Thursday, 9 October 2014

Black eyes, aversion (dvesha) and the quest for enlightenment...

During my ongoing quest for 'enlightenment' I nearly knocked myself out jumping into bhujapidasana on Monday night. 

It was funny, all in slow motion of course, but just prior to the jump, thought, 'hmmm my bandhas don't feel right tonight' (I was struggling with navasana (boat) and then 'I feel a little heavy' and 'my balance was awful in utthita hasta - will I make it?'...then jumped….nothing engaged, leant forward and then, 'tiiiimmmbbeeerrr!!!' as I fell head, well face, first into the brick wall of Ben's shala…! There was an almightily crack and I let out an audible 'Oh noooo…' as I curled into a ball on the floor, unravelled my arms from my legs, saw the egg which had appeared on my brow out the corner of my eye, put my hand over it and through the gasps from the back of the room, sloped out into the loo… 

(Just wanted to reach out to those who came to my rescue with cold water eye patches and neurofen, big love, you know who you are :)

Anyway, with my first workshop pending (Nov 8th) on 'Overcoming Fear in Asana' maybe it was meant to happen, maybe to focus my mind on what I'm trying to get across in my workshop! I was also asked today by someone who is interesting in attending, what my workshop is about, so started writing an itinerary for the afternoon. 

Here is my reply:

"Hi Janey

Nice to hear from you :) 

Yes, the workshop is on overcoming fear in the ashtanga practice. I decided to bring together all the knowledge gained from my year studying ashtanga in Mysore/Bali/US/Canada and formulate it into some kind of workshop! I haven't finalised the program for the afternoon but it will include:

  • Examining why and where fear arises in the practice
  • The nature of fear - examining the Kleshas (the '3 poisons') of Hindhuism and Buddhism
  • Exploring attachment and how to 'let go' in postures - a short guided meditation
  • How to effectively employ breath, bandha and drishti in postures and transitions
  • Then on the practical side looking at postures of the primary series and some of intermediate if that's appropriate on the day; hip openers such as baddha konasana and lotus, balancing in bakasana (crow), jumping out of bakasana, jumping into and out of bhujapidasana, jumping in and out of tittibhasana and back bending, including dropping back."
I've just had a reply from Janey, asking to book her and a friend on, so I'm really quite pleased :) Mercifully she didn't ask where I got the black eye from ;) Anyway…

For those of you who don't know what the 'kelshas' are, here's a brief summary…. 

In hindhuism, there a 5 kleshas, namely, ignorance (misconceptions of reality); egoism (erroneous identification with the self and mind); attachment (raga); aversion (dvesha) and fear of death (clinging ignorantly onto life). 

In Mayayana buddhism, they've wittled the 5 down to 3 main kleshas (the root of other 'minor' kleshas ), namely, ignorance; attachment and aversion. These 3 kleshas are known as the 'Three Poisons' in the Mahayana tradition. Other traditions have other kleshas, such as anxiety, fear, doubt, anger, jealousy, desire, depression and pride. 

So the kleshas are, to cut a long story short, destructive emotions which obscure actual reality, they dull the mind and lead us into 'Maya' or illusion (dillusion), where were end up with a 'wrong view' of reality. 

Now, whilst these philosophical view points are based primarily on overcoming obstacles to meditation and 'enlightenment', they can be used as a framework for how we approach our asana practice, our ashtanga (or other yoga) practice. 

But, the good news is, these kelshas, (these 'afflictions') can be overcome, so you can progress your practice  in the 'right' direction by the correct application of breath, bandha and drishti. 

And so I don't give all my workshops secrets away, I'm going to stop there. 

Book onto my workshop! It'll be fun and for anyone who has any doubts over whether their practice is advanced enough for the workshop, yes... yes it is... breath, bandha and drishti underlie the whole ashtanga system, no matter where you are in your practice. Oh, and I should mention, just in case you're worried about getting a black eye, the studio I've booked has a cushioned floor, so perfect for experimenting and allowing yourself to 'let go'… :)

And just so you know, I had Tuesday off as my unofficial moon day and practiced wednesday instead. I did intermediate, and whilst s**t scared of jumping into anything which could potentially damage the other eye, I did all the jumps. Aversion (dvesha)? What aversion?!! :)

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