto the false identifications of separateness i.e., the sense world, for our identity, security, or reality, when we no longer need these compensatory neurotic sublimation or externalization's in order to navigate, then we have reached a stage of liberation, empowerment, fulfillment, wholeness, and success. Here we have achieved integration with the great integrity, our true nature, as it is, undistorted by prejudice, limitation, time or space conditioning, or ignorance.
Through wholistic approaches we no longer need to identify or find security in the familiarity of past neurotic patterns rooted in desire and separateness manifesting in pain, fear, trauma, hurt, repression, anger, loss, or grief. Once we have learned how to establish and sustain this deep communion with the source of nature or creation, we move more creatively, spontaneously, and with greater relevance and more direct intuitive wisdom. Here we see other's pain and suffering and instead of reacting in old pattern of being angry or feeling threatened, we act out of the heart -- as compassion -- with the healing remedy -- at the maximum dosage the victim is able to bear effectively. We act increasingly as healers rather than as victims because to do otherwise would betray our natural state of innocence, joy, and profound empathy of embodied universal love consciousness. We act more consciously, than out of misunderstanding or confusion.
For example in a wholistic context, the debate whether or not the present ecological crisis is the result of an alienated and nature-phobic consciousness, or whether today's predominant ecocidal consciousness is the result of a toxic environment, inner pollution, or an exploitive and unethical value system is a question no longer relevant once we adopt the wholistic perspective wherein consciousness, beliefs, values, attitudes toward the body and nature, medicine, shelter, food, energy, economics, in short, our way of life and survival, are all seen as intimately interconnected and explained in one natural ethical system of integrity i.e., where the whole manifest world is the manifestation, action, play, and result of shakti, creation, nature, or laws of nature. We simply manifest externally what we have inside of ourselves or carry along with us. Yoga allows us to purify the poisons and pollution of artificial dead conditioning and open up, or wake up, or become sensitive to the sacred vital present.
Establishing a vital, intimate, spontaneous, and direct harmonious connection with this innate non-self contradicting reality, gives us a deep sense of inner order, vital and direct meaning, self confidence, well beingness, peace, and true security. Here we can come into our own truth, true nature, and self authority. Then we no longer are neurotically propelled to seek our security, gratification, identity, morals, and needs from fragmented, isolated, and/or externalized sources.
Here the attraction and neurotic need of pride status, security in separateness and possessions, consumerism, and all its tragic chauvinistic. paranoiac, and hate and conflict causing evils loses its attraction; for here we no longer have a need to hold onto any self justification, self validation, self conceit, self deceit, or delusion based on fragmentation, separateness, limitation, confusion, and corruption. Here instead life is simply full, complete, deep, beautiful, loving, and meaningful. Thus there arises no self worth issues or need for external authority, acceptance, or approval.
Thus yoga is a process of self discovery, self understanding, self realization, self authority, self empowerment, and self fulfillment; it is a system of self completion. It assumes that if we truly understand our self (who we really are in totality), we would be free from false identifications, confusion, error, and suffering. According to yoga, suffering would not occur in the first place if we had not become spiritually self alienated or corrupted. Indeed if we do not understand how we operate, what controls our emotions and thoughts, why we do things, then by definition we are simultaneously in ignorance and enslaved by external and alienated forces.
Unfortunately the more common "reaction" to this self doomed (and proclaimed) imprisonment is to grasp at false straws: the reactionary compensations of protection, fabrications of false pride, masks, fortresses and castles built out of fear and insecurity, or in many instances islands of self patronizing ideology, prejudice, arrogance, chauvinism, condemnation, bigotry, denunciation, hatred, jealousy, exploitation, aggressiveness, and violence: the stuff in which war and all social evil arise (as well as the destruction of other creatures, and our own life supporting environment). Yoga, on the contrary, teaches us how to move from the realm of wholeness rather than from trauma, estrangement, partiality, and hurt. Yoga teaches how to move away from a numbed and pain-full way of death to a feeling way of being and life.
In yoga we move away from illness into wellness; away from disease into ease; away from conflict and tension into rejuvenation, recharging, revitalizing, healing, love, and deep peace. Once this reality is fully established within us, as our self, then we can more fully and efficiently manifest and reflect it.
The task is however in "Reality" extremely simple; to understand our true original nature juxtaposed against the self-limiting and artificial identity which we have mistakenly become entombed. Once we understand our self, we are capable of making wiser choices and thus become able to take control of our destiny. Only with this heightened consciousness (or context) then are we able to truly be ethical, mature, empowered, and responsible beings. As will be shown later, yoga meditation is that process where we go beyond merely differentiating between these two levels of understanding, but actually completely merge with the greater context leaving the false identifications and confusions behind as dross, thus at the same time entering into the ground of true and absolute freedom. Here we begin to wake up to who we are beyond the veils of conditioning or ignorance. Yoga teaches us the territory and terrain of the synergistic interconnections between the physical, emotional, spiritual, and natural energy vortexes in a conscious manner operating between the sky and earth; between spirit and nature; inside the human body and heart as the sacred temple of divine love; as the embodiment of spirit.
HERE we no longer need any so called "grounding techniques" or visualizations that connect our feelings, consciousness, and/or body to the earth and the rest of the cosmos, for we have become grounded in truth, in reality, and its immense source of being. Here we resonate with the entire universe in all directions and dimensions, unlimited in potential and expansiveness. Here we are truly centered in the heart and if we are lucky the heart of hearts bringing us a great sense of well being, fulfillment, grace, completeness, integrity, and wholesomeness.
Gradually we learn how to nourish the wholesomeness in our everyday life, and leave the prisons of our past behind. Here we gradually learn how to wake up to life and spirit which resides in the heart rather, than to abide in the familiar representational world of ordinary fragmented consciousness which in reality is only a dreaming state of semi-consciousness.
To the utterly at-one with Siva
There's no dawn,
no new moon,
nor full moons;
his front yard
is the true Benares,
I'm the one who has the body,
You're the one who holds the breath.
You know the secret of my body,
I know the secret of your breath.
That's why your body
is in mine
and I know, Ramanatha,
of your breath
in my body.
God of my clan,
I'll not place my feet
but where your foot
have stood before;
I've no feet of my own
How can the immoralists
of this world know
the miracle, the oneness
of your feet
one will hunger
one will die.
O you, don't you rib
and taunt me
for having a body:
body thyself for once
like me and see
When, to the hungerless figure,
you serve waters of no thirst,
whisper the sense-less word
in the heart,
and call without a name,
who is it that echoes O!
is it you
or is it me?"
From the Vacanas of Dasimayya, translated from the Dravidian (Kannada) by A.K. Ramanujan in "Speaking of Siva", London: Penguin, 1973
My students ask me questions, but they do not want "words". Nobody wants just "words" unless we are happy looking "at" or are standing distanced from life. We really all want to experience truth, the all, the is-ness, the suchness, the Tao, the juice of the present, the fullness of life -- (unless we are too vulnerable, or too self possessed in our own secure/safe, predictable, and familiar prisons of fear! We want to be there (here), but do we want to understand how we hold ourselves back? We want enlightenment, but are we willing to take self responsibility for our own consciousness? We want to go beyond limitation, fear, grief, dissatisfaction, and ideology, but are we willing to give up our false conception of reality and self?
All of us are lost in belief systems, some more corrupt, perverse, arrogant, and self contradictory than others. Identity is simply the process of relationship i.e., defining self in terms of (not-self). This is essentially a spiritual task, if not the essential spiritual task. If it is not attended to adequately spiritual disintegration, alienation, suffering, and disenfranchisement occur. To go beyond limitation is to go beyond belief systems and the intellect into reality and this is to go beyond words as well which only tend to define and limit.
The world of diversity takes on its beauty and meaning only within the context of the great whole; the great integrity. Anything else is confusion, corruption, illusion, and falsehood which in turn breeds desire, torment, and suffering.
Through integration -- through the great integrity -- through Reality as-it-is, Is-ness, we become whole and empowered. Through truth falsehood is destroyed, through understanding ignorance is destroyed, by making room by throwing away our prisons of illusion, we invite inside the beloved into our heart in everyday life.
In the context of reality, it is very simple, but most people are not willing to give up their dramas, masks, self deceits, and prisons (their illusory world). For those who feel drawn to yoga, the reader is invited to take a trip through the following pages woven together with words uniquely juxtaposed in such a pattern to show both sides of the same coin, the world of suffering and the world of Reality, the world of illusion and the world of Truth, disclosing the clashes between the absolute order of reality and truth on one hand and the confusion and suffering that is brought about from falsehood, fragmentation, alienation, and corruption.
In the wood on Singha Mountain,
I, Milarepa, meditate on Voidness,
Not because I fear to lose my understanding --
Constant meditation is the yogi's way.
Without distraction, the yogi meditates absorbed
Upon the pure Mandala of Dharmadhatu,
Not because he fears to go astray --
But to hold to Self-quintessence is the yogi's way.
When he works on the Nadis, Prana, and Bindu,
He avoids hindrances and errors,
Not that the teaching has faults in itself --
But it is a good way to improve true Realization.
With natural and spontaneous behavior,
One surely meets with countless ups and downs,
Not because there is discrimination and dualistic thought --
But to manifest all is causation's nature.
When he develops other beings by demonstrating the power of karma,
Though seemingly he sees as real both good and evil,
It is not because he has gone astray in his practice,
But to explain the truth to different people,
He must use appropriate illustrations.
Those great yogis who have mastered the Practice,
Never desire anything in this world.
It is not because they want fame, that they remain in solitude;
It is the natural sign springing from their hearts --
The true feeling of non-attachment and renunciation.
Yogis who practice the Teaching of the Path Profound,
Dwell always in caves and mountains;
Not that they are cynical or pompous,
But to concentrate on meditation is their self willing".
So spoke the great Tibetan yogi, Milarepa, on Singha Mountain almost a thousand years ago, translated by Garma C. C. Chang in "The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa, vol. I", (Boulder: Shambhala, 1962, rep, 1977).
Here yoga is anything but mystical or complicated. It is simply the process of following our own true nature and with it receiving the accompanying bliss.
The word, yoga, has been too often entombed by a myriad of inaccurate predilection and fantasy conjuring up exotic and bizarre images, rather than the non-mysterious and more intimate images of simplicity, naturalness, truth, and light.
Too often "religionist" authors and ideologues attempt to clothe timeless absolute truths in terms of relative and temporal contexts most often creating the counterproductive effects of contradiction, confusion, or drama where in reality none exists.
The one -- the great integration -- the boundless and unconditioned cannot be bound, defined, described, limited, or experienced from the view of separateness, fragmentation, corruption, or illusion without creating a grievous injustice. Here, we will try to rather take the everyday words of ever changing material existence and place them as much as possible into a wholistic, timeless, or spiritual context in the attempt to communicate the true message of true yoga.
What then is yoga? There are many answers as there are answers to the question, "What is the new age"? The new age by definition is something new; it can't be defined adequately within the terms of the old. Both answers usually get bogged down in a catch-22, which is that it is difficult to define one larger all encompassing context by a smaller, limiting, less comprehensive context. That is like trying to fit the ocean inside a bottle of water -- it simply doesn't fit. To call the bottle of water, the ocean, would be an inadequate representation, merely a symbol, an illusion, and ultimately it becomes a disservice to truth and clarity.
The present human milieu has its cause in confusion of separation. We are confused -- lost in sublimation, externalization, image, symbols, dead representations, fear, projection, and nihilism which have replaced or rather confiscated the inherent vital interconnectedness, deep meaning, integrity, compassion, peacefulness, vision, direction, and essential heartfelt purpose of our lives through the importation of the limiting veil of fragmented existence (ignorance) placed upon our consciousness through institutionalized neuroses and false belief systems.
If my view of yoga tends to be eclectic -- If I define what I call my yoga, what yoga means to me, in my own terms then those who see yoga in the old outdated paradigm defined by their own prejudices and limited experiences may criticize or denounce me and say that this is not "really" yoga, but a new age bastardization, a corruption, or an "incorrect" misunderstanding.
On the other hand, if I present my integrated body/mind/spirit practice (called hitherto biopsychic spiritual practice) as something of my own, as separate from yoga in an attempt to avoid criticism or condemnation, then we risk the possible condemnation from these same critics who are attached to the traditions of the past era who may similarly criticize these teachings on the grounds that what I claim as original or "different" is nothing other than "yoga" disguised with a different name or "new age" terminology.
Although this apparent catch-22 will not allow prisoners of ideologies (or to the intellect) to be satisfied, it has been decided not to allow those who are attached to past conceptual patterns, habits, tendencies, propensities, and traits to dictate what is acceptable or possible, what may or may not be expediently communicated with words. Probably what is needed are NEW words defined by us to mean what we define them to mean, but that will have to wait for later. Rather than to say nothing about what IS, the author will risk writing a tautology, scribbling down as best he can what is self evident.
In order not to expend more time here in clarifying any possible semantic confusion, let it be said that it is the author's opinion that a great deal of the present human malaise is due to lack of context. It is up to the reader to decide if these words are of any value: i.e., if they communicate effectively anything beneficial, vital, or relevant.
This very situation offers us a great opportunity to overcome the predominate paradigm barriers of the past era and take a fresh look at a truly wholistic perspective -- an indigenous, natural, and healing context of integrity and spirit. In this spirit, the following pages will utilize the ancient dialectic method of juxtaposing relative truth with ultimate truth, the old with the new, the corrupted with integrity, and so forth.
The inanimate, dead, dichotomous, and conflicting predominate belief system of the past age looks at nature, our animal nature, our true nature, and our body in terms of insecurity, separation, arrogance, fear, control and exploitation -- in the neurotic terms of dualism, fragmentation, conflict, irony, estrangement, alienation, attachment, confiscation, desire, and expropriation. On the other hand the stance of wholism is to acknowledge life, to honor, respect, enhance, and nurture it; not to ignore, deny, escape, or repress its expression or manifestation.
Since there already exist many books easily available about the more commonly known yogas of meditation, breathing, worship, devotion, selfless service, action, visualization, sound, mantra, ritual, mystic diagrams, study, purification, preparation, exercise, sexuality, healing, and the like (variously called by names such as tantra, kundalini, kriya, karma, bhakti, mantra, nada, sabda, laya, prana, raja, jnana, and yantra yoga, the following will be an explanation of what my 30 years of yoga practice (24 years of Hatha yoga) has meant to me.
Although I first taught Hatha Yoga in 1972 at the Center For the Study of Health Maintenance Practices (the first wholistic health and preventative medicine organization in Northern California) and later at the Kripalu Ashram in Berkeley (run by Yogeshwar Muni) in 1975 and 1976. Except for extensive study and practice in wholistic health (diet, ecological medicine, body work, and movement therapies) my yoga practice and study had until recently become somewhat private and solitary with rare exceptions of occasional individual or couple counseling. In 1992, I decided that I must find a way to more openly share this gift of yoga with others again.
My background in Eastern studies, yoga, and meditation goes back to 1965 when I was enrolled at the University of Wisconsin, Eastern Studies Department where I began to hungrily study all the translated literature from Indo-Tibetan, Chinese, Japanese, and SE Asia on yoga, breathing, and meditation. Only later, I started a formal practice having finally absorbed the teachings and able to place them in a meaningful, practical, and vital context in terms of everyday activities. I had the good fortune of studying with dozens of swamis, lamas, abbots, sheiks, yogis, shamans, and doctors in the US. Europe, and Asia.
The period of human history that has most interested me is the eclectic (both Buddhist and Hindu) medieval Indian yoga movements characterized by the Siddha and Sahaj yogis such as Sri Matsyendranath (Minapa) or Goraksa who were considered to be both Hindu and Buddhist saints (who probably considered themselves neither). It was an extremely fertile period where true spirituality was more widely understood to have transcended the means or paths of religion, doctrine, ideology, or formula, being merely the attunement to unalienated embodied Reality as-it-is i.e., our true nature as whole living beings mutually synergistically interconnected with nature through the body, the elements, the earth, the created universe, and its uncreated source.
Unfortunately this very empowering and creative flowering of yoga in this era was been specifically picked out and persecuted because it was considered atheistic by the theistic Mogul conquerors in the thirteenth century. Along with Buddhism it was almost totally destroyed in India only surviving in modified, reformed, or sublimated form such as found in the various post and late medieval teachings of Kabir, Jnanadev, the Nath yogis, the Yoga Upanishads, the Kanphata yogis, yoga tantra, spiritual and microcosmic poetry, esoteric Tibetan yoga, Chinese Taoist and Japanese yoga and alchemy, and various old but "obscure" Shaiva, yogic, and tantric sects such as the Siddhas, the Sahaj yogis, the Kapalika, the Kaula, the Kalamukha, the Pashupati, Lakulas, the Soma-siddhantas, the Kaya-sadhana yogis, and the like. It was then that the flowering of Indian yoga declined into religion ritual, ideology, sexual mysticism, and other externalizations only to survive in the extreme mountainous regions of the Himalayans, Tibet, and in China.
"Wherein reside the Buddhas of all Times.
With their blessings I am freed
From all needs and attachments.
By day and night I offer to them;
Happy am I to do without material things.
Knowing that all beings in the Six Lokas
Are latent Buddhas, and all Three Realms
The Self-creating Beyond measure Palace.
Whatever I do is a play of Dharmadhatu;
Whomever I am with is the Patron Deity;
Wherever I stay is the Buddha's abode.
With my great wisdom I clearly see them all.
Happy am I to forgo outside help and symbols!
On the 'paper' of the Red and White
Forces that I use the 'ink' of Wisdom,
Writing the words of the Five Senses,
All forms then become the Dharmakaya.
Happy am I without those foolish books.
All sentient beings in Samsara
Have 'Thatness,' but realize it not.
Applying the Profound Instructions, I absorb myself
In the Samadhi of the Three in-One Trikaya....
....The sky keep of Red Rock Heights
Is where Dakinis meet,
A place of delight that brings
Much inspiration to me.
Oh wise and persevering disciples,
Pay attention to the Song
This old man sings in joy.
In this quiet hermitage
Where no sectaries are found
Resides a guide ever in Samadhi.
He knows the Path, a happy man
Realizing his own body as the Holy Temple.
Oh how marvelous it is to know
That Mind nature like the sky is pure!
A firm and steady faith is the guide
That can lead you from Samsara.
Is there one here who has this guide?
Oh, happy it is to see that both
Samsara and Nirvana are self-liberating;
Oh. marvelous it is to realize
That the Four Bodies of Buddha
Ever exist in one's own mind.
The non-clinging contact with objects
By the six senses, is the guide
That turns all hindrances into help.
Is there one here who has this guide?
Happy it is to reach the shore of No-desire,
And wondrous to be freed from all duality....
....The Skillful Path of the Whispered Lineage is the guide
That can distinguish the pure and adulterated mind.
Is there one here who has this guide?
Oh, marvelous it is to feel the Life-Prana
Coursing through the Central Channel!
Happy it is to have mind and body
Always at ease and in bliss!
The Yogi who practices Voidness and Compassion
Is the guide who cuts off jargon and play words
Is there one here who has this guide?
Oh, happy is to be surrounded by enlightened beings
And marvelous to win disciples through transformation!"
The Tibetan Yogi, Milarepa, "The Song of the Eight Wondrous Joys, sung at Red Rock Height of Drin, translated by Garma Chang, in "The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa", vol. II, Boulder: Shambhala, 1977.
Although there is much disagreement by the "authorities" of the origin of yoga and the place of Hatha yoga in "their own scheme of things", it can be shown that it predates the Vedas, the Hindus considering its original teacher to be Siva who manifests as Shakti (the power behind nature or creation), while the Buddhists ascribe the teachings to the whispering traditions of the wisdom Dakinis (the awakened presiding prana shaktis or goddesses) emanating from the Dharmakaya (literally the body of truth or reality). This is simply of our awareness of our true natural state where our identification with the goddess Vajra Yogini or the goddess kundalini has been realized.
For convenience we will use the terms of Siva and Shakti, but in a non-religious sense (just as yang/yin is in reality a unity in the Tao) depicting the original cosmic split of the one into the many: the first pair of opposites or dualistic polarity; as a way to discern and explain creation or the manifest universe. In this context Siva and Shakti are always seen to be joined as part of a greater integrity or whole which is universal and unborn -- in Reality they are not separate.
It is in this form of Shakti, nature herself, our own true nature, our own direct experience of the life dynamics and its source, which is the yogi's best and truest teacher. A good teacher teaches others utilizing ultimate humility as their guide how to become in harmony, empowered, conscious, and directed by this primal, vital, and essential energy -- the is-ness, suchness, that-ness, wholeness, true Self, or the great integrity which is the indigenous true nature of our earthly existence. Those who have taught us cries, asanas, pranayama, bandha, mudra, meditation, prayer, song, and the like, if they are of any true benefit, have received their instruction from this same source.
This instruction is endogenous, inherent, natural, and accessible to us all. We were born with it and thus it is the birthright of all. It is THAT which is behind intuition, true wisdom, instinct (intuition as applied to the body), spontaneous love, compassion, beauty, justice, and peace. The further we find it inside our self, the more we see it in all other living beings, the more we recognize it pulsing throughout the universe -- self becoming aware of self -- pure consciousness looking back upon our Self. We will now see how Shakti or Siva are just names for the various aspects of this timeless teacher.
In the system of Hatha yoga, Ha is Shiva and Tha stands for Shakti. Ha means Sun while tha means moon. Ha is unmanifest, seed like, and not limited by form while tha is the entire created universe, nature, and creation. Ha is undifferentiated consciousness while Tha is differentiated consciousness. Ha is the Pingala nadi (nerve) associated with the left brain and right side of the body while tha is the ida nadi associated with the right brain and the left side of the body (they cross the body at the nostrils). Pingala is associated with the sympathetic nervous system while ida is associated with the parasympathetic. Ha is male and tha female.
In true Hatha yoga we are taught that Siva and Shakti are not really separated, they do not exist separate in themselves, they are always joined and connected, but only appear to be separate in order to best differentiate the world, define the pairs of opposites, create the polarity necessary to drive the universe into dynamic differentiation, and thus create the manifest world as composed of apparently separate ever changing "entities" without which one can not be compared and differentiated from the other. Later we will show how these forces within our self are activated and integrated through hatha and tantra yoga.
Having discussed the new age paradigm of wholeness and the idea of "context" itself, it is especially fitting here to embrace the essential teaching of yoga which is essentially one of integrity, the Great Integrity, the Great Self, the true self, the Great Spirit of Nature, our true nature.
According to yoga the task is to rejoin the spirit with form in the body consciously, to form a conscious relationship between heaven and earth, pure consciousness (purusha) and nature (prakriti), crown and root, spirit and matter -- to understand the identity of our indigenous self. Here absolute undifferentiated consciousness is seen as being essentially united with differentiated relative consciousness; it's separation being only artificial. Events and phenomena appear as separate because of our ignorance, our fragmented contexts, our corrupted belief systems, our traditions of alienated ideologies, nature phobia, prejudice, fear, pride, jealousy, hatred, and other false attachments and idolatry.
Real yoga brings us back to our true Self, to the reality of great beauty, depth, compassion/passion, peace, courage, integrity, wisdom, and security of our true identity. True yoga returns us to spirit, empowerment, well beingness, health, and by nature opposes estrangement, alienation, cynicism, self deceit, delusion, despair, fragmentation, externalization, false identification, chauvinism, prejudice, false pride, fear, violence, ecocide, hatred and all the other myriad plagues of humanity's conditioned ignorance based on fragmented existence.
"Some seek their path
in the practice of rites
as the Veda teaches:
they fall through ignorance,
into the trap of ritualism."
Yogatattva Upanishad, I.6, trsl. J. Varenne, Yoga in the Hindu Tradition, Univ. of Chicago Press, 1976.
Yoga thus is not merely something that we do externally as ceremony, ritual, observances, ideology, or appearance, but rather yoga has a vital, intimate, and living fruit. This is the test of true yoga. Yoga is not to be understood as a performance art, as an external manifestation of correct posture or appearance, nor simply as a health or beauty aid. Health, beauty, suppleness, resilience, grace, endurance, stamina, peacefulness, confidence, courage, and the like may follow only as ancillary to the fruit of being in biopsychic and spiritual harmony (of body and mind and spirit). True yoga must lead us to a direct vital subjective and objective experience, an inner attunement and direct feeling of what is good, authentic, centering, healthy, harmonizing, healing, and empowering. Here we experience an inner order, power, security, peacefulness, understanding, completeness, and fulfillment that obviates any other external need of self gratification except within the integrity of compassion.
True yoga turns us on to our own indigenous, inherent, intuitive, instinctual, endogenous wisdom within, not dependence on some externalization, identification, holy physical place, dead external ritual or ceremonial hierarchical system of external authority. True yoga teaches us to not be dependent upon external teachers, but rather to embrace and become reconnected to the inner guru and the truly wholesome reality which exists beyond ignorant and outmoded dogmas of duality, alienation, conflict, and estrangement.
That is not to say that "external" teachers, classes, or external experience have nothing to offer, but rather it is important to emphasize that true yoga as any system of truth, self understanding, empowerment, and self healing must ultimately lead us to the transpersonal and wholistic context of unfragmented reality. True yoga leads to liberation and empowerment of our dormant potential, not dependence and false security in limitation and familiar prisons. Yoga must lead us to our true integrity -- where only true identifications can occur. This is our greater and true self or natural state before the corrupting influences of conditioned prejudice, false belief systems, arrogance, and ignorance dissuaded and corrupted us.
All of our experience must be placed within the vital context of the greater whole if we wish to honor truth, understanding, and integrity. This can only become achieved by becoming more conscious of our vital nature, by intimately knowing the whole from the depth of our being -- as the center of our being -- as our true self. Thus the true process of learning -- of yoga as a path-- is simply the process of becoming conscious of what is. The more conscious we become, the less mistakes we make -- the more vital, in harmony, empowered, wise, peaceful, fulfilled, courageous, and healing our lives will become.
Simply said the more we understand, the less confused we will become and hence the less mistakes we make. The less mistakes we make the less we harm ourselves (as parts of the one) -- the greater our beauty grows and the smaller the unconscious becomes until we merge ultimately with absolute consciousness and become one with our dream and our vision -- beyond hope, fear, desire, neuroses, or attachment. Here WE simply manifest our highest potential according to the degree we are able to reconcile, harmonize, or become integrated with our true nature.
How does yoga do this? Well yoga doesn't do it -- we do by listening to shakti. That is we learn how to listen to nature, our own true nature, the power of creation, our natural and indigenous self. We become less inhibited and repressed and more spontaneous and expressive.
We learn to enjoy making the effort to get our limited fragmented conceptual identities out of the way. This is the way we nurture our own inner wisdom -- we build up our sankalpa shakti (strong determination to reach spiritual liberation). We increasingly allow for shakti or nature to manifest more fully within our lives identifying ourselves as beings who are part of nature -- intimately and vitally connected with her. We welcome becoming filled with her light and healing energies. We learn gradually how to feel her beauty, presence, power, and grace as communion. We allow ourselves to become more part of nature and creation. With spontaneous joy we become creative co-creators.
Having become one with the creative force, we dance the same dance together. We manifest as her wisdom and compassion, as her arms and legs -- as ethical members of a great family and community. Becoming more whole, we become more fulfilled, complete, joyous, and vital. Our effort becomes uninhibited, effortless, and becomes equated with love, worship, and great bliss.
Eventually the vital, indigenous, ecological, or wholistic paradigm where all of nature which previously was experienced as being separate, objective, external, frozen, dead or inanimate is known to be inside of our own heart. Likewise we become simultaneously animated, taken up, engulfed, and inextricably truly find ourselves within it, enmeshed by nature's liquid love -- by all of creation and the source of creation. Gradually yoga instills in us this vital realization of the whole -- a true wholiness -- a wholesomeness, integrity, and completeness, not as a dead intellectualization, nor mental fabrication, nor concept, but as a living daily integrated consciousness -- a living ethical system that reveres and promotes life, healing, inner and outer ecology rather than being destructive.
In our practice of yoga we are ever deepening the context; getting to know our mother better; merging more deeply with spirit and nature, balancing within and without sky and earth, sun and moon, joining the Pingala nerve with the Ida nerve in the central column (the sushumna), integrating the Ha and the Tha.
"In your body is Mount Meru
encircled by the seven continents;
the rivers are there too,
the seas, the mountains, the plains,
and the gods of the fields.
Prophets are to be seen in it, monks,
places of pilgrimage
and the deities presiding over them.
The stars are there, and the planets,
and the sun together with the moon;
there too are the two cosmic forces:
that which destroys, that which creates;
and all the elements: ether,
air and fire, water and earth.
Yes, in your body are all things
that exist in the three worlds,
all performing their prescribed functions
around Mount Meru
He alone who knows this
is held to be a true yogi"
Siva-Samhita, 2.1-5, trsl. by J. Varenne, Yoga in the Hindu Tradition, Univ. of Chicago Press, 1976.
Yoga to me has been an alchemical adventure of love and worship to transform a fragmented, corrupted, and dissipated biopsychic organism into one of integrity. It is a joyous task of attuning this biopsychic organism as a point of consciousness, a vehicle of compassion, healing, love, truth, remembrance, and integrity. Sometimes this approach to yoga may appear awesome --to take responsibility for our own destiny, health, and transformation -- but when we remember that the task is really to surrender to the divine intelligence -- to shakti's wisdom beyond our limited mentations -- to the whole, then the burden is lifted and the task becomes simple and joyous again. It is only when we are in the veiled realm of forgetfulness, shutdown in ignorance, and blocked from her grace does her infinite love, playfulness, spontaneity, wisdom, peace, and joy desert us; but here again it is yoga and surrender to the great integrity which leads us out of this somber isolation and estrangement back into life itself again.
The "signs" of success in yoga such as health, beauty, grace, stamina, the perfection of the asanas, resilience, endurance, healing powers, peacefulness, kindness, and other such results are merely symptoms of a greater cause or -- of reaching a higher end -- in moving toward perfection in yoga - in attaining biopsychic and spiritual purification, activation, and integration. To consider them as being ends in themselves is a perversion which leads to difficulties, corruption, misunderstanding and in the end is counterproductive. Although there are many who will teach yoga outside of the religious context, it can never be taught with true success outside of the spiritual context which goes beyond any conception of personal possession, personal gain, or other similar concepts based on separateness, estrangement, and alienation.
It is a mistake to view yoga as a system of painful contortions, self abnegation, self mortification, or joyless willful discipline, because such practices have nothing to do with spiritual wholeness, love, or healing and it is absurd to think that the more one punishes the body the holier they will become. There is however benefit in giving up dissipating habits and old patterns of diversion and attachment, but yoga goes far beyond mere negativity, denial, ignorance, and avoidance.
Nor is yoga extreme acrobatics, a performance sport, a means of achieving personal power or success at the expense of others, or a means of gaining approval, recognition, fame, or self esteem through comparative advantage or comparison, flattery, false pride, self deceit, or other similar compensatory mechanisms of alienation and delusion. Real yoga is the opposite of willfully controlling the body by the intellect nor is does real yoga have anything to do with compensatory neurotic externalizations.
Real yoga turns us on to the innate power within us. Through learning about the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and natural forces operating through us (inside of us) we become empowered and can enter onto our own truth,. Here we need no outside approval or authority but understand that our own awareness of our biopsychic organism and how it synergistically interacts with nature and creation is our own authority. We thus can take back our own authority through the awareness that yoga nurtures and this is the only way we can become empowered. We can not honor creation, nature, and other living beings without being in the body; without honoring and respecting the life force in our own embodiment/manifestation.
Yoga teaches us the territory, the inner terrain, the inner ecology, the inner vortexes and channels; the rivers, lakes, valleys, streams, mountains, clouds, and latent powers within, wherein spirit and creation interact in nature through the body and how through greater awareness we can become even more vitally interconnected, empowered, creative, loving, peaceful, and whole. Yoga is the not a denial or avoidance of life, the body, or nature, but rather a means where we can nurture our highest potential in our life on the planet; and this requires that we reside in the human body in order to fulfill this excursion. This is how we can overcome our conditioned ignorance of life, nature, creativity and integrity in life. It is this process which accelerates our accessibility to vital spontaneous wisdom.
Through the practice of yoga everything can be placed into context, nature and spirit, the relative world and the absolute, earth and sky, yin and yang, samsara and nirvana, the manifest and the unborn, the form and the void, the differentiated consciousness and the undifferentiated consciousness, diversity and unity, manifest reality and unmanifest reality, Shakti and Siva, Tha and Ha, Moon and Sun, Ida and Pingala, parasympathetic and sympathetic, and the like are joined together into a coherent wholistic context and process.
Yoga must be approached through the transpersonal or spiritual context wherein all beings are linked inside -- through our essential nature -- through our hearts -- to a greater transpersonal animate and vital reality which is the source of our healing and all nurture otherwise yoga will not bear its' fruit. Any context that denies this reality is by definition corrupt, self limiting, arrogant, and ignorant and unfortunately instead of bringing us freedom more often produces greater bondage to delusion, suffering, and confusion.
Hatha yoga, and in particular asanas, are a simple but an effective and accessible "button that we can push" everyday in order to move closer to nature, to life, and love. It is a discipline which is at the same time an act of worship based on living consciousness which honors and reveres the integration of life with spirit. Hatha yoga brings us beyond a dead, merely conceptual, fabricated, or intellectual based system of logic; rather it is based on the divine and far greater intelligence which lies behind all of nature's dynamic creation. In hatha yoga we understand fully that the intellect's "knowledge" is severely limited and will always be so, while nature's vital seed is boundless in wisdom and compassion. That seed is found in our very body.
Infants don't need to know that oxygen is essential in order to breathe or that it is necessary to expel carbon dioxide and other wastes with an exhale. They know intuitively or instinctively to breathe and uninhibitedly do so. Likewise we can not comprehend the actual process of how we digest food let alone how we heal a simple scratch let alone try to accomplish these processes consciously. A greater intelligence is best trusted for these tasks plus the myriad other moment to moment tasks that our body performs with nature, the planet, and the universe in order to keep us alive, healthy, and conscious. All we can do is to learn how to get the limited ego identifications and intellectualizations out of the way.
Our intuitive powers however extend beyond instinct, knowledge of the body, of nature, of the universe, and creation, The same power within us as living beings is the same power within all seeds, all living things, all medicines, and all of manifest reality. Yoga believes that by going within and reinforcing this communion with creation and its source we will become more firmly established in our essential harmony, grace, wisdom, and true and natural identity.
Most of us are suffering from the neurotic legacy of artificial, inanimate, rigid, dead, alien belief systems, and religious dogma. Thus hatha yoga has the especially relevant merit in that it starts with the basic task at the reestablishment of this vital conscious network through body purification and activation exercises designed not only to purify the physical nerves, brain, organs, glands, and tissues but also to stimulate and activate a vital and conscious biopsychic purification, activation, and interconnection.
Energy does not flow through our biopsychic organism because we have become habituated to blocking it out, obstructing its flow, repressing it, or dissipating and sublimating our energies. Kriyas (prefatory activities) purify both the physical body and biopsychic pathways.
The young healthy child moves without rigidity and without energy blockages, however the child's consciousness of the manifest world (and the body as part of creation) is lacking. Instead of being educated about life, love, healing, inner ecology, and our own innate non-dual self authority and empowerment, the modern child is more often than not estranged through a conditioning process that robs them of this connection. This is a conditioning process that produces rigidity of the body/mind through repeated trauma, tension, emotional estrangement, intimidation, threat, and alienation from nature and our true nature. This conditioning produces dysfunctional patterns of mental, emotional, and physical tension, rigidity, conflict, distortion, energy drains, blockages, imbalances, and chronic disease with the result of our immune systems becoming chronically suppressed and stressed.
For example most children are taught to sit straight and "stop fidgeting" on chairs from kindergarten at least through twelfth grade. Many go on to college, trade schools, or vocations with daily sitting on chairs for up to eight hours or longer. This type of conditioning breeds insensitivity, disease, stress, abuse, and self estrangement from instinct, intuition, spontaneity, creativity, and nature.
Through the practice of Hatha yoga kriyas (exercises), which are often called the Shat karmas (six actions), we quickly remove biopsychic burdens and catalyze transformation back from the corrupted and fragmented state to our natural state of integrity. These purifying activities thus in the long run are not to be seen merely as opening the body, but in cleansing the nadis (the psychic nerves in which prana flows) so that our dormant deeper potential, interconnections, and biopsychic pathways can be opened and we can function in a more vital, centered, and empowered way. The Shat Karmas of Hatha yoga if applied wisely speed up the progress of yoga practice considerably allowing us to more quickly rid ourselves not only from old physical patterns of rigidity and disease, but also let go of the old emotional or psychological traumas and tensions as well allowing us to reach out more fully to the necessary energy for the activation of our higher creative embodied potential.
Some of the beginning kriyas are sutra neti kriya (nasal cleansing with string), jala neti (nasal douche with water), nauli kriya (abdominal massage), agni sara kriya (fire cleansing), kapalabhati (skull shining), vamana dhauti (stomach washing with water), jala-vasti (yogic enema usually with water) and the like.
Some kriyas we all already do like danta dhauti (teeth cleaning) and we can easily add similar easy kriyas like gum and inner jaw massage; tongue scraping (with a spoon); tongue massage (stretching, and milking the tongue), forehead massage (kapala-randhra-dhauti); and the like taking up almost no extra time, but giving us immediate benefit. Some more advanced kriyas are best learned from a teacher or yoga therapist although these can occur spontaneously and naturally when our intuitive powers become awakened or when we have learned more to trust and/or access nature's great storehouse of wisdom/energy.
"By removing the impurities of the nadis, the air can be restrained according to one's wish, the appetite is increased, the divine sound is awakened, and the body becomes healthy. If there is excess of fat or phlegm in the body, the six kinds of kriyas (shat karmas) should be performed first. But others, not suffering from the excess of these, need not perform them. The six kinds are: Dhauti, Neti, Trataka, Nauli, and Kapala Bhati."
Shat Karma exercises are mutually synergistic with asana practice. Both are purifying and activating. Asana is best understood as an energetic or dynamic stance or perspective rather than a static posture. The word asana can be thus defined as our stance, posture, attitude, perspective, identity, framework of reference, our "stand in life", or position in the world. More exactly our present platform of viewing the world is our asana; it is the stance we have taken in the world; the dynamic and energetic relationship we have formed with self and others. Even more specifically it is the relationship in which we have established the body in terms of spirit and nature. It is how we see ourselves and thus each asana contains its own unique energetics, qualities, openings, and characteristics; which if performed correctly help us remove conditioned human propensities toward energy blockages, tension, repression, restraints, rigidities, limitations, repression, distortion, dissipation, dysfunction, or disease.
Thus through asana we are able to transform our past rigid attitudes, our frozen tendencies, our stagnant self imposed limitations and break up the old patterns as we purify the dross and merge deeper into the richness of reality which is our birthright potential by opening up the blocked channels of life and wisdom.
Thus we can "read" a body through observation of "postures" and determine much emotional, psychological, or spiritual information about that person. Likewise we can move that person through some powerful asanas and transform that person's consciousness and state of being.
Yoga through asanas and Hatha yoga kriyas purify and activate the dormant biopsychic mechanisms and dynamics which is our higher potential and birthright. They help allow us to awaken to our intrinsic higher vibratory frequencies. Asanas and kriyas activate not merely muscles, but interconnected the organs, nerves, glands, tissues, and their interconnected channels which form the synergistic extraordinary biopsychic and spirit-filled dynamic circuits. In working through each asanas we are actually wakening up the chakras, removing constriction in these bio-psychic centers and channels. Hatha yoga asanas thus gives us an easy avenue to move the vital energy through the biopsychic organism and gives us intimate and firsthand experience of moving with and even as shakti. Asanas should facilitate direct experience beyond the intellect or ego of this transpersonal core energy.
Thus each asana is a platform, stage, or framework in which we can explore, commune, pray, experience, open up to, take off from, pulse and dance with our core universal life energy; with the core love pulsation of all of nature, creation, the universe, and the creator. It is a vital and direct two way path back to the source and from the source into manifest existence. Here we can gain intuitive insight and allow this insight or wisdom energy to move us into even greater harmony, deeper energy flows, and vortexes of wholeness and well being when we move the physical body toward approximation or synchronicity with the liberating energy that the asana offers us.
The more we allow our asana practice to be an opportunity to connect up with this loving and healing power beyond ordinary devotion, dedication, or discipline, but as an enthusiastic act of living joy, love, and surrender, the more we can allow this self empowering healing and creative energy to integrate in our daily life in the spirit of true celebration and conscious wholistic communion. Love and joy is our intrinsic nature. This way we thus ease into the asanas, open up into, lengthen into, broaden out, unwind, let go, loosen up, pulsate into, heighten our vibration, synchronize with our light body, spirit, nature, and the ultimate source of creation.
Although the "Yoga Sutras" compiled by Patanjali 2000 years ago is primarily a treatise on meditation or Raj Yoga, it is informative to see even how this great Raj Yogi defined asana in chapter II Sutras :46-48.
"Asana should bequeath strength (sthira) and bring in joy (sukha). It is practiced as a relaxation of effort; as a settling into a boundless unity (ananta), thus no tension, stress, or conflict can take hold. This profound state of balance and synchronicity (samapattibhyam) is accomplished through progressive and continuous relaxation (prayatna-saithilya) by aligning within the great self existing, self supporting, and self animating (ananta) endless flowing intelligence which always awaits the true seeker as the Great Continuum (Infinite Mind)."
By the correct application of asana, then effort and tension are relinquished by melting into complete synchronicity and identification with the source of the infinite life stream of consciousness (chit and Sat are united here). When we have so merged in the asana so that nature, the body, the breath, the mind, the emotions, and beginningless spirit are synchronized, then we have arrived in sacred presence. Simply joyfully abiding and being self animated/buoyed in the harmonious sea of pure consciousness and pure beingness (Satchitananda) nothing more is needed. We are complete and whole (santosha). Our sense of alienation, aloneness, craving, separation, duality, dis-ease, craving, confsuion, and conflict have been conquered.
Although Sri Patanjali was addressing primarily asana for meditation, these same principles may be applied successfully in hatha yoga asana sadhana. In our asana period we thus find the therapeutic edge BEFORE there is strain, stress, tension, uncomfortableness, dis-ease, or pain, yet we feel the benefit in terms of a lengthening, broadening, tingling, warming, throbbing, pulsation, expansiveness, increased vibratory rate (frequency), relaxation, ease, wellness, energy flow, increased tone, or other such signals from our proprioceptors which we can recognize as healing and transformative and the opposite of stress, disease, illness, uncomfortability, and tension. Yes, asanas should be comfortable and we should be comfortable 24/7 both in body and in our state of consciousness; in our complete being -- in All Our Relations. Thus we can break up old habits of self abuse, stress, self hatred, and self limitation.
Asana teaches us about the tensions that exist in the body which are produced by old rigid patterns of the past consisting of traumas, fears, grief, frustrated desires, anger, or even simply physical accident (even physical accident is caused by unawareness and karma). For example, hypertension attributed to hyper-sympathetic nervous system tonus can be completely reversed through daily yoga practice.
Through effective asana practice we break down these old energy blocks, rigidities, and prisons of the past and enter more fully into the sacred and vital present. The more we become conscious of the tensions and patterns limiting the energy, dynamics, and potential inter-connections of the body/mind complex the more we can let them go and then liberate us to tend to the real business at hand. The more we become awake and conscious of who we are through asana, the more we can take responsibility for our health, life and actions and this is the gift of self empowerment and self authority that is always accessible, but is "normally" hidden through the veils of an artificial and non-vital conditioning. The more we practice and become awake, the less energy and time we invest in dysfunction, distraction, pain, and suffering.
Thus asanas practiced with this inquiring, exploratory, and open attitude and perspective are never ends in themselves, but rather a vital link in the process of activating our dormant biopsychic circuitry -- our higher potential-- for a deeper, more peaceful, self confident, and more fulfilled conscious way of living. Yoga provides us with a way to cultivate and more deeply commune with nature, creation, and our own creative healing energies in a sacred manner. Everyday we deepen our communion with our core wisdom energy that is beyond intellect or mere mental process. Hatha yoga asanas thus can bring us into the True Asana or true perspective beyond any perspective, definitive quality, or self limitation imposed by the ego, mind, or any other artificial illusion of separation.
With this approach to Hatha yoga there is a self engendering enthusiasm for yoga which is generated and nourished that goes far beyond ordinary discipline, devotion, or dedication so that our practice is propelled into love, joy, healing, wisdom, and fruitful completion. Asanas like kriyas and pranayama increase our vibratory rate and frequency throughout the cells tissues, nerves, glands, organs, and bones purifying the subtle body, opening up the chakras, activating the psychic body, and providing access to the causal body so that we can more fully and consciously participate in the process of creation. Here our practice is devoid of asceticism, discipline, or rigidity, but is rather motivated by a bubbling over of enthusiastic love, joy, desire to heal, and compassion.
In this context each asana offers us a gift as we approach them with an attitude of conscious and loving attention. The asanas create a frame for the energy to become energized through our body/mind organism. We do not do the asana, but rather it does us.
Basic Hatha yoga asanas include standing stances, sitting stances, balancing stances, forward bends, backward bends, inverted stances, and twists. Asanas are always best performed non-mechanically -- in a feeling, exploring, expanding, discovering, opening, playful, and kinesthetic mode as a true seeker -- humble and hungry to better understand. It is here that we wish to have Shakti move us, play with us, educate us, and spontaneously teach us new, better, more relevant, and healing movements and stances. Here the proprioceptors throughout the body are turned-on and activated and the we deepen our mindfulness of the body and through the body of mother earth, nature, the universe, and all of creation; and through this the creator(s) and the creative process as well as the evolutionary energy become innately honored and discovered.
Here we learn daily to follow and listen to shakti increasingly. If we are losing enthusiasm for yoga, it means that we are not following shakti. We should enjoy asanas not because we can perform them picture perfect (externally or objectively) but because they are giving us added shakti -- because we can endogenously or kinesthetically feel the shakti flow and invigorate us when we do them. We benefit by identifying certain set patterns in our practice and shaking them up once in awhile. If the practice seems stagnant we can change, alter, or reverse positions or sequences with the boon of not losing the experimental, playfulness, spontaneity, and joy of discovering the manifold dynamic possibilities available in order to more deeply activate, invigorate, heal, regenerate, and integrate our higher potential or our vital and sacred connections with nature, love, and all of creation.
Because each person is unique, there is no limit on the variations or sequence of asanas. Everyday our unique biopsychic situation changes just as one day's poison may be tomorrow's medicine and vice versa How do we know what is best? Firstly, we must make intimate contact with Shakti within. Once this report with shakti is established, she becomes the teacher, external rules and ritual are set aside in favor of spontaneous and natural healing. Only by listening to and asking shakti will we know -- only then will we maximize our potential. The various asanas thus are designed to wake us up to the entire body from toes to crown, the neuro-endocrines, nervous system, organs, tissues, cells, bones, blood, as well as muscles.
The various asanas are best viewed as only an intelligent a "straw man" framework, a suggestion, a platform, a jumping off place for our own shakti awareness to actualize/manifest/lead. Asana practice is not a performance system to control the body under the mechanical aegis of individual intellect and will. We want to go beyond logic, the conceptual mind, reductionism, ego, limitation, ignorance and will power into spontaneous wisdom and healing. Here we ease into the asana with conscious awareness, breathing into the area that has "stuck energy", tension, or stress, breathing in and surrounding the area with light, warmth, prana, blood, and oxygen; creating space, opening up, and allowing the constriction to relax, warm up, let go, open up, vibrate, pulsate, etc.
Just as the breath gets hard, ragged, or constricted when we are stressed, straining, abusive, or in pain. Just so the breath becomes deep, full, and diaphragmatic when we are natural state of grace, healing, or wholeness; just so we can take a state of stress and transform it by consciously transforming our breath to deep diaphragmatic or yogic breath.
Here we must have the patience of loving attention while breathing deeply using the breath and effective methods of intent and visualization. Here we can first focus our awareness on the tension or rigidity and then connect up that point or area with the pulsating current flow of energy above and below it and in front and behind it while dissolving and opening up the energy blockage and constriction. Here we must learn not to go too fast nor waste our time by going too slow but rather to find the therapeutic edge/ledge of maximum opening and benefit. This gradient only be learned by activating and listening to the inner teacher.
Our attitude while "doing" asanas is best that of exploration, experimentation, worship, awareness, receptivity, surrender, playfulness, kindness, and love. When we learn to commune consciously and trust more fully the intimate source of creation, creativity, healing, inspiration, and spontaneous energy flow then we will become better able to fine tune, maximize, and perfect our asana practice. In yoga Siva (Shakti's consort) is not only the lord of yoga, but also the lord of dance (and the dancing lord) in his form as Nataraja, and this hints at a possible efficacious attitude in which the asanas may be approached that leads toward wholistic and ultimate fulfillment.
We can constantly and continuously ask "what is going on here -- acknowledging pure awareness". Our work is not hard work, but soft work. It is not to make "buns of steel" but to soften out tension and tightness, to melt down, to dissolve constriction, to expand our wholly vibratory communion, to merge our physical body with our light body, and come into synchronicity with our empowered true self -- embodied spirit here and now on the planet as a messenger of love, peace, and healing.
"One should inhale breath slowly and exhale it likewise. One should not retain the breath exceeding one's capacity,t nor exhale it rapidly. Drawing up apana one should unite it with prana and suck it up to the crown via the sushumna. In this way one is freed from all kleshas, karma, and samsara. In this way pranayama becomes like the fire to the fuel house of samsara. To the yogis pranayama is the mighty rainbow bridge which crosses the ocean of suffering."Goraksa Satakam, 51-53
Yama means, "control of" while prana is the more specific aspect of Shakti which manifests inside us as living beings as the animating life forces behind all bodily and mental functions. The entire created universe can be broken down into two aspects, prana (energy) and akasha (ether or the building blocks of matter). All of manifested creation is based on this voltage, energy, duality, or polarity of attraction/repulsion, yang/yin, shiva/shakti, etc.
Through yoga we learn not through memorization, but from direct experience and intimate contact, that all matter including the physical body follows the energy (prana) and is directed by it. Even Western science tells us that all matter is vibrating. That at the root of each element are energy vortexes explained by electrons vibrating around protons and/or neutrons. It is these energy polarities, voltages, or vortexes which hold matter together and which are energetically behind any movement in matter. Without these voltages and polarities, the matter and the physical world would disintegrate.
Just as we know that the body can deteriorate, decay, and dissipate, degenerate, and disintegrate in disease processes, death, and after death; we should also learn how the body can regenerate, rejuvenate, empower itself, integrate, and become whole in the health state, healing state, or wholly state. The former (the dynamic process of disease) is acknowledged by modern science while the latter (the energetics of healing and immortality) is ignored.
Since the physical body follows energetic patterns, it us up to us to discover these patterns and rid ourselves of conditioned energetic and unconscious processes of dysfunction and disease, of tension and stress, of dissipation and self repression. This is the process of waking up to our pranic interactions in body, thought, emotion, speech, and every day action. This energetic awareness can be increased in all our activities. We can then direct our prana into the spiritual pathways of wholistic healing and heart centered activities so that our core wisdom energy is no longer (or at least minimally) distorted or dissipated. Here we can go beyond conditioning, duality, and polarity altogether into the unconditioned unborn state of infinite love and grace.
We learn to see how these energy patterns can disintegrate matter, how it is held apparently rigid, and how it is transformed through disturbed or distorted energetics. When the energy is brought into stillness, integration, harmonization, or wholeness the chattering of the mind not only is stilled, but our consciousness makes contact with a far greater source of inspiration and sacred wisdom.
Through the practice of yoga we first begin to learn how to control our prana or life energetics. We come to understand our vital connection with animate reality as part of our ourselves not as some inanimate, frozen, and external objective world that we have become estranged, expropriated, confiscated from, or self-alienated. We learn these connections by learning how to control the breath and to further understand the synergistic dynamic interconnections between the breath, thought process, and the body. The breath functions as a bridge into the unconscious and into our core energy and we can use the breath in all our activities to effect a greater sense of harmony, peace, awareness, and spiritual wholeness.
Through pranayama we learn to see the energy patterns behind our thoughts and emotions and are able to accomplish greater resolution toward a more integrative and healing conscious way of life. Through pranayama we learn how we dissipate our energy and conversely how to energize, heal, and focus our body and mind in daily life.
Despite the popularity of non-vital, dualistic, and fragmented belief systems, we can postulate that the mind does not exist without the biological brain. The brain likewise can not fully function without the body and its complex system of blood, endocrine substances, organs, kidneys, liver, ancillary nerves, and so forth, which all in turn may be further purified, enhanced, activated, and integrated through pranayama practice having the power to cure many physical and psychological ailments, remove biopsychic and spiritual obstructions, and propel our ascent into wholeness and spiritual fulfillment. The yogi/yogini is further harmonized, activated, and integrated through the combined practice of pranayama, asana, mudra, bandha, focused intention, creative visualization (bhavana), meditation, and samadhi. Pranayama helps us get in touch with this great internal miracle of creation inside of us and allows us to accelerate its' latent potential for healing and awakened evolutionary consciousness.
According to classical yoga there are five chief life sustaining pranas animating the body (udana, prana, samana, vyana, and apana) and five secondary pranas making a total of ten important pranas that concern the yogi.
Thus the life supporting functions of prana-shakti in the body (often called vital airs or vayus) are ten, of which apana-vayu (normally flows downward from the navel to feet) and the prana-vayu (normally residing in the chest area) are the most important in activating or latent potential. The goal of uniting the Apana-vayu with the Prana-vayu in the abdomen is a critical and important teaching in pranayama and kundalini practice. In particular advanced pranayama pays more detailed attention to the duration, the force, the evenness, the pauses, the distance and location of the breath.
According to Yoga, in addition there are 72,000 nadis or psychic nerve channels in which the prana-shakti or vital airs flow. There are many different methods in which we can control the prana and thus go beyond mere intellectual function, beyond the mind to Shakti and her grace. When the mental and emotional pranas no longer have any power over us -- they just fall away. Then our consciousness and nadis are said to have been purified. Then they are able to more fully interconnect up the dormant pranic pathways with the multidimensional pranic currents of the cosmos and trace them back to their source which the yogi eventually immerses him/herself and bathes in the wholly river. The realized yogi/yogini can not help to channel or communicate their transpersonal bliss because it is their truth, love, and existence.
In the advanced stages of pranayama the yogi activates the central nadi (Sushumna) and the pranas disappear from the body as they are drawn up into the central column activating the Kundalini Shakti (dormant evolutionary energy). The Kundalini is normally dormant, non-integrated, or repressed. It sleeps in the earth chakra (muladhara) and is raised into its rightful home to the second chakra (the swadhistana). From here the kundalini can progressively rise activating each chakra until it reaches its flower at the crown of the head producing embodied superconsciousness and with THAT stage of embodied completion, union, and fulfillment, great bliss is one of the obvious symptoms. Here Spirit and Nature is fused in the human form and from here ultimate bliss is accessed more easily in the Hridyam chakra (the heart of hearts) which resides the core energy of all of creation.
Through pranayama we can access the energetic pathways of the spiritual and the physical realms as an adjunct to activating our highest potential on the planet which is to manifest the love, peace, wisdom, and healing virtues of shakti. But first we must learn a kinesthetic awareness of prana and then we can gain self authority and empowerment within these realms.
At first we can use simple pranayama and the bandhas to help us in meditation. Those which are most purifying and helpful to beginners are the sushumna (central channel) breath, Nadi Shodhanam (alternate nostril breathing), agni sara kriya (fire washing breath), bhastrika (bellows) pranayama, Brahmari (bee humming breath), sushumna breath, and kapalabhati (skull shining). After these and other preliminary pranayamas and kriyas are mastered, breath suspension is then learned with the ratio of the retention twice the duration of the exhalation and four times the duration of the inhalation. The ratio of inhalation: internal suspension: and exhalation is 1:4:2.
Breath suspension is further more effective with visualization and mantra. Later pranayama is combined with bandhas, mudras, and creative visualization (bhavana) in advanced practice. Pranayama like kriyas and asanas help the entire body and all its cells tissues, glands, organs, and bones vibrate at an accelerated rate, both purifying and activating the subtle body. It quickly places us in tune with our core energy and accelerates the activation of kundalini moving us into direct contact with our higher self.
"If you keep the breath
at the root of your tongue,
you will be able to drink ambrosia
and will know true happiness.
By drawing it through the ida
and holding it between the eyebrows,
you will drink nectar and keep
your body in good health forever.
By using the two nadis
and guiding the air down to the navel,
you will be preserved from all sickness.
And if for a whole month,
you drink nectar drop by drop,
inhaling the air three times a day
and retaining it according to the rules
in a chosen part of your body,
any sickness deriving from wind or bile
will never be able to bother you.
Diseases of the eyes
are cured by breath held in the forehead
just as diseases of the ears are cured
by breath held in the ears,
and headaches by breath
held at the base of the head"
Yoga Darshana Upanishad, trsl., J. Varenne, "Yoga in the Hindu Tradition", Univ. of Chicago Press, 1976.
Pranayama goes beyond healing and purification wherein it not only puts an end to old dissipating and subliminal dynamic energetics of the non-self realized biopsychic organism, but actually forges new energetic vital relationships that allow the activation of the sushumna (central nadis) and hence the entering increasingly into higher and longer lasting states of samadhi. Here we can easily let go of old dysfunctional dynamics, as the darkness disappears by the entering of the light.
"The moon and sun unite
within your body when the breath
resides in the meeting place
of the two nadis ida and pingala.
It is the spring equinox
when the breath is in the muladhara,
and it is the autumn equinox
when the breath is in the head.
And prana, like the sun,
travels through the signs of the zodiac;
each time you inhale,
hold in your breath before expelling it.
Lastly, an eclipse of the moon
occurs when the breath reaches
the abode of kundalini
via the channel ida,
and when it follows pingala
in order to reach kundalini,
then there is an eclipse of the sun!
The Mount Meru is in the head
and Kedara in your brow;
between your eyebrows, near your nose,
know dear disciple, that Benares stands;
in your heart is the confluence
of the Ganges and the Yamuna;
is to be found in the muladhara.
To prefer 'real' tirthas
to those concealed in your body,
is to prefer common potsherds
to diamonds laid in your hands.
Your sins will be washed away...
if you carry out the pilgrimages
within your own body from one tirtha to the another!
who worship the atman within themselves
have no need for water tirthas
or of gods of wood and clay.
The tirthas of your body
infinitely surpass those of the world,
and the tirtha-of-the-soul is the greatest of them:
the others are nothing beside it.
The mind when sullied,
cannot be purified
in the tirthas where man bathes himself,
...Siva resides in your body;
you would be made to worship him
in images of stone or wood,
with ceremonies, with devotions,
with vows or pilgrimages.
The true yogi looks into himself,
for he knows that images
are carved to help the ignorant
come nearer to the great mystery."
Yoga Darshana Upanishad,4.40-58 trsl., J. Varenne, Yoga in the Hindu Tradition, Univ. of Chicago Press, 1976.
Pranayama can be quite varied and powerful with a multitude of possibilities. In the ordinary consciousness the pathways of prana inside the biopsychic organism are not controlled consciously. A greater intelligence, Shakti (or Nature), is normally in charge in a healthy organism until biopsychic perversions, emotional estrangements, biopsychic armoring, fear, subliminal activity, neuroses, and the like cause illness, distortion, dissipation, disease, separation, and death. The causal factors and the dynamics of this process are generally not perceived in an understandable context to the uninitiated. To one who has studied the more subtle pathways through yoga, the dynamic energetics of health and disease are known, rather than just their gross symptoms.
But if we start controlling our own prana and educating our limited consciousness about its function and play we begin to more fully start taking responsibility for our energy, health, and destiny. In order to accomplish this we must make effort and have sufficient training or wisdom or else we may change internal energetics in counterproductive avenues. Unless our instinct, intuition, intellect, and will are wedded as one, the practice of pranayama must be approached wisely from an accomplished teacher. Because of the power of pranayama and its potential danger of being misused, pranayama literature often is presented cautiously and cryptically. Of course the best teacher is always Shakti, and for those who have opened up their pathways to her communion, pranayama instruction will always be at hand, spontaneous, and natural -- full and deep. Being moved from the heart, grounded in the spiritual center of the universe, then there is of course no need for any technique or effort.
"The yogi conveys the prana
down into the muladhara;
the air thus drawn in awakens
the fire below that lay sleeping.
Meditating on the pranava
that is Brahman,
concentrating his thought,
he causes the breath to rise
mingled with the fire below
as far as the navel and beyond
within the subtle body"
Amritanada Upanishad, trsl. J. Varenne, Yoga in the Hindu Tradition, Univ. of Chicago Press, 1976.
In the ancient system of Hatha yoga bandhas and mudras are used at the same time with visualization, pranayama and asana to realize samadhi. Bandha is translated as an internal energy lock. In hatha yoga we practice locks to eliminate the dissipation and disintegration of energy, energy leaks, and to hold or move energy in certain areas. The beginning bandhas are usually uddiyana bandha (navel lock or lift), mulabandha (root or earth lock at the perineum), and jalandhara bandha (the chin or throat lock). Taken together in the same procedure they compose the popular tri-bandha or triple lock. Bandhas are far more than complicated muscle contractions or tricks. Their powerful and helpful deep energetic actions can only be understood from direct experience.
At first the energetics effected by bandhas appear very subtle, but later as we become more conscious of the body/mind/spirit interfaces, our practice takes on a the self confidence and efficiency that is the result of intimate awareness and consciousness of the process itself which is the basis of the self authority and empowerment that yoga bestows. At first we may find it helpful to practice bandhas alone, but in more advanced yogic practice bandhas are rarely practiced alone, but in conjunction with kriya, asana, pranayama, mudra, and as a preparation for meditation. The psychic correspondence for the physicality of bandha is pratyhara, the withdrawal of externalized consciousness from the dissipations of dualistic and fragmented mental energetics and the abiding and concentration of this energy inward and upward in the heart.
Mudra can be translated as gesture or sealing posture, although sometimes it connotes consort, aspect, or counterpart. Mudras connote an active and conscious energetic direction toward ultimate integrity or union. As they inter-connect up our latent potential energies they at the same time seal-off their corresponding dissipations or suppression. Mudras are thus almost always associated with the flow of shakti, prana in union or relationship with the subtle channels, nexi, chakras, or psychic nerves.
Mudras produce a stronger psychic component than asanas or bandhas alone and mostly represent a dynamic direction rather than a stable or static stance. They are powerful energetic formations most often accompanied by physical movement, concentration, visualization, pranayama, bandha, and asana yielding a specific conscious and identifiable inner biopsychic counterpart.
Valuable basic mudras are vishnu mudra, sampurana mudra, jnana mudra, cin mudra, sambhavi mudra, khechari mudra, ashwini mudra, maha mudra, mahabeda mudra, yoga mudra, shakti chalana mudra, yoni mudra, Sanmukhi mudra, Naumukhi mudra, Prana mudra, Viparit karana mudra, vajroli mudra, amaroli mudra, sahajoli mudra, and so forth. In many teachings some bandhas are also considered to be mudras. Mudras are most often combined with asana, pranayama, bandha, and visualization as its component parts in order to powerfully move and/or activate the energy flow in specific biopsychic centers in association with the activation of the central column (sushumna).
Most of the ancient esoteric yoga texts still remain either untranslated or missing. Too often those few which have been translated were done so by either non-initiates or those not well versed in English, thus a further encryption and mystification of what is in reality, a very natural process has sometimes unfortunately occurred. In other special cases, meanings have been purposely obscured by the authors, attempting to avoid misuse or possible ill consequences by the ill prepared or ignorant.
"Sitting in siddhasana, the wise one closes the ears with the thumbs, the eyes with the index fingers, the nostrils with the middle fingers, and the mouth with the ring and little fingers.
He draws in the prana-vayu by Kaki-mudra (by curling up the lips to form a crow's beak and sipping in the air very slowly and deeply) and joins it with the Apana-vayu (downward flowing prana) contemplating the six chakras (all but the crown chakra) in their order and repeating the mantra Hum Hamsa,
After he has awakened the sleeping Serpent-Goddess Kundalini, let him lead the Shakti and the Jiva to the radiant lotus. United to Shakti, let him aspire to the highest union with Siva and the Supreme bliss...Yoni Mudra is the greatest secret, difficult to be attained even by the Devas. He who gains perfection in this practice becomes established in samadhi....
Wearing a loincloth let him practice Shakticalani mudra in a secret room.... Draw in the prana-vayu with both nostrils, forcibly joining it with Apana (hold the breath in). Contract the rectum slowly by Aswini mudra (repeated contraction and expansion of the rectum) until the Vayu vigorously enters the sushumna and manifests its presence. By restraining the breath (Vayu) during Kumbhaka (retention) in such a manner that the serpent Kundalini feeling suffocated awakes and flies upwards toward the Brahmarandhra. Without Shakticalani mudra, the Yoni mudra remains fruitless. One should practice Shakticalani first, then Yoni mudra."
"Gherand Samhita", III.37-57 translation by Yogi Pranavananda, in "Pure Yoga", Delhi: Motilal Benarsidass, 1992
When one is prepared, kriya, asana, pranayama, bandha, mudra, and samadhi may happen by itself, naturally and spontaneously. Hatha yoga is a method of speeding up the process of "getting ready" by taking hold of the process of self realization and working backwards through the biopsychic organism from a life of dissipation, tension, stress, disease, suffering, and corruption to one of coherence, integrity, compassion, healing, grace, and bliss.
Bandhas and mudras, combined with asana, pranayama, and creative visualization (bhavana) are extremely helpful and powerful methods of controlling our internal biopsychic energetics in preparing the ground to achieve a state of extraordinary well being rising us up gradually to the superconscious state. The practice of these methods prepares the embodied vessel so that it can hold the divine nectar and withstand its deepest pulsation. These methods are designed to raise the kundalini and allow the meditation to go beyond the calming of the mental fluctuations, but rather to enter into embodied union quickly and completely.
"Oh Uma!... She is situated in the empty sky of the Consciousness free of all veil. She contains the whole differentiation in its form of vibration. She mingles with the whole and this Bhairavi Thou art....
The energies -- attributes of the great Union (mahamelapa) --assume the form of the awakening of the kundalini; residing in the realm of the void of the Consciousness free of all veil, they shine there eternally. Beyond being and non-being, this energy, appearing in the glorious effulgence of her unveiled form, is the one called bhairavimudra, that pervades the multiplicity of the differentiated objects born of her intense power and protects the oneness endowed with immutable flavor and undisturbed expansion. Ever sealed, belonging to the goddess who excel at union (melapa), this mudra is twofold: internally or externally sealed; and here is described the external seal, the Splendor attitude, which is none other than bhairavimudra....
The collection of rays engaged in absorbing the dross of the subtle body licks and consumes differentiation in its flames; it is Thou, O Mother, who licking with great force experiences the lelihanimudra....
O Goddess, Thou art engaged in destroying speech, which ranges from the Word down to ordinary speech. Free from all veil, Thou reachest the abode of Siva and revealest Thyself as the one roaming in the firmament of consciousness (khechari) and bringing about its unfolding. O Mother! Thou art this Kundali who soarest up like a flash of lightening and eagerly devourest the brilliance of fire, sun, and moon. When Thou breakest Thy path through the middle way, in KHA, up to the sambhavasiddha bindu, Thou art known as Khechari....
The celestial tree with its strong branches of awareness is already fully grown in the realm of the heart. Its blossom is the glowing rapture; its fruit the exhilarating joy of unalloyed bliss."
"Cidgaganacandrika" by Mahesvarananda, trsl. by Lilian Silburn in "Kundalini: Energy of the Depths, NY: SUNY, 1988.
"When samadhi intervenes,
the breath whirls in every direction
like the molten gold
in the alchemist's crucible:
the body of flesh is transmuted at last
into its divine form!
Washed free of every strain,
liberated from the numb state
in which its captive condition maintained it,
the subtle body radiates splendor;
behold it made with pure consciousness;
it is the adept's very essence,
since he is the universal soul
present in all beings!
This, they say, is the liberation
that brings release from time and space!"
Yogakundalini Upanishad, I.76-78, trsl. By J. Varenne, "Yoga in the Hindu Tradition", Univ. of Chicago Press, 1976.
Samyama is defined as the constraining practice of concentration, meditative absorption, and samadhi (enstasy) taken together on one object. Yoga teaches that through the mastery of samyama comes the gradual flashing forth of transcendental insight. Here our "normal", ordinary, and severely limited consciousness (which in reality is merely a state of semi-consciousness or sleep walking) gradually becomes integrated into the light of wholistic consciousness.
More often transcendental insight comes forth spontaneously in small chunks of creativity, intuition, inspiration, invention, breakthrough, humor, poetry, music, dance, art, or the removal of past repressions and fears. Revelation, satori, or spiritual illumination whether or not they are spontaneous or triggered consciously are the further manifestations of transcendental insight. When we are able to enter this greater natural context at will and bathe in divine super-consciousness in the realm of the all encompassing undifferentiated reality -- at one with the great integrity -- we have achieved the highest realization that yoga can offer.
Liberated beings who have understood self and nature -- who have shed the small self as a self-limiting mask -- who have become established in the transcendental relationship of the great integrity -- enter into samadhi naturally to rest and become refreshed by its eternal springs. They then consciously re-enter the relative world of form and differentiated consciousness with the realization of the completeness of love, peace, and wisdom in their hearts so that they are still immersed in the greater context that includes form but at the same time goes beyond it.
Although there are many who maintain distorted and prejudiced images of yoga, meditation, and samadhi as being a very self controlled, rigid, and willful practice leading from self restraint to will-induced hypnosis or trance, they may be surprised to find the practice of samyama upon our natural state is quite the opposite; being a complete and utter surrender to the spontaneous, healing, and inspiring play of shakti. It is rather the opposite of inhibition and self repression. This practice is nothing less than the surrender of the limited, ignorant, fragmented, and estranged delusion of the ego for a belief system of divine intelligence, wholeness, creativity, interconnectedness, integrity, light, and love. Hence even within what is called yoga, there are many diverse practices and approaches to liberation.
There are many types of hatha yoga and tantra yoga meditation all however aim at the same integrative goal. Hatha and tantra yoga techniques concentrate more on the inner alchemical purification, activation, and integration utilizing prana, the chakras, and kundalini. Yoga meditation can be broken down into two categories, receptive and active. Both techniques can be used synergistically and both lead to the same reward when practiced with surrender to truth.
Classically concentration, meditation, and samadhi (collectively known as samyama) are the last three stages of traditional ashtanga (eight limbed) yoga as compiled by the Indian sage, Patanjali, about 100 BC well known as the "Yoga Sutras". Although, some take these sutras as the authority on yoga, the "Yoga Sutras" are best seen as a guide to kriya or raja yoga only (the yogas of preparatory action and meditation). Although many Hindu traditionalists are confused on this fact, Hatha yoga and Tantra yoga claim a broader and independent (but non-contradictory) source.
Entering into true samadhi the prana enters the central channel. Whether or not the arousal of the kundalini is accomplished first to then activate the samadhi or whether the samadhi is accomplished through natural grace, meditation, or the spontaneous realization through wisdom consciousness does not concern us other than to understand that they both are synchronous. The point is that the activation of the flow of the prana in the central channel is achieved and there is attained the same fruit of the path. Since the goal of yoga is to be able to merge into the state of the great integrity, it matters little if this is accomplished spontaneously, through meditation, through pranayama, hatha yoga, raj yoga, devotion, surrender, service, etc.
In classical (first century) Ashtanga yoga (eight limb yoga) the first limb is yama (detrimental actions to refrain from doing). Secondly comes niyama, helpful or spiritually beneficial actions to perform. There are five classical yamas and five classical niyamas of which ahimsa is principal (the ethical idea of harmlessness) and which best sums up their intent. Thirdly comes asana, then pranayama, sixthly pratyhara (withdrawal of the senses from the inanimate, objective, and dualistic world), and then lastly samyama (concentration, meditation, and samadhi). The "Yoga Sutras", understood rightly, are a beneficial aid to the hatha yogin.
"Yamas and niyamas all have their root in ahimsa (not harming living beings); their aim is to perfect this love that we ought to have for all creatures...."
From the "Yogasutra-bhashya" 2.30, by Vyasa, the oldest commentary on Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, trsl. By J. Varenne, "Yoga in the Hindu Tradition", Univ. of Chicago Press, 1976
Meditation allows us to empty the mind of its' garbage and concentrate all our energies. First we cultivate inner silence, beyond intellection or words. Then we can open into the greater depths and riches the true present and eternal now affords. Regular practice at the same time each day is more fruitful. At first twenty minutes is adequate and only work up to longer durations when your enthusiasm or desire to deepen your practice has become engendered. It is not the duration but the quality of the meditation that is of value and that value becomes more integrated the more and longer we become accustomed to its' intimate communion.
Meditation for best results is practiced in the early morning hours before sunrise and also in the evening before bed, but before we are fatigued or sleepy. Meditation is also especially effective after kriyas, asanas, and pranayama and can be practiced effectively during the day for instance before dinner or lunch. For those who are not fulfilled with weekend holidays to Reno or Disneyland they may enjoy a whole day dedicated to fasting on pure water, meditation, kriya, asana, pranayama, meditation again, a nature walk, spiritual study, song, prayer, service to others, asana again, pranayama, and meditation again or the like. It is usually beneficial to drink plenty of pure water. These yoga holidays may become joyous "wholy-days" when we allow the time and space for their auspicious and benign occurrence.
"To cling to the actuality of mind is the cause of samsara;
realize that non-clinging and illuminating Self-awareness
Is unborn and immanent,
Is the consummation sign of the Stage of One Pointedness.
If one talks about the Two-In-One
But still meditates on form,
If one acknowledges the truth of Karma
But still commits wrong doing,
He is actually meditating with blindness and passion!
Things, as such, are never found,
In the Stage of One Pointedness.
In realizing that the non-clinging and illuminating mind,
Is embodied in bliss and transcends all playwords,
One sees his mind's nature as clearly as great Space.
This is the sign of the consummation
Of the Stage of Away from Playwords.
Though one talks about the Stage of Away from Playwords,
Still he is declaring this and that;
In spite of illustrating what is beyond all words,
He then, is the ignorant one,
Who with self-clinging meditate.
In the stage of Away from Playwords,
There is no such thing as this.
The non-differentiation of manifestation and voidness
Is the Dharmakaya,
In which Samsara and Nirvana are felt to be the same,
It is a complete merging of Buddha and sentient beings.
These are the signs of the Stage of One Taste,
As many have declared.
He who says that 'all is one,'
Is still discriminating;
In the Stage of One Taste,
There is no such blindness."
from Milarepa's Gray Rock Vajra Enclosure songs, "The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa", vol. I., translated by Garma C. C. Chang, Boulder: Shambhala, 1977.
"The divine power,
the kundalini, shines
like the stem of a young lotus;
like a snake, coiled around upon herself,
she holds her tail in her mouth
and lies resting half asleep
at the base of the spine."
Yogakundalini Upanishad, trsl. J. Varenne, Univ. of Chicago Press, 1976.
The purpose of Hatha yoga techniques is to go beyond the dual, polar, conflicting, and fragmented limited existence of the ego and conceptual thought, to go beyond the mind, and to merge into the great harmony -- the divine intelligence and source behind all of creation. Hatha yoga attempts at waking up our dormant potential and eliminating the habits of its repression or inhibition. Hatha yoga honors all the manifestation of life on the planet, the living, all of nature, and thus our own human body. Wholistic yogis believe that we can not acknowledge, respect, honor, and revere nature and life on the planet (as well as in other galaxies) without first honoring the life force (or nature) within us as living parts of nature.
In true hatha yoga then we purify, activate, and integrate our indigenous biopsychic inherent potential and place it in contextual conscious harmony with the great spirit or source of creation. We work with our animal powers and come to conscious terms with it in a living partnership, nay a living union, in order to become empowered and super-conscious spiritual animals understanding, communing, and integrating the spiritual source of all of nature in all our activities.
Through yoga we learn how to accept the responsibility of this freedom, consciousness, and power within the framework of living natural systems and regain the seat in the living atmosphere of our natural place. This activated superconscious biopsychic nervous system can be described as the activation of the kundalini, which in reality is merely the purification, activation, harmonization, and integration of our internal dormant pranic circuitries. Hatha yoga is the process of waking up the chakra system by raising kundalini (realizing our evolutionary potential) and thus we can not only transform our own body/mind complex and increase our vibratory rate, but enter into direct and conscious synergistic harmony with our light bodies or true original nature beyond conditioning, ignorance, limitation, or corruption.
This process can be gradual or sudden (rare) -- conscious or spontaneous. Ancient Hatha yoga as taught by Siva and Shakti gives us myriad ways of understanding our true nature and fulfilling our destiny. All of the exercises and wisdom given to the yogis of the past have come from Siva and Shakti and more relevant teachings even still will be forthcoming to those who are listening, who are truly devoted to truth and nature -- our true and natural self.
As stated above Siva and Shakti are not really separate rather their apparent separation through the signification of these prime polar opposites allows us to bring the world into manifestation (differentiation) and thus allow the creative play of differentiated consciousness: a vehicle or agency in which universal consciousness can manifest and witness its Self.
The teachings of kundalini lying dormant within the human biopsychic organism is an essential vital healing practice for the fruition of wholistic healing, ecological well being, world peace, self understanding, and the establishment of coherent vital consciousness. If future human beings, the inheritors of the new age, will manifest a material order in harmony with life and health or will manifest disease, conflict, and brutality is what is at stake. The former being the result of true insight while the latter being the result of fear, ignorance, denial, and confusion.
"At the top of the body, above the head,
there is the lotus with a thousand petals,
shining like the light of heaven:
it is the giver of liberation.
Its secret name is Kailasa,
the mountain where Siva dwells.
He who knows this secret place
is freed from samsara.
Shiva-Samhita, I.196, Trsl. By J. Varenne, Yoga in the Hindu Tradition, Univ. of Chicago Press, 1976.
The opening of kundalini is the opening of the dormant transpersonal wheels or engines of life which exist beyond time yet inside of it as well. The context of life itself can only be understood within the greater context which includes both life and death while time and change itself can only be understood through the absolute. Hence our life must be seen as a conscious continuum; vital non-alienating healing systems of integrity must be exposed to our children from birth bestowing on them continuity.
As Ha represents Siva, then Ha also stands for the pingala (masculine or solar) nerve which starts at the left brain representing consciousness and intention, while tha represents the Ida nerve, which starts at the right brain of intuition and creativity. Ha, or the pingala nadi (nerve), corresponds to the right side of the body and crosses over to the left brain at the nostrils. Tha, or ida, manifests as the left nerve or left side of the body and crosses over at the nostrils to the right brain. The pingala and ida nerves are united at the muladhara chakra. They are brought inward and upward -- integrated and harmonized thus activating the central column (the sushumna -- the pillar of the world) or spiritual body. This arouses or activates the goddess kundalini (heretofore lying dormant). Pingala is symbolized by the river Yamuna, ida the Ganges river, while the central nerve, sushumna is often represented by the river Saraswati.
When ida and pingala are harmonized, our consciousness and intention (pingala) are integrated with our inner awareness, receptivity, intuition or true inner wisdom (Ida). Here consciousness and beingness unites -- male and female and duality is destroyed. This energetic of resolving, integrating, and synchronizing the heretofore unintegrated and disparate energies is thus characterized by kundalini flowing in the central (non-dual) channel. When our conscious waking (also symbolized by pingala eneregtics) life no longer works in opposition to our unconscious (symbolized by ida) -- when we no longer create the tensions, blockages, imbalances, distortions, dissuasions, and dissipations (which "normal" to an alienated, arrogant, artificial, limited, logical, and mere conceptual dualistic reality), but rather surrender to the divine non-dual reality that lies behind nature, all of creation, all the creative force itself; then allow ourselves to honor acknowledge, respect, and be governed by THAT above all else then our Ida and Pingala nerves no longer function as separate or disparate conflicting forces of tension, duality, and polarity thus giving vent to further evolutionary expressions and activations called kundalini energization/activation.
Here joy, peacefulness, and bliss are not the ends, but rather the results or symptoms of a harmonious and effulgent balance -- of loving wholistic integrative harmony and mutuality. Here heaven and earth are unified in the biopsychic organism and all our activities increasingly. United in the true temple are spirit and matter, pure consciousness and nature, compassion and wisdom. Here we are in harmony not only with the body, the earth, the galaxies, the entire universe, and the heavens, but also with our highest creative potential beyond time and place. Here the True self abides. Only here we are fulfilled. Here we are at one - here "we are" the love and the peace and we become complete (santosha) for we have cast out the impurity of separateness, selfishness, coldness, and hurt.
Having synchronized and joined (not repressed) all dualities into the central column, all outflowings and dissipations having ceased, the kundalini rises from the muladhara to her rightful abode through the activated swadhistana where she is further moved upward through yogic practice activating the chakras (opening flower petals or turning the wheels) as she goes up until she embraces Shiva in the Sahasrara chakra (above the skull) where they remain reunited, as one, with no trace of duality (father/mother, Siva/Shakti, Consciousness and Being, eternal/temporal -- all , united as one). As she raises up from one chakra to the next she sets in motion these energy systems in a spiral manner creating an ever accelerating energy waves, lights, sounds, vibrations, and dynamics until all the chakras are moving at once. All this the yogin hears, sees, and feels kinesthetically which may be experienced sequentially or all at once.
Here through yoga, not only are the inner circuitries of the body purified, activated, and integrated, but also then the unobstructed channels (nadis) are plugged into all of creation, to all the other meridians and energy circuits of creation, and to its timeless source. Here we embody universal spirit in the diversity of manifest reality -- in REALITY they are not separate (only in dualistic illusion do they appear separate). Here we connect within the deep ecology of the universe, of nature, and all of creation by having expanded consciousness and being, to become one with her/him, whole, and fully empowered in life and love. Here through the upper gate we find the path to the spiritual heart, the heart of hearts, the hridayam.
In fact this is the process in which we learn who we really are and re-unite and rest within with That One consciously. In fact we are para-kundalini and there is nothing else but her. All else is illusion and separation. Here kundalini is expressed both within and without simultaneously without contradiction.
HERE WE BECOME UNITED IN THE GREAT BODY
THROUGH THE GREAT BODY
AS THE GREAT BODY
HERE WE BECOME THE GREAT BODY
WE ARE THE GREAT BODY -- ALL TOGETHER
IN REALITY AND VERY NATURALLY
FREE FROM KARMA
WE ARE BOTH
INSIDE OF ALL
AND OUTSIDE/INSIDE OF EVERYTHING
LOVE: LOVING LOVE
THE UNION OF METHOD AND WISDOM
SPIRIT AND NATURE
EVERYTHING IS IN US
IN THAT UNITIVE STATE DEVOID OF ANY SEPARATE "I"
RESIDE IN EVERYTHING ELSE AS WELL
AS LIVING TRUTH
AS LIVING LOVE
BOUNDLESS AND INEFFABLE
WHEN THE CORE/HEART
RESIDING IN DIVINE SYNCHRONCITY
IN THE UNBORN ETERNAL ANIMATED/LIVING HEART WHICH NEVER DIES
WHICH HAS NO BOUNDS
WE ARE ALL ONE
IN THE GREAT INTEGRITY
IN ALL OUR RELATIONS
ALL IS FULLY REVEALED UNSHEATHED AND KNOWN
AS IT IS
AS IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN
ALTHOUGH MORE COMMONLY OBSCURED
BY THE PRISON CALLED IGNORANCE
Through hatha yoga this greater communion is gradually deepened at a pace that we ourselves can govern. Body, spirit, consciousness, nature, and our true nature become as one. Impurities, poisons, artificial boundaries, self limitations, and blockages are herein removed. Prana, vayu, kundalini, Gaia, and shakti are no longer seen as independent fragments, but rather as being merged together within one interconnected dynamic living mutually synergistic omnipresent whole.
If we are to use the definition of being healed as being mended; being made whole; removing impurities, blockages, restrictions, dissipations, or principles of corruption; as a process of purification and transformation; of exorcising the demons of death, disease, stagnation, inhibition, limitation, ignorance, and repression; of activating our creative potential and creativity; of eliminating violence, harm, stress, tension, conflict, dichotomy, irony, confusion, and anxiety; of resolving duality and polarity; of dispelling illusion and falsehood while honoring truth and our true nature -- then true yoga must always be seen as a valuable self healing system whose discipline must be equated with worship: the worship of and surrender to truth, life's potential, and to the healing process itself.
If we assume that we are held in stasis through dysfunctional core belief systems that are in turn held together through the over dominance of left brain modalities (PINGALA), then in this context Hatha yoga is extremely intuitive, gentle, kind, sensitive, spontaneous, creative, and feeling oriented while the teacher is shakti herself. Here we learn by becoming aware, listening for the response, being responsive (response-able). Then we learn to move through the action of pingala (efferent nerves) in synch according to the information received from the afferent nerves (ida). This dance occurs not only during a yoga session but at all times - in all our relations. We, the students of life, heal best by creating a daily opportunity (time and space) for this balancing dance, harmonization, and healing to occur -- by opening ourselves to her (shakti as teacher) possibility and presence -- by acknowledging, recognizing, respecting and honoring her presence in all of life and nature - integrating it in a sense of continuity that includes both birth and death.
"I became united with the middle (sahaj way)
Where the thunderbolt and lotus flower met.
Here their union (of apana and prana) at the navel cakra has turned ordinary passion into the Candali (Kundalini) fire.
The body of the Dombi girl (purified avadhuti) burns as the passion of great bliss.
Taking the path of the moon (Bodhicitta), I sprinkle water on that fire so that neither scorching flame nor smoke is seen; but reaching the peak of Mt. Meru (the sushumna),
the flame bliss enters the sky (the chakra of Great Bliss). Orthodox religious practices and the dominion of doctrine and intellect has been entirely melted down. Dhama says clearly: 'Having understood simultaneously arisen bliss through the five channels, water rose up (Bodhicitta) from the lotus of great bliss to the jeweled pinnacle'."
From the forty seventh poem of the Caryapadas of the 84 Siddhacharyas attributed to Dhamapa
A true yogini or yogi is non-dogmatic and eclectic. Hatha yoga is seen only as one of many other authentic methods to know and activate shakti as kundalini within our biopsychic organism. A true seeker utilizes all phenomena and events as cosmic resources at all times in order to achieve balance, peace, and the state of non-achievement that is the fruition of all striving. Whatever the path, means, or method may we all attain the state of harmonious light and remembrance of our original state in which no ignorance or suffering can exist.
A wise and true yogi/yogini is not attached to the means, techniques, vehicle, method, form, or path, but is concerned with the fruit, acknowledging that we all must end the journey in order to enter our home, just as we must shed the past to enter upon the un-obscured and self effulgent reality of the present.
"Certainly the yogi will be right
to digest the contents of the scriptures thoroughly
on condition that he later goes beyond this stage
and throws away all books,
as one throws away the chaff
to find the grain"
Amritabindu Upanishad, I.18-20, trsl. By J. Varenne, "Yoga and the Hindu Tradition, Univ. of Chicago, 1976.
A silent prayer that can be visualized in an instant after practice:
From Infinite Source
We draw life,, consciousness, and light into bodies, nerves, and sacred spaces
Into the earth chakra -- foundation/support center of the body
Into the fluid chakra (hot and cold) -- the swadhistana (the place of generation/regeneration)
The freshly churned ambrosial waters of our true nature
Into the jeweled sparkling city -- our fire energy center at the navel (the manipura)
Into our feeling center in the Heart -- the air chakra called anahat or void-sound realm
Our expressive circuitry at the Throat -- the akasha (ether) at the vishuddi chakra
Our consciousness canter at the third eye -- the ajna chakra
From foot to crown (sahasrara) as upon earth as in heaven- Mother earth and Father sky
We acknowledge,, honor, respect and sing with you
We dance with you in deep gratitude
We are nourished by and absorbed by you
We commune with thee-- receiving and giving at once
Knowing and being in the Heart of All (Hridayam)
All things move from HERE
Life affirming healing
From the Source of all creation
Self glimpsing out at self,
May we always know great peace,
Take away our angst!
So Be It! Swaha!
Bathing in your waves of great integrity
May we never stray apart nor forget
You as us, me as thee
All that is
Love is all
True beingness-truth consciousness abiding as great bliss (sat chit ananda)
Harmonizing nature (as our true essential nature -- Swarupa
Oh Great Mother -- Oh Great Father
In reality we can not exist separate
Let this wrenching tearing apart end!
Loving living dynamic unity
In infinite diversity
May we all awake in an instant to our indigenous true self.
The undying, infinite beauty, true happiness, source of love and bliss
You are known as truth
Natural, eternal, and true
WE are that truth! Jai!
May I help reveal that truth and not obscure it.
May we be granted your wisdom of kindness, patience, and love
Your consciousness of truth -- of reality
as-it-is in its natural unconstructed state --
which bestows the wish fulfilling completeness
Bliss of true well being -- That which brings contentment (santosha)
That nectar (amrita) which truly satisfies.
Underlying the divine music, ambrosia, and all qualities
to that which reveals all form!
i surrender the veil of illusion -- all!
Reality -- Simple but Profound
All satisfying bringing tears to my eyes
And a smile to my lips
Bringing joy into my heart
Deeper than man's most profound idea
Fuller than any auspicious moment or revelation
Realization - simple, profound, or sacred
Absolute, self effulgent, and unrequited bliss
Eternal everpresent abode
Known simultaneously within this body -- in the Heart
Now and forever
May we not stray from your unutterable love
May forgetfulness leave us forever and usher in the Beauty Way in all our sacred ways
In all our Relations
Abhayadatta, "Buddha's Lions:The Lives of the Eighty-Four Siddhas" (Caturasiti-siddha-pravritti) trsl., James B. Robinson, Berkeley: Dharma Publishing, 1979 (The legends of the eclectic medieval Siddha yogis. See also Dowman's translation as well as the translation of their songs).
Anderson, P. "The Method of Holding the Three Ones": A Taoist Manual of Meditation of the Fourth Century A.D.", London: Curzon Press, 1980 (Similar Taoist yoga techniques)
Ayyangar, T.R. Shrinavasa, trsl., "The Yoga Upanishads", Madras: The Adyar Library, 1920 (Hard to find but valuable)
Bannerjea, Ashay Kumar, "Philosophy of Gorakhnath, Gorakhpur: Mahant Dig Vijai Nath Fund, 1961, reprint 1983, Coombe Springs Press, North Yorkshire, England. (An exceedingly in depth treatise on the siddha yoga path of Gorakhnath focusing on a detailed analysis of the "Siddha Siddhanta Paddhati discussing the Avadhuta-yogi and the Supreme Dattatreya.
Bernard, Theos, "Hatha Yoga", London: Rider & Co., 1950. (Still one of the best illustrated guides to higher hatha yoga by a serious Western student.)
Bhattacharyya,Benoytosh, "An Introduction to Buddhist Esotericism", Varanasi, Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office, 1964.
Saivism and the Phallic World, 2 volumes, New Delhi: Oxford and IBH Publishing Co., 1975.
(A masterful scholarly attempt to elucidate the yoga teachings on the same plane as S.B. Dasgupta)
Briggs, George, "Gorakhnath and the Kanphata Yogis", Calcutta: YMCA Publishing House, 1938, rep., Delhi: Motilal Benarsidass, 1973. (Valuable information on this widely ignored reformation school of medieval hatha yoga)
Chang, C. C. Garma, Six Yogas of Naropa and Teachings on Mahamudra, Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Pub., 1963 (Originally published as "Teachings of Tibetan Yoga").
Also by Garma Chang: "The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa", Shambhala, 1977
Cozort, Daniel, "Highest Yoga Tantra: An Introduction to the Esoteric Buddhism of Tibet", Ithaca, Snow Lion, 1986. (A lucid and accurate outline of Tibetan Buddhist yoga tantra.
Danielou, Alain, "While the Gods Play: Shaiva Oracles and Predictions on the Cycles of History and the Destiny of Mankind", Rochester, VT., Inner Traditions, 1987
Also by Danielou:
"Hindu Polytheism", Princeton Univ. Press, 1964.
"Shiva and Dionysus", NY: Inner Traditions, 1984
Yoga: The Way of Re-Integration", NY: Inner Traditions, 1977.
(Danielou is a serious, vital, and creative "scholar" with insight.)
Dargyay, Eva, The Rise of Esoteric Buddhism in Tibet", Delhi: Motilal Benarsidass, 1977 (The connections of Indian yoga to Tibet plus the Tibetan concealed teachings up until the 18th century are explained.)
S.B. Dasgupta, "Obscure Religious Cults", Calcutta: Firma KLM, 1969
Also by Dasgupta:
"Aspects of Indian Religious Thought". Calcutta: Mukherjee, 1957.
"An Introduction to Tantric Buddhism", Calcutta:University of Calcutta, (Rep. Berkeley: Shambhala, 1974)
(Excellent scholarly effort with a an enlightened elucidation and translations of the yoga and yoga tantra).
Dimock, E.C., "The Place of the Hidden Moon: Erotic Mysticism in the Vaisnava Sahajiya Cult of Bengal", Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1966 (An early but valuable scholarly work dealing with duality and polarity)
Dowman, Keith, "Masters of Enchantment: The Lives and Legends of the Mahasiddhas", London: Penguin, 1989 (The legends of the 84 tantric yogis called the Siddhas beautifully illustrated.)
Eliade, Mircea, "Yoga: Immortality and Freedom, Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1969. (An early but thorough survey of the yoga traditions in India by one of the better early Western investigations.)
Evan-Wentz, W.Y., editor, "Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrine, Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1958 (The earliest translation of Tibetan Buddhist yogic and yoga tantra texts. Although the commentary is often incorrect, the choice of texts is excellent showing the great similarly between ancient Buddhist pranayama, mudra, and chakra visualization.)
Feuerstein, Georg, "The Yoga Tradition: Its History, Literature, Philosophy, and Practice", Prescott, AZ, Hohm Press, 1998.
Ghosh, Shyam, "The Original Yoga: A Translation of the Siva-Samhita, Gheranda Samhita, and Patanjala Yoga-sutra", Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1979. (Gheranda Samhita and Siva Samhita are two classical references for hatha yoga, although their translations usually leave much to be desired).
Gold, Ann, "A Carnival Of Parting: The tales of King Bharthari and King Gopi Chandas sung and told by Madhu Natisar", Berkeley, Univ. of California Press, 1992.
Goswami, Shyam Sundar, "Laya Yoga", London: Routledge and Kegan, Paul, 1980 (An advanced and clear presentation of hatha and Laya yoga by a modern master)
Guenther, Herbert, "Yuganaddha", Varanasi: Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office, 1969
Also by Guenther, "The Royal Song of Saraha", Seattle, Univ. of Wash. Press, 1969. (Saraha was a sahaj/siddha yogi and belonged to the powerful and rich eclectic yoga tradition of medieval India. Although Guenther has habit of making the simple appear complicated because of his great intellect and use of esoteric English vocabulary, his translations are nevertheless of accurate and thoughtful.)
Harshie, R.G., trsl., "Satkarmasangrahah", Poona: Yoga-Mimamsa Prakasana, 1970 (English translation with Sanskrit text on the purification techniques (shat karmas) of Hatha yoga attributed to Raghuvira or Cidghananandanatha)
Jnaneshwar, Jnaneshwar's Gita: A Rendering of the Jnaneshwari", trsl. By Swami Kripananda, NY: SUNY, 1989. A kundalini interpretation of the "Bhagavadgita" (especially chapters five and six). Jnanadev and his brother were initiates of the Nath yoga sect.)
Jnaneshwar, "Jnaneshvari", trsl. By V.G. Pradhan, 2 vols., London: George Allen and Unwin, LTD: 1967.
Jnaneshwar, "Bhanartha Dipika: Jnaneshwari", trsl. By Ramachandra Keshav Bhagwat, Madras: Samta Books, 1954, rep., 1979. (Another translation of Jnanadev's Kundalini yoga commentary on the Bhagavad Gita)
Kaviraj, Gopinath, Princess of Wales Sarasvati Bhavana Studies, Benares: Govt. Sanskrit Office, 1923, volumes 2-10, (Contains valuable material of the great yoga and tantric traditions by one of this century's greatest yoga and tantric scholars)
Kuvalayananda, Swami, with S. A. Shukla, "Goraksasatakam", Lonavla: Kaivalyadhama S.M.Y.M. Samiti, n.d. (Introduction, English translation, notes, and Sanskrit text of this great yogi's less important text on yoga.)
Kvaerne, Per, "An Anthology of Buddhist Tantric Songs", Leiden: E.J. Brill, (An exceptional, albeit cumbersome translation, into English of the songs of the Siddha yogins with original Sanskrit and some commentary).
Lorenzen, David, "The Kapalikas and the Kalamukhas", Berkeley, Univ. of California Press, 1972 (An excellent scholarly elucidation of these esoteric Saiva yogis).
Luk, Charles, "Taoist Yoga: Alchemy and Immortality", London, Rider & Co., 1970 (Good manual for Taoist breathing, visualization, and mudra theory and practice)
Mallik, Smt. Kalyani, "Siddha-Siddhanta-Paddhanti and Other Works of the Natha Yogis", Poona: Poona Oriental Book House, 1963 (Important texts by great siddha yogis such as Gorakhnath, Minanatha, Balabhadra, Gopichandra, are summarized in English with complete text in Sanskrit only.)
Maspero, Henri, "Taoism and Chinese Religion", trsl. By frank Kierman, Jr., Amherst: Univ. of Mass Press, 1981. (A translation from the French of a ground breaking authoritative work on esoteric Chinese alchemy).
Milarepa, "The Songs of Milarepa", widely translated and available (Milarepa belonged to the sahaj yoga or siddha tradition of Saraha, Minapa, Goraksa, Naropa, Tilopa, Virupa, and the rest. His songs are a tribute to the method of surrender to the spontaneous arising of the inherent true nature.)
Mojumder, Atindra, "The Caryapadas", Calcutta: Naya Prokash, 1967 An excellent translation of the poems of the Siddhacaryas (The 84 eclectic and eccentric Mahasiddhas of medieval India).
Mueller-Ortega, Paul, "The Triadic Heart of Siva: Kaula Tantricism of Abhinavagupta in the non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir", NY: SUNY, 1989. (An excellent scholar tackles the texts of high yoga tantra)
Muses, C.A., editor, Esoteric Teachings of Tibetan Tantra, Falcon's Wing Press, 1961 (Includes an authoritative translation of the six yogas of Naropa as well)
O'Flaherty, Wendy Doniger, Asceticism and Eroticism in the Mythology of Siva, London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1973
also ;The Origins of Evil in Hindu Mythology", Berkeley, Univ. of California Press, 1976 (Wonderful translations from the Puranas and a very vital and imaginative inquiry)
Olson, Stuart, trsl., "The Jade Emperor's Mind Seal Classic", St. Paul: Dragon Door, 1993 (A short, clear, and excellent translation and commentary on a classic Taoist yoga text with its implicit correspondence to Indian yoga).
Patanjali "Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. (A plethora of translations and commentaries are in print -- all are helpful especially "The Textbook of Yoga Psychology" by Ramamurti Mishra (Sri Brahmanada), published by Julian Press, 1963. Because of the difficulties of translating Sanskrit words which are coherent only within the coherent context of Eastern philosophy, it is of course more advantageous to read the original in Sanskrit transcending the need to compare so many English translations and with it a plethora of interpretations.)
Pranavananda, Yogi, "Pure Yoga: A translation and Commentary of the Gheranda Samhita", Delhi: Motilal Benarsidass, 1992. (Probably one of the best translations of this authoritative work on Hatha Yoga)
Ramanujan, A.K., "Speaking About Siva", Baltimore: Penguin, 1973. (A very excellent selection of Kannada (Dravidian) spiritual poetry in translation)
Robinet, Isabelle, "Taoist Meditation: The Mao-shan Tradition of Great Purity", NY: SUNY Press, 1993. (Reasonably good book on Taoist creative visualization and alchemy)
Shiromani, Dharma with Surendra Singh Majithia and Y.G. Krishnamurti, transl., "Yoganusasanam: The Great Yogic Sermon", Bombay: Allied Publishers, 1969 (An ancient text on Abhayas Yoga and Kundalini yoga.)
Silburn, Lilian, "Kundalini: Energy of the Depths", NY: SUNY Press, 1988 (An excellent translation of much esoteric yoga tantra including parts of Goraksanatha's "Amaraughasasana", Somananda's "Saktavijnana", Abhinavagupta's "Tantraloka", the "Cidgaganacandrika" of Mahesvarananda, and others with commentary by a serious student)
Singh, Jaideva, trsl., "Vijnabhairava or Divine Consciousness: A Treasury of 112 types of Yoga", Delhi: Motilal Benarsidass, 1979. rep. 1991 as "The Yoga of Delight, Wonder, and Astonishment", NY: SUNY.
Singh, Jaideva, "Spanda Karikas: The Divine Creative Pulsation", Delhi: Motilal Benarsidass, 1980, rep. 1992 as "the Yoga of Vibration and Divine Vibration", NY: SUNY.
Singh, Jaideva, "Paratriksika-Vivarana: The Secret of Tantric Mysticism", Motilal Benarsidas, Delhi, 1988. (A translation of Abhinavgupta's classic on Medieval Kashmir Shaivism). (Jaideva Singh was both a scholar and an initiate of yoga tantra. His work has been invaluable in reconstructing at least some of the medieval tantric practices.)
Singh, Mohan, "Gorakhnath and Mediaeval Hindu Mysticism, Lahore: Oriental College, 1937 (Contains a large introduction and complete English translations of "Machhendra -- Gorakh Goshti Padas and Slokas of Gorakh" and the "Slokas of Charpatanath".
Sinh, Pancham, translator, "The Hatha Yoga Pradipika, 3rd edition, New Delhi: Oriental Reprint Corp., 1980. (also reprinted by AMS Press, NYC, 1974) (Not a great translation of this classical authoritative Hatha yoga text (more useful than the "Gheranda Samhita" or Siva Samhita"), but worth comparing to the Dawn Horse Press version.)
Sivananda, Swami, "Kundalini", U.P.: Divine Life Society, 1953. (An enlightened and helpful discussion of Kundalini yoga in reference to pranayama, meditation, mudras, and hatha yoga with a translation of the "Kundalini Upanishad")
Snellgrove, D.L., "The Hevajra Tantra: A Critical Study", London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1959. (A great Buddhist scholar presents the Hevajra tantra whose origins stem back to the medieval Indian yoga period.)
Also by Snellgrove: "Indo-Tibetan Buddhism", 2 vols., Boston, Shambhala, 1987. (An excellent history and description of Buddhist yoga and tantra in India with volume 1 being the most helpful in this regard.)
Swatmarama, "Hatha Yoga Pradipika", (various translations all equally hard to find except the Dawn Horse Press version.)
trsl., Sinh, Pancham, (see Sinh).
trsl., Hans Rieker into German and translated from the German into English by Elsy Becherer, Middletown, CA: Dawn ;Horse Press, 1974.
trsl., Nivasa Iyangar, Adyar:The Adyar Library, 1949
Thirumoolar, Siddhar, "Thirumandiram", translated by B. Natarajan, edited by M. Govindam, 3 volumes, Montreal: Babaji's Kriya Yoga and Publications, Inc., 1993. (An older and valuable text on yoga by one of the great Tamil 18 siddhas.)
Wilhelm, Richard, "The Secret of the Golden Flower", trsl. from the German by Cary Baynes, NY: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1962 (Classic work on Chinese pranayama, alchemy, and visualization.)
Varenne, Jean, "Yoga in the Hindu Tradition", Chicago, Univ. of Chicago Press, 1976. (One of the most lucid presentations of yoga with wonderful translations.)
Vasu, Srisa Chandra, translator, The Gheranda Samhita, 2nd ;edition, New Delhi: Oriental Books Reprint Corp., 1975 (See Pranavananda, Yogi, for another translation of the Gheranda Samhita)
"The Siva Samhita" 2nd ed., New Delhi: Oriental Books Reprint Corp., 1975. (See Ghosh, Shyam, for another translation of the Siva Samhita and the Gheranda Samhita)
(Both texts are also reprinted by AMS Press, NYC, 1974) (Both texts are classical authorities on hatha yoga but the translation is lacking.)
Vaudeville, Charlotte, "Kabir", Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974.(An excellent text on Kabir who lived during the first generation of the mogul rule in India and presented an eclectic alchemical vision closely related to medieval yoga.)
Vidyarnava, Rai Bahadur Srisa Chandra, trsl., "Siva Samhita", Allahabad: Sudhindra Nath Basu, 1923. (Classic text on Hatha Yoga covering kriya, bandha, asana, mudra, pranayama, kundalini, etc.)
Wayman, Alex, "The Buddhist Tantras: Light on Indo-Tibetan Esotericism", NYC: Weiser, 1973 (His later books are more helpful and lucid such as):
Also by Wayman: "Yoga of the Guhyasamajatantra", Delhi: Motilal Benarsidass, 1977.
with Ferdinand Lessing, "Intro. to the Buddhist Tantric System", Delhi: Motilal Benarsidass, 1978
(Wayman has done more than most in piecing together medieval yogic and tantric mysticism.)
White, David, "Tantra in Practice", Princeton Univ. Press, 2000 (A collection of works on Buddhist and Hindu Tantric Toga)
White, David, "The Alchemical Body: Siddha Traditions in Medieval India" , Univ of Chicago Press, 1996 An attempt to trace the tradition of Medieval Siddha Yoga.
Yoga-Yajnavalkya, trsl, by A.G. Mohan, Madras, Ganesh and Company, no date. This is the authentic and complte translation of the "Yoga-Yajnavalkya"
Yogi Yajnavalkya, "Yoga Yajnavalkya: A Treatise on Yoga as Taught by Yogi Yajnavalkya", edited with introduction by Sri Prahlad C. Divanji, Bombay: Reprinted from the Journal of the Bombay Branch Royal Asiatic Society, volumes XXVIII and XXIX, part 1. BBRA Monograph #3. (This is an introduction and summary in English with the complete text in Sanskrit only. It is an extremely valuable and authoritative text on yoga and kundalini predating Patanjali).
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Hatha Yoga Asana Practice: An Energy Body Approach (New 12-08-04)
The Energy Body, the Five Koshas, and Three Kayas
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