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Finding My Feet

May 18, 2010

The doctors induced me the day before I was due to be born. A few years later, my aunt exposed me to her version of swimming lessons: Toss the kid into the pool and let her fight. We didn’t learn how to swim; we learned how to not drown. These two events made deep impressions on my brain and for much of my life, I now realize, I have been desperately trying to prepare and rarely allowing myself to just swim.

All that flailing about eventually led me to gradually creep up into my brain and out of the rest of my body. This is a problem! A disconnected head—no matter how clever—isn’t much good at all. Several weeks ago it became clear to me that it was necessary for me to start from scratch because I was using my practice as a means to bolster my weaknesses and bad habits rather than as a vehicle for “patient problem solving” (from Dan Meyer on mathematical reasoning), that is, systematically preparing the body and mind for the deeper practices of Yoga. It is no longer useful to simply jump in and flail about. Yes, I will get wet but what am I missing?

It’s been a while now that I’ve been taking walks while listening to Swami Tyagananda-ji’s lectures on Vedanta Yoga. One of swami-ji’s recurring themes is: No matter what your practice or religion is you must ask yourself, have I become a better person? Is this religion helping me to become a kinder person, a more productive, and compassionate person or is it simply a distraction, a show, or entertainment. Years ago I learned that most of us avoid the practices we need most, yet somehow I fell into this trap myself. And so, I decided, to start from the beginning.

What is the beginning? I opted to go with Swami Satyananda Saraswati’s idea of the beginning and to follow his course, to the letter, (I started this morning), for the next two or so years (however long it takes). The course itself is outlined in his book A Systematic Course in the Ancient Tantric Techniques of Yoga and Kriya. It’s a Bihar publication that I picked up on my last trip to India but have never followed from beginning to end, until now. It would be a tremendous honor, and I would be so grateful, to be joined by other Yogis, and if you are interested in joining the practice please get yourself a copy of the text and feel welcome to share your experiences here. That tendency to avoid the practices we need most is difficult to out-maneuver; it is useful to have peers to practice with and mirror.

The book is divided into thirty-six lessons; each lesson contains a practice to be followed for a certain number of weeks. The first lesson is focused on very basic joint opening exercises that many may snore at upon first glance, but I tell you my practice this morning was the most powerful I’ve had in a long time.

This is a practice in finding my feet, learning to swim, and bringing my sadhana into every moment. This is a practice to combine all the ‘yogas’ in effort to achieve Yoga. It is a beautiful experience to sit in meditation and feel the prana pulsing through my body. It should be more beautiful still to ‘sit’ comfortably in every moment in work, in marriage, in friendship, in being, and feel the prana pulsing through my hands, my feet, my words, my thoughts. It is no longer sufficient to DO Yoga, I am making the commitment (finally) to BE Yoga. As Patanjali recounted in his Yoga Sutras, “The practice of the perfect discipline is achieved in stages.” One practice at a time. I’ll keep you posted. Hari Om Tat Sat.

  1. Greetings!
    Namaskar yogis
    The individual approach for doing an activity is totally different,
    but its never late to learn from the experiences of people already into that stream. (like Kelly-ji here is putting light over the subject!)

    I learnt yoga not by choice but naturally!
    As in my case, long back, when I was in junior school, my parents started to teach me yoga,being from city Haridwar,it was naturally absorbed by me.And one of our neighbor,uncle Ashok Raj-ji, a very kind yoga practitioner and human, guided me further to the yoga practice for meditation n become better person.
    I still remember how he used to give us
    (all kids of our society during summer vacations!)
    some notes on how to be a better person overall, what are the benefits of being compassionate person,how does helping others help us to be blissful,all our life.
    So I do realize that what I learnt 15-16 years ago ,during yoga sessions ,has imbibed into my personality very much.

    I am sure people are reading it and thus gaining from such knowledgeable blog followed by discussions at virtual ashram!

    Thanks and god bless!
    Keep helping others!

  2. Namaskar Vaibhav, Hari Om,

    Would you like to write an article for this blog about your uncle teacher Ashok Raj-ji?

    love to you and yours,

  3. Namaskar Kelly-ji!
    Yes surely I will write an article but my writing skills are not sufficient to describe his great personality, still I will give it a genuine try.

    Thanks and god bless!
    Keep helping others!

  4. Wonderful! I look forward to reading it! If you want a second set of eyes to do some light editing, let me know. Send it along and I’ll post it for you. 🙂

    love and prem,

  5. You will have to wait for this as I am planning to visit my yoga fellow (Sudhir-ji,graduate in yoga studies) and teacher(Ashok Raj-ji) soon this month so I will ask some set of questions of common interest you let me know if something you want to ask in particular!And then will write a article and send it to you for editing!

    Thanks and god bless!
    Keep helping others!

  6. How exciting! No questions for now. I trust that you will do a fine job interviewing them both. Have a wonderful visit–it sounds awesome. Are they staying now in Rishikesh at the ashram or elsewhere? I’m waiting patiently–you must also rest after working so hard on your studies!


  7. It sounds exciting to me also as I will meet them with some new thing which will be a surprise(B) not sure) for them , I am sure idea of interviewing!
    Sudhirji staying at Raewala, a town between Hardwar n Rishikesh, and Uncle has his residence in Haridwar!

  8. It sounds exciting to me also as I will meet them with some new thing which will be a surprise(B) not sure) for them.

    Sudhirji staying at Raewala, a town between Hardwar n Rishikesh, and Uncle has his residence in Haridwar!

    Thanks and god bless!
    Keep helping others!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. The Slow Challenge « Particular Notes on a Practice
  2. The Method is to Know the Mind « Particular Notes on a Practice

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