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Saturday, April 8, 2017

Admit that I feel dislike.

Unconditional love


This is the one of the ideal states of yogi.

Not to judge as good or bad, and to accept and love with no reasons.

Is it possible?

Since we were born, we have “judged” too much. It is said that we get the ability to distinguish between pleasure and displeasure, and they differentiate to “joy”, “sadness”, “anger”…

So, should we decrease these kind of judgements?

Ideally, yes, maybe.

However, we cannot “do” it. As you make efforts to do so, you will be annoyed.


We have nowhere to find “ideal state”!


Heart of yoga, which I have learnt, is said to have “non-dual philosophy”.

J.Brown, a senior teacher, usually says,

Dualistic yoga practice makes us painful.

In other word, if we set “ideal state” somewhere else, we have pain by the gap between the ideal and what we are now.


Therefore, if we seek “unconditional love” as an ideal state, we must realize that in reality we emotionally judge everything around us and have a guilty to yourself which do so.

When you face something you dislike, you feel pain by itself and simultaneously feel pain by how much you judge. Double pain!

For human beings, it is normal to dislike something as a natural feeling. (If you are a saint, don’t you?)

When you pretend to have “unconditional love” and to be stabled even if you suffer internally, you are not honest to yourself. It is a violence to yourself.


Love is not equal to “kindness”!


One day, I honestly told one guy that I have felt dislike for his behavior.

This is a normal thing, but I was about to forget to do so.

Maybe I misunderstood “love”. The word “love” usually implies kindness, but not necessarily.

Love is sometimes severe.


Even if we seek to be like a saint, we can only live as we are.

We have to be honest enough to face this inevitable fact. If you feel dislike by someone, tell your feeling frankly.
It may be the best way to tell “love” him or her.

By doing it, we could be more comfortable each other.

The state of “unconditional love” is impossible to seek by artificial effort.
If you hope so, there may be only one way.
To be as you are.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Theory of Continuation (by a normal guy)

Continuation is power. (This is a Japanese saying.)

We cannot get benefit without continuation when it comes to physical practice especially.

Why?

This is because human body is a matter that has homeostasis.

Once we get into habit, the body will try to sustain it as homeostasis.

If so, how do we firmly establish as a habit?

Let me think of “running”, one of the most common habits for example.

When I was a high school student, I ran playground every morning to improve myself as a football (soccer) player.

Sometimes I didn’t feel like running when I was tired off.

I could continue this habit, though. This is because of something moved me such us goals, teammates, etc.

Sometimes I was encouraged by words of successful athletes,and at other times I was stimulated by keen teammates…

These were, so to speak, magic to make me continue thinking “I will be able to get something great if I continue running!” I can run as long as the magic works.
When the magic was about to disappear, I desperately searched for materials of magic and cast a spell on myself again.


When the magic disappears


However, the moment we lost the last game of the football team, the habit suddenly came to an end.

Generally speaking, it is common for Japanese high school students to stop everything on sports after the last game and to start preparing for entrance exam of universities.

However, now I wonder, how come I could suddenly stop what I was able to continue such a long time? Wasn't it unnatural?

In conclusion, running was not so important for me that I could continue without the “magic”.
Running wasn't so natural for me that I could continue without something stimulated me.


Desire for “purity” and internal conflict



By the way, there is no day when I don’t practice yoga this year.


How do I, a very fickle person, continue this habit?

I don’t cast a spell on myself consciously.
I don’t search for benefits by yoga practice.
That’s why I can continue uneventfully like brushing my teeth.

I feel like saying above…

However,

My yoga practice is not so pure.
Am I doing “unselfish” practice without seeking benefits?

No, I cast a spell on myself unconsciously after all. I rely on magic.

I am stimulated by some great yogis, I read articles about benefits of yoga practice, and I sometimes try to remember some eccentric experiences in India.

This is how I am intoxicated by “myself” practicing yoga.

If you can practice without any magic or intoxicants, that’s beautiful.
But, is it possible?
Is it possible for human beings to have such purity?


 For me, not a sacred man but a normal guy, there is no use to assume the state of a saint.

It may be ideal to be able to practice without magic, but I have no choice but relying on magic.

Haruki Murakami, a Japanese famous novelist who continues running as a habit for many years, says,

There are few reasons to continue running, but there are a tons of reasons to stop running. (・・) 
Only we can do is to brush and sustain “few reasons” carefully.

Unfortunately, yoga practice hasn’t become natural for me to do without any reasons. That’s why I need to be intoxicated by some reasons or magic.

I sometimes think “I want be such a nice person” when I meet wonderful yoga teachers, I am intoxicated by spiritual atmosphere in yoga room, and I seek stylishness in yoga asanas…

Some reasons I rely on can be impure.

However, I may not be able to continue without these factors.


I am doing something strange, to continue using magic to become independent of magic.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

To Notice Graefulness

You find it grateful when you lose it.

When you take it for granted, you cannot realize how much respectful it is.

(“Arigato”, means “thank you” in Japanese, originally means “hard to exist”. This word shows us that we regard what is hard to exist as grateful. )

However, there are also something we cannot be aware of it after we lose it.

Mark Whitwell and J.Brown, senior teachers of “Heart of Yoga”, told us when I took teacher training;

You are the extreme intelligence of life. 
You are perfect as you are.

Skype chat with Mark


Honestly speaking, these words may be hard to accept for some people.

It was hard for me to understand completely.

On the process of understanding, I thought like this;

I am breathing. My heart is beating. The blood is flowing in my body.
I exist. This world exists and I am in it.

It is sad but we cannot realize them when we lose them due to their nature.

Therefore, we need to notice what happens right here right now.

Only “notice”, but what makes us happy is often the very notice.

What we call happiness usually comes from “notice” something we have overlooked.


The way to notice


However, I know that some people don’t like this kind of preaching.

The conclusion of Heart of Yoga is simple.

Just practice. You don’t have to listen.
Breathe, and move.
You feel comfortable.
This is enough.

If anything, realize that you exist as a life at the moment.

This kind of workings happen in yoga.

Off course, the life is there and exist as the extreme intelligence of life even if we don’t care.

Whether we notice it or not.

It seems small, but creates a big difference on your happiness.

I don’t think yoga is only way to realize how grateful the life is.

Yoga is my favorite and that’s all.

Uneventful practice

Your practice is always different.

This sentence is usually used to encourage people to practice yoga.

This is sure, but sometimes it will be strange when we emphasize this aspect too much.

It is to inquire “differences”.

Life itself, not only when we practice yoga, is unrepeatable.

Even if you don’t “make difference”, you are to “be different”.

So even if you can realize differences form yesterday, it doesn’t mean you are special today. Or, you are always special.

I’d like to say that it may be a bit arrogance to expect difference on every day practice.

When we emphasize “difference” too much, we tend to seek plain differences unconsciously.

We human beings are always changing, but we have strong homeostasis and we don’t change a lot soon.

Seeking difference too much may make us create “a new story” without deep realization.

“My breath is deeper than yesterday! I’m better!” something like this.

I’m fickle and I tend to do so…

However, it is more important to sustain practice every day even if you cannot find any change.

It is beautiful if you can find something new every day, though.

If you wonder, you can try to practice in the completely same way as yesterday you did. You cannot become same in any way.

Changes always happen regardless whether we notice them or not. Even if we cannot feel, we are changing as long as we live.

You don’t have to practice with fresh feeling all the time. Just practice uneventfully.


I’ll stand on my yoga mat with this decision.


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Dialogue between philosophers and I, who is doing yoga.

              Last summer, I’ve gotten a license of yoga instructor.

              What is the meaning of “having a license” of yoga?

Certificate of RYT200
              I think license is the farthest from the heart of yoga. The existence itself is full of contradiction.  

              The license gives us a kind of “guarantee”. Guarantee that you can teach yoga.

              However, yoga is not what we can get such a guarantee.

              Guarantee that we can feel at ease with specific thing is farthest from yoga.

              Yoga is an only process that we care about our “own” body and mind.

             For good or for evil, yoga has too many methodologies including variety of poses, breathing techniques, meditations, cleansing processes…

              This is, in a sense, a kind characteristic of yoga. If you go to Zen temple, you will be just told “just sit in silence”. This “unkindness” is very different from yoga.

              This “kindness” of yoga, however, is plenty of traps in another way. We usually misunderstand that yoga gives us a way that we can follow.

              In reality, we have no choice but to make the way by ourselves. Practicing yoga is not following a methodology named yoga. Practicing yoga is not wearing shoes named yoga, but making shoes suitable for each of us.

              If you are bound the rules of yoga, it is farthest from yoga.

              Therefore, we cannot be qualified by license. Even if you find a specific methodology, you cannot feel at ease by it. Strictly speaking, it is impossible to teach yoga.

              Imannuel Kant, a famous philosopher said,

We cannot learn philosophy. We can only learn to philosophize.

              Similarly, we can say like this,

We cannot learn yoga. We can only learn to do yoga.

Formally, I can stand a position to teach yoga thanks to the license, but I cannot teach yoga. I cannot “learn yoga” by others as well.

              If anything, we can learn the “attitude” to do yoga humbly.

              We usually seek some methodologies so that we can feel at ease by following it. However, this attitude is an abandonment of liberty and becoming “slavery” of methodology that someone else made.

              Friedrich Nietzsche may say like this,

Discard methodologies and live by yourself!
Overcome “weakness” to seek something to follow and be strong!

I practice yoga to make me free.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Samurai cannot do warm-up exercises!

Kono Yoshinori, a Japanese martial arts master, usually explains difference between traditional martial arts and modern sports like this;

“Samurai must move immediately whenever they need because they cannot expect when they are attacked. They cannot say ‘wait till I’ve done warm-up exercises.’ to their enemies.”




Therefore, it is important to have “a body that can move whenever you need”. Wild animals can run rapidly when they are attacked or find game without warm-up exercises. Because their movements are natural and in accordance with the structure of their body, they cannot have a pulled muscle even if they move roughly all of a sudden.

If you cannot move without warm-up exercises, it means you move incorrectly to the structure of your body. This is a common principle on martial arts, yoga, and sports as well.

When I noticed this fact at my high school age, I belonged to a soccer club. I did “rough” practices to make my body able to move whenever I want. For example, I went to a ground early morning and repeated dashes on a steep slope or did a shoot training without any stretching or warm-up exercises.

I cannot recommend you to do these training because these are somewhat dangerous to be injured. However, I had a strange confidence not to be injured on those days.

Honda Keisuke, a soccer player in Japanese national team, also says on an interview like this;

Professional players should always be ready to play a game. Even if I have a game tomorrow without notification, I am always ready to play the game.”

Traditional yoga also requires us to have a body that can move whenever. ‘Hatha Yoga Pradipika’, a famous classic of yoga, says

“Yogi should keep one-fourth of their stomach empty. They satisfy half of their stomach with food, satisfy one-fourth with water, and keep one-fourth empty so that air can move.

This sentence may be mainly for health of digestive system, but I think, by my experience, it includes the intension to keep your body able to move. In fact, if you eat too much, you cannot move actively nor practice yoga for a few hours. I sometimes experience this state.

If you eat too much, you cannot control your mind by practicing yoga even if you are aware to the state of your mind. If you eat less, it becomes rare that your mind is disturbed and you can control your mind by practicing yoga even if your mind is disturbed.


In modern age, we seldom have a chance to be attacked by enemies like samurai, but, even, I think we should be ready to move whenever we need.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Traveling Body

              Yogic practitioners practice a variety of poses. It is said that there is no less than 8.4 million asanas in traditional yoga.

              Taking a variety of poses is similar to traveling a variety of spots. If you visit a new spot, you see a new sight that you have never seen. Similarly, if you take a new pose, you see “your new self” that you have never experienced.
              For example, if you have never taken inverted posture, you cannot know how your breath is, how your sight is, and how your tension is when you take an inverted posture. In order to know them, you need to experience by yourself. The path to mastering many posture is similar to the path of travelers who seek to visit many places.

              Then, is it important to master many poses (asanas)? Is it true that those who are flexible and can take many poses can enjoy yoga more than those who are not?

              The answer is yes, but at the same time no.

              It is true that the more flexible you are, the more various experience you can have. Similarly, travelers who use airplane and ship can move around and see a variety of spots while those who take a walk only around their home cannot see many famous spots in the world. Therefore, it is necessary for yogic practitioners to make efforts to increase the number of poses that they can take. Travelers make efforts to increase the number of spots that they can visit as well.



              However, travelers who visit all over the world are not necessarily happier than those who take a walk only around their home. Similarly, those who are flexible and can take many poses don’t necessarily practice yoga more deeply than those who can take limited number of poses.

              It is possible to have a fresh discovery on daily walk in limited spots every single day, and it is possible to practice yoga deeply with limited poses, too. In fact, your pose differs according to your physical condition, timing, whether, season, place, etc. even if you take the same pose every day. It is yoga if you can taste profundity deeply with poses that you can take even if the number of poses is limited.

              On the contrary, if you consist only on external form, it is not yoga even if you are flexible and able to take a variety of poses. This is similar to a traveler who does something else without seeing the view in beautiful spot.

              Therefore, we need two types of efforts about yoga asana practice;

1, to enhance flexibility and try to take a variety of poses
2, to taste profundity deeply with poses that you can take


              Especially, 2 is inevitable. If you try to see view from the pose that you can take, your flexibility will improve spontaneously. I think it is an ideal practice of yoga asana.