Geeta last day: Back bends
How important is this body instrument? It seems negligible. Problems can only be in the body. Even a small tilt in the pelvis can lead to heart palpitations as we found out yesterday. How you extend your toes? Where do you place the weight on your outer heels? One side sinks, the other extends.
You think yoga is for the soul. Why don’t you try to touch your soul. Then my job will be done.
The soul never pulls or says “come to me”. The responsibility is on you. You can’t hear the soul. It will invite us. If you don’t go, it will say “carry on” and you will go through this life, the next life, the next and so on.
This is why the body, prana (energy) has to be under control. What we search for is prakriti (nature), what we don’t search for is the soul.
Balance your mental nature. We should always try to do and when it’s impossible, we should know where our limit is. How much attention is your strength? How much awareness is your energy? You have to study, Fear stops you. Intelligence stops you.
Take dorsolumbar in. Back floating ribs push forward. Thoracic up from abdomen. Too much inhale will irritate the throat and make you cough.
The diaphragm becomes tight as you celebrate your birthdays! It becomes hard, hard hard as we age.
First you have to know the dorso lumbar, and thoracic away from the diaphragm, Abdomen downward.
To keep the diaphragm healthy there is an internal curvation of the back.
The area below the nipple band shortens. Take the arm pit from back to front and keep nipple area lifted. Semi circular action of armpit chest.
Chalana means movement – in hindi the words for movement have this “chala” as the root word. Keep lifting flesh of chest to skin. If you sink it will go down. If you talk to yourself it will go down. The brain thinks and the chest drops. You need to be quiet.
The enemy standing in front of you in pranayama is that you are meant to be quiet, but there is always movement and adjusting.
If there is a back ache – do some twistings.
If your face and jaw become rigid you have to do simha mudra – tongue out and down. Eyes wide.
Vitarkabhadane pratipaksabhavanam: do the opposite
If my back is aching, it is violence not to relieve it. I have to correct. Even though you are told to not disturb your pranayama, you have to pay attention and disturbances lead to others, so you have to act.
The chedhana kriya is for pieces stages and pauses – viloma is this. Kumbhaka also.
Not a question of how long the breath can be, but for how long the chest stays lifted.
Don’t consider how intelligent you are. Consider how unintelligent you are.
Manage yourself. Satisfaction is one thing. Contentment is something else. To be satisfied is short term and not complete. Contentment is complete fulfillment. No more desire.
If there is a will there is away. If there is no will, there is no way.
Asana class last day
- Supta baddha konasana unsupported
- Supta virasana unsupported. Extend arms. Outer calves down, inner thighs down. Outer thighs down. Then baddha hastasana with arms. Hold elbows tight and pull back.
- Prasarita padottanasana concave and head down. Lift shoulders.
- Uttanasana concave and head down. Hold ankles and come to concave spine.
- Sirsasana: middle buttocks in and thighs back. Bent legs. Mid buttocks in and in, resist with thighs. Parsva sirsasana, straight legs and then bent legs. Parivrtta eka pada sirsasana. Move back leg more quickly.
- Tadasana: one arm baddha hastasana. Right arm bent first, turn to right. Swing torso right. Repeat on left and then repeat with both arms folded behind.
- Feet wider: drop back preparation. Repeat. Legs straight at first. Drive middle buttock forward hard. Repeat 6-8 times, Side chest lifts. Coordinate the different parts of the chest that move.
- Repeat and bend the legs. Hands down the backs of the thighs.
Your chest looks like a flat dining table. I could eat off a plate on your flat dining table!
Chalana kriya- move the dorsal spine in and in and in. go, do, more.
Use the 4 kriyas to change the body, to change the citta. Transform yourself.
- Ustrasana: Press the thighs forward and patella down
Buttocks forward. Take dorsal to buttocks to thighs to patellas to shins. X 6
- Dhanurasana: shins up: Repeat one leg at a time
- First. Hit heel to mid buttock with right leg. Many times do this. Repeat on left
- Then raise right thigh and heel to buttock. Hold ankle and lift up and press pelvic down. Repeat on left and repeat dhanurasana again
- Buttocks are subtle areas in these poses as the legs do all the work. You have to FIND your buttocks. The legs can overpower. It is not a mechanical action.
- She had us go up and up and slowly down and surprised with another up and up and slowly down, only to repeat again!
- The spine is a highway. How many lanes do you have to learn and understand the direction of until you reach the highway.
- Knees down and walk knees forward to get pelvis between hands. Lift sternum lift thighs, buttocks engage. LIFT and keep going. Why do you stop? X 3
Go to legs. Do not walk in. dorsal to lumbar, lumbar to buttocks, buttocks to legs. Notice how light the chest is. She had Raya demonstrate this. The pose has to be in the legs to keep the spine safe until the spine is strong enough to walk in and work on the chest. It is less strain on nerves. X 6
The neck and coccyx/sacrum are complex areas. In between the lumbar suffers. If the dorsal, buttocks and legs don’t work in backbends the lumbar and neck will feel pain.
Hold ankles. Front thighs forward, shins back. Buttocks up.
Roll onto shoulders and move away from ears. Walk in and go up.
Third time: bring hands to ribs and hands parallel. Walk right leg out straight for setu bhanda. Bend right leg and extend left. Then both legs slowly straighten. Keep sternum lifted. Buttocks lifted .
God knows that we are all fools.
Geeta day 9: Forward bends
Adho mukha virasana: lengthen all sides. Take the side ribs forwards the sides of the abdomen forwards, the dorsal spine in. Palms facing each other. ” The skin has incredible elasticity but you don’t use it”.
Parvatasana in padmasana
Forward and up. Buttocks down. Mountain can be climbed from all sides – go up, go up go up. Take upper arms behind the ears. Move thumbs to pinky fingers back and back and back.
“The pain comes when you move a little more. Let it come. All the margas: the paths – karma marga, jnana marga, bakthi marga. Doing, knowing, with inspiration. Look to your eyebrows, hairline. Go up. Elevate your consiousness. The hardest path is yoga marga.
Yoga is a perfect mixture of everything.
Dandasana: urdhva hastasana – go foward and up and forward and up, then forward and down to paschimottanasana. Keep going forward. Lift up and go forward. Take the elbows up and out wider.
When the body stops, the mind stops, the intelligence stops, the consciousness stops. You need body awareness, mind awareness consciousness awareness. When will you find the soul. The goal is the soul.
Janu sirsasana: buttock is most tamasic: darkness, stupidity. – lift bent leg buttock and go. Shuffle your buttocks and change the bhoga vrttis of the buttocks to yoga vrttis. Can lift straight leg sit bone to take bent knee down.
We want to be forward in everything, except yoga. The body, mind and brain are dull. What can i do for that? What solution can I give?
Yoga vrtti not bhoga vrtti.
You forget your tapas (burning zeal) so quickly. I have to shout. Shouting itself is an OM for me. The last of the three OMs is to embrace God. Hold your foot like a god. Because you don’t treat it like a god, it doesn’t come to you.
Stopping the mind is an impurity. You forget your tapas so soon. The sound of the voice has to remain ringing like an OM. This was Guruji’s approach.
You have to catch purity step by step. Burn your impurities.
How did the expert come to Guruji? Just tapas, svadhyaya. What are your defects? Learn them.
The potential of guruji was understood by Krishnamacharya. He said “Sundara understands what I say” This was just before he died.
Parivrtta janu sirasana: turn towards bent leg. Turn turn turn. Lift buttock of straight leg to turn to bent leg then reach. Lower ribs down and away. Upper ribs up and back. Turn.
Sutra 1.17: vitarka vicara asmita rupa anugamat samprajnatah – these are techniques for your practice: repetition, evolution, involution.
Paschimottanasana: vitarka state: I do some of this and some of that. It is an investigation.
Take buttocks forward. Side ribs forward. Dorsal in. bend elbows up and out. How much you have to do to take chin to shin. Keep going. Keep looking. Every rib is like a shop – you like shopping. You stop to look at each shop and then you go to another shop – this is vitarka shopping. Looking, deciding, not this, not this, not this etc. You keep looking until you lengthen the 12th rib. This is vicara state where confusion has gone and you are quiet. The asmita rupa – the I-ness. Vicara state is specific process of logical thinking. Confusion is taken out.
You need to understand but you avoid. When you don’t understand a book, you put it down. I’m not blaming anyone but the understanding has to come.
Triangamukhaikapada paschimottanasana: take outer thigh and outer calf down, Lift buttocks up and take outer thighs and calf down as you descend. Repeat many times. Did it help find evenness? Now go up and forward and up and forward and up. And down and up with the chest.
Krouchnasana: take leg up. Lift trunk before you lift leg. Take forehead to shin.
Ardha baddha padma paschimottanasana: the big toe of the padmasana leg has to be up. It is like a baby in a crib. Love your foot in padmasana. It is a baby in your lap.
Swing the arm around 5 times to catch big toe. Use whole trunk to turn and move. Whole torso is involved otherwise the shoulder is caught. Beginners can only bend forward in this pose. The parivrrta helps the toe hold. If beginners do too soon, they get pain in the chest.
Bend forward and take right shoulder up as right side ribs come down. This is the action you need in yoga mudrasana. Raya demonstrated yoga mudrasana and parsva yoga mudrasana.
After this pose we did bharadvajasana 1 and 2 with and without binding.
Lolasana action to ardha matsyendrasana side to side repeatedly. Jump up with legs and switch sides. Do repeatedly. JUMP!
Utthita ardha baddha padmottanasana without and with bind. Arms up. Then forward bend.
Urdhva prasarita eka padasana with arms wide and hands on floor.
After a break she gave us savasana on a thick roll. Tail bone, sit bones, and head were on the roll. Arms and legs hanging off the roll. “Savasana requires flexibility”.
The pranic energy is from the toes to the crown of the head. There are kriyas
- Chalana kriya: movement. Childish movements. Loosens the body and gives knowledge to differences between the sides.
- Chedhana kriya: is part by part.responds to breath.
- Bedhana kriya: The expert understaning. A deeper understanding and breaking of hardness of one side.
- Sodhana kriya: knowing how to work with the differences within ourselves. Cleansing, purifying, seeking.
Yoga has to proceed with a subtle understanding inside. The four kriyas help to reach the higher properties.
Geeta day 8: Twisting asanas, paryankasana, and 4 therapy sessions
We started sitting and one woman was sitting with one leg in swastikasana and one leg out straight. Geeta asked her why and she said she had a hip replacement 8 years ago. Geeta said that she should be able to bend her leg in simple cross legs. The woman did. Geeta added that we must not be attached to what came before, or past conditions.
“Do you really question yourself? Do you really look at yourself? Do you think when I practice I say “I had nephritis age 10 and jaundice, then typhoid, the malaria, then I nearly died last year? And on and on…NO. I don’t do that. Every day is a day 1.. One step forward and two steps back.
Inhalation we can control. Exhalation not so much. The inhalation is simpler because we can feel it. The exhalation is much harder. We don’t feel.
Remove the spectacles for pranayama. I keep mine on so I can see you. You don’t need to keep yours own to see you!
Eyes open seated
Inhale and Breath to the top of the nose. Just where the specs are placed.
Exhale from that same place. It is the root of the nostrils. Do you notice your nose? You only think of the nose when it is blocked. Have you even thought about your nose at any other time, or seen the beauty of it? If you are a true yogi, you will notice everything.
With eyes open and head up.
The breath moved from the nasal region first to the top of the throat on an exhalation
Then to the middle throat on the exhalation
Then to the bottom of the throat on the exhalation
She demonstrated each one – they sounded different
Then we were to use all parts of the throat cavity.
Bhramari is the most external of the pranayamas
Nadi Sodhana is the most internal of the pranayamas
kapalabhati and bhastrika are more external and are the ENT of pranayamas!
She said that after pranayama we lie down for savasana. Either you lie on the floor or on a cot – she said. “So now we do paryankasana – the cot”
- Legs in dandasana: arch back with elbows down. Lift chest with thighs down and pull head in.
- Legs in swastikasana: repeat
- Legs in padmasana: repeat but have hands in urdhva dhanurasana and lift chest more pull head in
- Legs in virasana: same arm position as above
- Legs bent: sacrum to tailbone and heels close: repeat as above
Then she gave us two cooling breaths: sitali – make a tube with the tongue and breath in and out through the mouth. Sitkari – in and out through the mouth as if you have burnt your tongue! That is my image. it makes a slurping sound.
I asked about glaucoma and she gave a 10 minute lesson on how Guruji changed the condition on students. She had us place fingers on the eyelids just below the eyebrows and lift up. Wide eyes. Keep head straight and look up and to the right and up and to the left. It is in this way you must practice she said .She gave me specific instructions on the use of the eye wrap which allows me to include sirsasana in my practice again.
It was my private class with Geetaji and has restored sirsasana into my practice!
She had four students come onto the stage who did not do sirsasana for reasons of neck pain. She then gave them a 5-10 minute impromptu therapy class where each person was visibly transformed before our eyes. Quite incredible to watch.
Then we did an intense twistings class: parivrtta trikonasana, parivrrta parsvakonasana and parivrrta ardha chandrasana
Parivtta trikonasana: from parsva hasta padasana take middle buttocks in and keep front leg hip compact as the back leg hip swings to the right.
Parivrtta parsvakonasana: bend to V2 and take middle buttocks in. turn and turn. Repeat with back knee down and move left hip right to turn more.
Parivrtta ardha chandrasana from parivrtta trikonasana as above,
Each time she said to take the dorsal spine in and move it towards the person you are looking at. Throw the head back and become taller than the person in front of you
Sarvangasana on four thick blankets with belt.
Long halasana. Arms back. Move right foot further away and push buttocks to feet. Repeat left side
Eka pada sarvangasana long hold. Mid buttocks in. repeated several times.
She said – you all say you love yoga. You must be prepared to die for yoga! Go on, keep going, find out what you can do. Don’t give up. I see mrdu, mrdu, mrdu – mild practice, mild practice, mild practice. I took the phrase “to die for yoga” to mean the parts in me that hold back, or are lazy, or ignorant, or fearful – it is these parts that have to die.
Geeta day 7: children’s class and long sirsasana (15 minutes)
The children entered the room and were situated in front of Geetaji. She conducted the children and we were to follow along. It was jumpings in to all the standing asanas and asanas with movement such as parighasana, ustrasana, and variations on stambhasana with buttocks forward.
bend legs as in virasana: take middle buttocks forward and extend front thighs. This was done repeatedly for long periods. Both Abhi and Raya demonstrated this and we repeated.
Bent leg parsva sirsasana with same actions as above except the right buttock had to work harder when turning to the right etc.
Repeat parsva sirsasana with straight legs. Repeat again with bent legs.
She was relentless with buttocks forward and thighs up. Take buttocks into the body. Your buttocks belong to YOU!
Chatush padasana: push buttocks up. hold ankles.
halasana: push the buttocks to the legs. PUSH, PUSH.
Eka pada sarvangasana: keep buttocks pushed in. many repetitions.
Supta konasana: push buttocks to heels.
Uttanasana with heels raised on sarvangasana blankets: hands down. Move buttocks forward. Pump. Move.
uttanasana with feet on floor:
Geeta First day (day 6 of event)
Geeta enters the room in a wheelchair. She struggles to walk from the chair to the alter and to the chair from which she teaches. She is a force of nature. She is on fire. She inspires the fire within each of us and yet show compassion and caring for every one of us. Her eyes on all 1300 as she instructs her assistants to help even those in the farthest corner of the room that has caught her eye. She doesn’t miss anything. It is humbling to be in the presence of such a masterful teacher. Manouso says she is the best yoga teacher in the world at this time. I have not included the asana from the first day. I will add as it comes to me.
“Friends – from today it is my turn to teach
But any confusion has to be solved by yourself. For me, only Guruji was the master and we are all his students. When I started practicing, nothing was known to me. Whatever I could see from Guruji, that is how I started. But I thought about it and realized many things.
Guruji’s own guru (Krishnamacharya) demanded certain things which he never refused. Guruji didn’t force me. I watched him and picked it up. After my nephritis, Guruji told me there was no other road for me except yoga or my life would be miserable.
Then I started reading the yoga sutras to see what Patanjali was trying to convey and the first sutra that caught my mind was Abhyasa Viaraghabhyam tannirodhah (1:12 – Practice and detachment are the means to still the movements of consciousness.)
For me, it was just practice. Whatever may happen, I should practice, without desire for achievement. Pure mindedness.
Second was sraddha virya smrti samadhiprajna purvahah itaresam (1:20 – practice must be pursued with trust, confidence, vigor, keen memory and power of absorption to break this spiritual complacency.)
I needed to have strength and the heart to face everything. After my nephritis, the doctor warned that the brain might be affected. Luckily, I was able to study and did well – smadhiprajna – have the awareness that yoga is for samadhi.
The meaning of samadhi is having the buddhi (intelligence), ahamkara existance without asmitha – ego – I- ness.
Start reading the sutras from the sadhana pada
Tapasvadhaya isvarapranidhani kriyayoga (2:1 – burning zeal in practice, self study and study of scriptures, and surrender to God are the acts of kriya yoga)
It is a kriya yoga. Yoga in action. A practical understanding in three stages.
Tapas – burning the impurities to purify ourselves and the faulty nature within us. Can we bear the tortures of life? Like a child who thinks homework is a torture, they learn as they grow that it is not torture, they can bear these pains.
Svadhyaya – understanding – the child learns that homework brings knowledge and they learn to do things.
Isvarapranidhana – the higher state. The intellectual argument whether God exists or not is irrelevant. Whatever you get, surrender and give up the fruits of action. That is isvarapranidhana.
Samadhi bhavanarthah klesa tanukaranarthasca (2:2 the practice of yoga reduces afflictions and leads to samadhi).
There is an emotional feeling to it. The feeling and sensitivity, sensibility is important during the practice of yoga. The body is seen by us, the mind is seen by feeling. The soul cannot be seen. Yoga is the union on these three things.
Klesas (afflictions) abhinivesa – fear of death. Clinging to life. Are you afraid of your knee or is it that you are afraid of me? Instead of avoiding, find out how to do with those conditions. The answer is in yoga. Many problems you can solve. Have freedom of the body, mind and intelligence. Bring the consciousness close to the soul.