“You would also do well to remember that what I say and how you perceive what I say can be completely different depending upon your awareness of yourself and the level of skill you have attained.”
Miyamoto Musashi translated by Stephen F. Kaufman

The Martial Artist’s Book of Five Rings

Change in Morning Pranayama Practice – Surrender?

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A couple of days ago my teacher changed my morning Pranayama from this:

10 – 0 – 15 – 0 Gradually build up Ujjayi breath
10 – 0 – 15 – 0 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 5 – 15 – 0 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 5 – 15 – 5 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 10 – 15 – 5 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 0 – 15 – 0 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
6 – 0 – 6 – 0 x6 Ujjayi

To this:

8 – 0 – 16 – 0 Gradually build up Ujjayi breath
8  – 4  – 16 – 4 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
8  – 4  – (8 – 4)2 x12 Anuloma Ujjayi
8  – 0  – 16 – 0 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi

My evening practice continues to be:

10 – 0 – 15 – 0 Gradually build up Ujjayi breath
10 – 0 – 15 – 5 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 5 – 15 – 5 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 5 – 20 – 0 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 5 – 20 – 5 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
10 – 0 – 15 – 0 x6 Anuloma Ujjayi
6 – 0 – 6 – 0 x6 Ujjayi

Both practices are built around a 1-2 ratio which demand longer exhales. In both practices I’ve encountered resistance in mind and embrace in body – I thought I didn’t have enough capacity but I did.

Emphasis on the exhale has had an immediate effect on attention. If I am present and stable and attentive to the breath – then I can comfortably contain both practices. But if my attention wavers, a strain develops – the practices place pressue on me from the inside out.

After 2 or 3 practices (of the new morning sequence) I came to wonder about my previous practices (which I had set out for myself). Generally, the stop afer the inhale has a quality of strength and control, while the stop after the exhale has a quality of surrender and assimilation. The direction I chose for myself was to stir up a sense/experience of vitality – placing emphasis on the stop after the inhale. My teacher seems to be redirecting me towards a sense of surrender.

I am in a state of intense transition – an intense transition in which many things seem to be coming to an end and in their place is a large void of unknowns. I am taking my faith to new heights – and I am doing this with an almost complete sense of surrender. I feel I have very little control over what’s to come – and most of me wants to keep it that way. All this is to say that my life off-the-mat is about surrender – and yet my choice of practice was to counter that by trying to conjur up vitality – as if I was going against the grain. The practices my teacher gave me seem to be going in a different direction – embracing the quality of surrender. There is still a challenge – but it is now with the grain – refining my experience of surrender.

Both of the pranayama practices deliver me smoother then before into a meditative state. They demand more attention and lead to a more subtle experience.

Posted in Pranayama, Pranayama Journal, Yoga | You are welcome to read 2 comments and to add yours

Rain

n

תודה שרה 🙂

Turn on your speakers (to dispell any potential doubts), press play and close your eyes 🙂

Posted in Enjoy, inside | You are welcome to add your comment

Hanging Humanity

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I encountered this wonderful quote in an odd and special book. It is from a speech that was given by Dwight Eisenhower shortly after he took office in 1953. In the book the speech was referred to as the “Cross of Iron” speech, though online I found it as the “Chance for Peace” speech (though it seems to be referenced with both names).

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

This world in arms in not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some 50 miles of concrete highway. We pay for a single fighter with a half million bushels of wheat.  We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.

This, I repeat, is the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking.

This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

Because the quote is obviously insightful & direct I was surprised (and slightly disappointed) to find that the speech draws an unbalanced picture that promotes a political agenda. In my mind it is an immoral speech – as it subverts a higher intellectual truth to a lesser social need. I believe that it exemplifies a kind of subtle compromise which can go unnoticed at first but slowly festers and eventually manifests as destruction.

Posted in Expanding, inside, Quality | You are welcome to add your comment