yoga meditation and philosophy with Lynn
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What feeds me?
Brainstorm a list of people, activities and things that make you feel good about yourself. Now organize the list into external and internal. Of these, which increase your strength and which make you dependent? Keep this list handy and use it to support yourself as you make changes.
What do I use for distraction?
What works? When do I ‘need’ to be distracted? Do I feel I allow myself to ‘zone out’ about the right amount of time? Too much? Never? Write about that. Practice “try this instead”. Make a deal with yourself that for 5 minutes you will use one of the tools like breath awareness in the nostrils. If you still want to zone out after that, give yourself permission to do so without guilt.
Raga (attachment) and Dvesha (aversion)
Think of something you have to let go. It could be a worry or a compulsion, a person or favorite item. It could also be the other side of the coin – something for which you feel aversion, dislike or hatred.
Practice opening your hands and letting it go freely. As an example, a valued relationship may have changed. The person does not want or is not capable of maintaining the friendship in the same way. It could be a physical separation or emotional one. When we accept that what we had is gone, and don’t try to hang onto it, we are able to be open to new relationships and experiences.
This may be helpful – Internal dialogue
More on how to journal.
Reading from Philosophy of Hatha Yoga, Swami Veda
Hatha Yoga is Conquest of the Body
Everyone goes out conquering the rest of the world. The greatest conquest is self conquest and for an average person, that begins with conquest of the body. There are very few people who first conquer the mind and thereby conquer the body. The body should not be your enemy, it should not be the one who dictates to you; you are the one who dictates to your body, breaking some of its habits. All of this comes under the category of tapas, heating up, exertion, changing the habit by doing something over and over again.
In ancient and medieval times there were certain undesirable schools of teaching among whom tapas or asceticism was so extreme that it was unpleasant both to the doer and the viewer. On the other hand, in the 19th and 20th centuries, extreme asceticism has given way to extreme comfort. Hatha yoga is comfortable asceticism. Do not make yourself too uncomfortable, and yet exert a little. If you do it harmoniously and gently, your purpose will be accomplished.
Why this conquest of the body? We are not talking merely of mastering one desire as against another but of mastering all the functions of the entire body as a whole. While you are practicing postures there is no other desire. Why? Because the mind can desire only one thing at a time. For the duration of time you have set your mind to watch the body developing, becoming relaxed, releasing tensions, removing its pain and so on that is its focus until the body is so trained that it learns to obey the mind. A person who practices hatha yoga regularly, daily, will have an easier time mastering desires of the senses than a person who does not. We are not speaking of a puritanical ideal. As another example, take the desire to overeat: when you are sensitive to the body, it is much easier to conquer such a desire. You learn how to absorb your energies into your system and reuse them.
This conquest by the mind of the body then is the first philosophical goal of hatha yoga: that the body should be under the direction of the mind. The mind says, move, the body moves. The body does not say ‘oh, I feel so lazy, I think I’ll just lie here in this comfortable bed surrounded with these comfortable cushions. I am so comfortable’. That kind of powerless power that the body has over the mind has to be broken. Otherwise you can neither sit in meditation for a long time, nor can you stay healthy, nor can your run your digestive system in any kind of proper order.
If the body is not purified, it will have adverse effects on the processes of mental purification. Sooner or later, one place or another, the body will become a hindrance to the mind in its own practice or worship, prayer or meditation. This tapas, this gentle exertion, is where the entire practice of hatha yoga fits in with the teaching of the great master, Patanjali.