Monday, April 08, 2013

Samayama, and where it is neither this or that

Aw, so sorry, but have a stack-up of deadlines, as is the beginning of the month, with my magazine columns to be delivered, one after another. Plus, have been massively sleep deprived since my beloved feline is now sleeping the whole day and wakes up at night, wanting either food or a walk:( So, though  I get up early, as scheduled, I have not slept most of the night, with his emotional hatiyachar:) 

Samayama is a fabulous yoga concept. But more on that later:

Any case, am trying to walk the tight rope in classes, trying to avoid picking on the new comers who are happily disorganised about everything, including bringing  the mat, or about following simple requests not to fiddle about before, during or after the class. It is not about lack of co-ordination, I am pretty patient with that, but about a whole lot of  other things -- keeping the mobile on, not reading the details of the fee I send by email and then, just before a class (after coming late) to nag me to repeat all that stuff;  going to the loo just when the prayer is on, talking loudly to each other, drinking water before inversions.  Plus, in some classes some guys act like they are kids in a candy shop: the number of men to women is low in any yoga class and Indian men, particularly, have their tongues out when they see a woman in tights, or T-shirts. So, it can be tough to be nice when silly behavior is rampant:( I am nice, but then, it is taken as a go-ahead for more vulgar behavior:(  So, I find that often I am either ticking off guys (duck's back, though) in the class or after/before it.

What with TV ads showing yoga classes where you pick up your new date, we instructors have it tough. Oh, I have no problem, if you cuddle up after my class, but can you kindly have your tongue in, when in my class ? (Oh, this is the same with some women. A yoga instructor whom I was talking to -- and she has taught around the world -- said that in such spots   women are sexually more aggressive and initiate some such stuff in yoga classes, if they are desperate to   wrest attention for themselves.) 

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Today, in fact, I called a guy over and told him that he must not stare at women when they are doing tough poses because, if they are nervous they may fall, and that it is awkward and the rest of the blah that I have no inhibition saying when I tick off people. But, after nodding his head sagely, he goes about with his drool, drool  behavior -- How does one deal with that?:) Because u can be assured that his practice is all screwed up -- as an instructor do you let him get on that way, or tell him again, or ask him to leave. I told that once to an old man, who actually would mouth the word "please" to me, pretending he wanted to see the girls' struggling in the crow, so he could learn it.. of course he did not and one day, I told him, "No woman likes a dirty old lech." That was the fourth time after he had been warned.. Or do I do the commercial yoga route and allow /swallow all crap in the class because I am making a living off people who believe that I am actually running a friendship service.. . I wonder, sometimes, why I am doing this.. are these old coots ever going to change, and why should I earn my living dealing with this lowly aspect of humanity when I thot I am sublimating them.. This is a question, beyond me ...I leave it unanswered.. but yuck yuck, in the meanwhile!! 
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It is not the lechiness that bothers me -- often I see when people cannot shut off the opposite sex, or their desperation to impress them (but why?!!) they  fall about in poses that could have been easily negotiated. So, where is the focus, dharana, dhyana aspect of yoga, let alone the lesser known samadhi state:)? And what of samayama, the combo pack, that includes all these in a fusion? 

Here is the concept of samayama, which grips me.. (but I think I must get around to the idea that I am teaching physical exercises and not yoga, which is clearly beyond most students:( 

Samayama is the highest state of yoga, which combines the last three advanced stages of dharana (focus), dhyana (meditation), samadhi (continuous state of merging oneself with the cosmic self).. and when these states flow and fuse continuously, that is samayama. 

In the section titled vibhuti pada, verse 27, Patanjali (who is believed to be the reincarnation of Adishesh) says, "Bhuvanajanam surye samyamat', that means `by focusing on the sun the yogi attains knowledge of the seven spheres.' In the next verse, he assures, "Candra taravyuhajnanam." (meaning, by concentrating on the moon, a yogi can control the stars). In verse 29, he says, "Dhruve tadgatijnanam." (Theyogi knows his destiny by focusing on the Pole Star).

You can take these verses at their literal face value. Or understand that the one-pointed fixity of the mind can lead us to be king over our destiny. Samayama is a yogic concept which marries the three stages of yoga practices -- of dharana, dhyana and samadhi. Dharana means concentrating on one object, dhyana is the next stage, when such concentration remains unbroken for long and samadhi is when the mind, sharpened by dharana and dhyana,  is merged with the divine. In samayama all these three states merge, to become one. And such a person, whose samayama is unbroken, he can indeed control his destiny.

Did Patanjali mean it literally, that you could be an astronomer or astrologer.. or did he mean that we could control our destinies? 

Gurdjieff, the Armenian philospher, gives a scientific reason for the expanded energy that such meditation provides. He says any action where focus is involved redoubles our energy which is otherwise dissipated through uncontrolled thoughts. Such dharana is the first step towards samayama, or the yoga of integration. With sustained practice, you will gain control over your stars!

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