nādānusandhāna namo’stu tubhyaṃ tvāṃ manmahe tattvapadaṃ layānām | bhavatprasādātpavanena sākaṃ vilīyate viṣṇupade mano me ||
I salute the lotus-feet of my guru that have experienced the knowledge and bliss of Atman, and that serve as a doctor for removing the delusion of people caused by the poison of samsara.
In this world, there are one lakh and twenty-five thousand laya-yoga—the yoga of absorption in nature— meditations told by Lord Shiva. Of these, I consider the samadhi brought about by the meditation on the anahata sound to be the best.
When by the rechaka, exhalation; puraka, inhalation; and kumbhaka, retention of air, all the nadis, channels for prana’s flow, are purified, then knowledge rises of its own from the lotus of anahata chakra; this knowledge can only be known by oneself.
O’, meditation on the anahata sound, I salute you. I know that you are the ultimate goal among the laya-yogas. By your grace, my prana and mind get merged in the Lord’s feet or the supreme state.
We used to go to a zen meditation meeting (Zazenkai) at Sogenji Zen temple every Sunday morning for 2 years, until we moved to Kobe. About 3 or 4 years ago, we had a chance to visit Sogenji again. After the Zazenkai, we were introduced to an old grandfather who has been taking care of the lotus flowers at the temple over 30 years. He took us to his home next to the temple to have tea with some other local people who have been visiting Sogenji for over 20 to 30 years.
Before we left, the grandfather gave us some lotus seeds, and said: “Those are very valuable, please take care of the seeds. They can grow into lotus flowers.” That was the first time I saw a lotus seed and I did not know how to plant them. So we took the seeds home as a gift from the Zen temple saved it at home.
Recently, I became very interest in taking care of plants at home and I thought about the lotus seeds from the lotus grandfather. We opened the seeds and put them into the water. It surprised me, that the lotus flowers grew up very fast. Only two seeds could grow so many lotus leaves.
The yogatārāvalī of ādi śaṅkarācārya said, the little lotus could make the OM sound. I don’t know if I can hear the sound from my lotus.
Dṛṣṭi means gazing point. There are nine dṛṣṭis in the āsana practice. If the dṛṣṭi indicated for the āsana is too difficult, one may always revert to nāsāgra dṛṣṭi. With time and practice, the proper dṛṣṭi for each posture will be possible. Dṛṣṭi improves concentration and brings about a realization of oneness during the practice. With the gaze focused in one place during our practice, we can be more present in the postures. This focus and awareness can carry over into our daily life.
This was my third trip to Antaiji. We had a meeting with Muho Sensei the day before sesshin, which is 10 hours of zazen, divided into 45 minute seated meditation and 15 minute walking meditation periods, with 2 blocks of 5 hours. In the meeting with Muho Sensei, a participant asked the question, “What do you think happiness is?” Muho sensei said, “Happiness is like the 65% of water in the cup. Do you think you already have 65% water or you want the other 35% water to full of your cup?” It depends on the way you think. When you feel happy there is happiness.
I remember last year in the July retreat, in the same meeting before sesshin, Muho Sensei said, “Zazen is your Mysore practice”. Yes, I think Ashtanga practice and zen practice are really similar, and both practices are difficult for everybody, even if you are not a beginner.
At last year’s retreat, I woke up at 1:40 am every morning, and did full primary practice before 4:00 am zazen. But on this trip, I slept a little more, and woke up at 2:00 am to do half primary every morning. I did not practice yoga on the day of sesshin off because it was moon day, and I did intermediate series practice on the last day because there was no zazen and yoga class in the morning.
On this trip we had 3 yoga classes: two Ashtanga beginner led classes in the morning at 4:00 am before zazen, and one stretch class at 7:00 pm after zazen. I am really happy to share yoga with more people, and happy to see that more and more people are interested in ashtanga practice.
The spinal column, ribs, and lower abdomen are purified by Navasana. It also cures gastric trouble resulting from food not digesting completely and provoked vata due to a lack of digestive fire. The waist additionally gains strength .
ーー from Sri K. Pattabhi Jois < Yoga Mala>
*Vata: According to Ayurveda, a person’s health is based on their dosha — a balance of the five elements of the world known as air, earth, space, water, and fire.There are three fundamental doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha, Vata is constituted by space and air, which is the energy of movement; fire and water constitute pitta, the principle of digestion and metabolism; and water and earth make up kapha, the dosha of structure and lubrication.
There are two parts of the Ashtanga Yoga opening mantra. The first part was one of Krishnamacharya’s favorite mantras from the Yoga Taravali, an ancient text on Yoga written by the Indian philosopher Adi Shankaracharya. The second part is taken from an invocation to Patanjali, the mythical creator of Yoga, and this mantra is often included before chanting the Yoga Sutras.