Your Guide For Practicing Prana Healing Yoga
Once you have trained the body through the physical practice of Prana Healing Yoga, you can begin to control the mind, transforming your current "Number One Enemy" into your new best friend. You'll learn how the mind works, including where it goes astray, and the essential qualities, a yogi must have. I will provide practical suggestions and exercises to develop those mental qualities, and replace bad habits with good ones. You will reach these Benefits of Prana Healing Yoga through the practice, both, for your body and mind.
What is Prana?
Prana is short for Pranayama, and it means energy. And the easiest way to influence your energy is to utilize your breath. That's why I mostly start the classes with a pranayama breathing exercise. It supercharges your blood with oxygen. And at the same time, it stimulates brain activity. So, you get the energy for the asanas, postures, balancing, and strengthening exercises. As well as, the clarity in your mind to be in the here and now, and just focus on yourself during your practice. And this will connect you to the infinite cosmic energy field, the source of infinite power.
What means Healing for a Yogi?
Healing means getting in balance. The opposite side of it is disbalance, which your body reflects, for example as pain, sickness, diseases, allergies, cancer, and death.
What is Balance?
Balance does not mean a steady point between one and the opposite extreme. It means, a balance between stress and relaxation. This is no steady point between both of them, but instead, balance is a cyclic change between challenge and recovery. Stress challenges you, and you recover from it while enjoying some kind of wellness. And during this recovery phase, growth takes place, which makes you stronger. Permanent stress weakens you and makes you sick, the same as permanent relaxation. This is true for your mental, as well as for your physical health, and wellbeing.
What means Healing in Modern Medicine?
In modern, western medicine healing means that the symptom disappears. But the real cause did not even get identified nor treated. If you have back pain, you take a painkiller. And the symptom is gone. But the real cause is always a disbalance in the mind, which gets expressed by the body. Back pain is usually a sign that you are permanently carrying too much. This can be, a mental overload, too many responsibilities, too many projects, or problems.
But, health, growth, satisfaction, fulfillment, and happiness are created by a balance between stress and relaxation. In western cultures, the relaxation part is generally undervalued. Here in Bali, it is the other way around, we are rather a little bit too relaxed. We will combine the best out of both hemispheres so that you get the healthiest growth experience possible!
After you've healed both, your body's and your mind's health, the spirit will reenter or reawaken in your beautified temple. This puts you on the path to realize your true destiny, the realization of the godly potential, we all have inside. That's our ultimate goal.
Once you are on this path, your life will be very different
You're not the same person anymore. You will need a new map for the rest of your life, and I will give you that in my classes. Yoga tells us how we should live, including the four stages in one's lifetime. And what karmic duties we must perform to gain true happiness on mother earth.
Among these teachings will be guidance on the strongest energies: Love and relationships. Further, the importance of your beliefs (not necessarily an organized religion), which is the basis of spirituality. Additionally to these are more traditional ideas from the Balinese Hindu. I will add my observations, from my 10-plus years practicing a modern, western-influenced style of yoga. You will learn, how you can combine my 40 years of wisdom, with up-to-date modern know-how, opportunities, and advancements, to create the best life possible.
Once again, there is nothing too difficult to understand about it. But it doesn't mean, that it is easy to embody and implement. The only way is the right way. And the right way is the smart way. It is not the hard way, as some dogmatic, traditional, hardcore gurus teach it. Some of them even say: "No pain, no gain." I don't agree with that. I think, too many yoga teachers, especially the western ones, take yoga too seriously.
The Prana Healing Yoga Smiling Challenge
Yoga should be challenging, but to a point, where it is setting a healthy growth impulse. And this is reached when you feel a little discomfort. Yoga is no competition, how much pain you can handle. Because, if you are going deeper into a pose, and create a stronger stretching pain, does not mean that it sets a more effective growth stimulus. If you cannot execute it anymore with a smile on your face, it rather does something more destructive to your mind, than to improve the flexibility of your body. That's why, in my classes, you'll laugh a lot. If someone cannot balance in a tree pose, then she laughs about himself. And everybody in the class laughs with her, not at her! And then, we start singing together: "I believe I can fly ...". And my special classes are laughter yoga, which is principally a breathing practice, but a very funny one!
With this guidance, encouragement, and your supreme effort, you become your own guru. And that will lead you to that ideal existence, combining the best of both worlds.
What Are The Benefits of Prana Healing Yoga For Mastering the Mind?
"Yoga is a method for restraining the natural turbulence of thoughts,
Which otherwise impartially prevents all men, of all lands, from glimpsing their true nature of Spirit.
As long as man possesses a mind with its restless thoughts,
So long, there will be a universal need for yoga."
Did you know, that you own a Ferrari?
Or, since people are different from one another, maybe you have a Lamborghini instead. Either way, it is a world-class car, so powerful it can exceed 300 km/h. Unless, of course, the battery terminal has a loose connection, in which case the car won't move. The failure of one tiny part can make it breaks down completely.
The human body - your beautiful car - is the same way. If one part of the body doesn't work, you collapse. It doesn't need to be much. Something small like a cold or the flu, stomach cramps, gas, or a little headache will keep your body from functioning. "If you have an illness," my guru said, "all your appointments are canceled. Not just for today and tomorrow, but until you fix your problem." Well, now you have an appointment with destiny, the fulfillment of your unlimited potential.
Hatha and Raja Yoga
By starting to practice Hatha Yoga, you are fixing and maintaining the body properly, tuning up your Ferrari, and getting it ready for the drive. Now we turn our attention from the car to the driver, the mind. The physical practice of yoga will help to condition the mind so it is a suitable partner for your newly purified and integrated body.
With Raja Yoga, we will do for the mind what Hatha Yoga has done for the body. Only then can the marriage of these two suitable partners take place, allowing us to create a proper home for the Spirit, and invite it to join your body and mind in their new temple. Let me clear up something here. I said earlier, that yoga was invented, to still the body and prepare it for meditation. But some students misunderstand what that means.
The reason we want the body and mind calm and relaxed is not to sit on a cushion with our eyes closed. That's not the ultimate goal. Instead of the usual terminology of the "meditative state," think of it more as a receptive state, being open to the Spirit and inviting integration of the mind and the body. That is where we want to go. When you go to your first class, your first real yoga meditation will begin! Without an intelligent and disciplined mind, you will recklessly chaise your finely tuned-up car all over the road. Each time you are driving the bumpy roads in Denpasar's heavy traffic, you can't fire up the engine there, to experience all of your car's supernatural horsepower. You can't even get out of first gear, to enjoy the $300,000 Ferrari or Lamborghini. You have to take it out late at night on the toll road from Benoa Bay to Amlapura, and then you can get it up to sixth gear, and experience what you have under the hood.
Nobody knows how much power they truly possess. How much heart power, physical power, mental power, spiritual power-until they can train their mind to a point, at which they can silence all the unnecessary chatter, and choose a real destination. It will also require the will, to keep going and the discipline - even when people are telling you you're stupid to do so - to try over and over again, to never give up, no matter what the obstacles are until you have reached your goal. You need both mental and physical toughness.
The five qualities of mind:
Like the eight forms of yoga, they all operate interdependently and simultaneously. The good news is, that you're already learning them. As you continue to improve your body in Prana Healing Yoga classes, you will also naturally increase all five Raja Yoga powers. And your mind will be tested and toughened under the duress that only my Torture Chamber and my unrelenting Dialogue can supply. You will become a distraction-proof, emotion-proof, mood-proof, attitude-proof yogi. Because you have entered into cosmic consciousness. Here's how. First, understand that the mind is at once the most important and the most complicated subject in human life. With a foundation of mental strength, you can truly accomplish anything.
Without control of your mind, you can do nothing. You have something, but you don't know how to use it. The greatest challenge we face as human beings is controlling and properly using our minds.
The mind is the communications system between the physical body and the Soul or Spirit; its primary responsibilities are to control the body and supply the Spirit with immediate and exact information. When the mind instead gives distracted and wrong information, the Spirit cannot govern properly - in fact, it can - not assume control at all. The ego-driven mind has had to rule for itself, and now it does not want to give up its ultimate authority over your life. This is a bitter, perverse fact about human beings, but it is the truth. Without proper training, the mind will continue to give you the information and divert your focus from your Spiritual goals. The way it does that so successfully is with fear and desire its primary weapons. Like a drug dealer, the mind gets us addicted to these two opposite but conjoined emotions, and when we are constantly reacting to our attractions and aversions to people, things and situations, we can't see what is, and channels to our true Self, the Spirit. That's why I say, that the mind has become our worst enemy, to overcome this will not be easy. The weak mind is ever-growing, constantly feeding on your fears and negative habits. And as my guru taught me, the natural human attraction to something negative is nine times more powerful than our gravitational pull toward the positive, another very inconvenient fact.
In the philosophy of yoga, there are five big negative behaviors or Don'ts. Those are called Yama in Sanskrit.
Yama - The Five Big Negative Behaviours
- Harming or injuring others,
- Possessiveness or greed, and
- Neglecting or rejecting the Divine.
Niyama - The Five Do's are
- Keeping the body and mind discipline
- Finding fulfillment in your life as it is
- Training the senses
- Studying the Divine, and
- Surrendering to it.
Now think of your own life:
- Why are you so often drawn to the Yama, things you know are bad for you?
- Why is it so hard to resist them, to get off your fat, lazy butt, and go to a yoga class?
The power of negative attraction.
Negative attitudes and emotions are like black holes in space, so powerful that they swallow everything that passes in front of their mouths, so even light cannot escape. Resisting them demands much mental strength and supreme control. By regularly practicing Hatha Yoga and developing your faith, self-control, determination, concentration, and patience, you can break those powerful distractions. This will then help you to perform your Karma Yoga and eventually attain mental peace. None of us is born with the perfect mixture of all five requisite mental qualities, just as we aren't born with strength, flexibility, and balance in the body. But all five are within everyone's reach. In the West, you always try to train your minds on what to do, or Niyama. In India, they teach what not to do first, the Yama. Either way, you must learn moderation and balance.
What Are The Benefits of Prana Healing Yoga For Your Faith?
This may surprise you, as people often don't think of faith as a function of the mind. To illustrate why it belongs here-why it's vital to the control of the mind. Please, let me tell you a little story. The holiest man in India takes a journey through the Himalayas. At 85, he's also a billionaire, but he's renounced all that, giving his wealth and belongings to needy children. Today, he's traveling barefoot through the snow, back to his guru's ashram to preach to the children and engage in spiritual contemplation in the twilight of his life. Climbing up one of the higher peaks, his foot slips, and he starts to fall from a cliff into a deep chasm.
As he falls, he cries out, "Oh, God! All my life I've tried to do everything for everybody else, sacrificing everything that I've earned through sweat. So, that I may find a little peace at the end of my days and contemplate your mercy in solitude! How can you let me die this way, with my life as of yet unfulfilled?! How can this of the brow and the outer fulfillment of being your will?" Suddenly, his body hits a small tree growing out from the side of the cliff, and he grabs on for dear life. Opening his eyes, he sees that he has suspended thousands of feet above broken rocks, with no way up and no way safely down. The little sapling is barely enough to support his weight, and he realizes that very soon, either the tree will break, or his grip will slip. So, he prays to God: "Lord, in your infinite wisdom you have seen fit to dangle me above a most painful and untimely death. Everything I have done, I've done for you. Please help me - don't let me die in this way. I'll do anything you are asking for, anything at all. I promise to go back to work and build more temples. I'll feed the hungry. Anything, but please, please, please save me!" God answers, "Yes, my son, why are you screaming!"
The holy man is filled with joy, and cries, "Oh, loving, kind, merciful God! I knew you would come to this poor beggar's aid! Please help me leave this place in safety, that I might continue to praise your glorious name!" God tells him, "Just let go, and I will catch you, my son. For a full five minutes, everything is completely quiet. Finally, the hanging holy man calls out, "Is there anybody else out there who can help me?"
For 85 years of his life, the holiest man in India says he believes in God. But, when his faith is finally put to the test, he refuses to surrender his life to God out of fear of mortality. His life was almost over anyway; what did he have to lose? If he had truly given his life to God, then why couldn't he let go of the branch? The answer is simple: He lacked faith. Faith is an essential ingredient in the practice of life and supplies the foundation for controlling the mind. With faith, all things are possible. You just have to believe. To aspire to Self-realization, you must first have faith in your Self, which at the end of the day is the belief in God.
Since Godliness is in all of us, how can you profess to believe in God if you don't believe in yourself? How can you ever realize anything in which you have no faith? People who lack faith still go to temples, churches, or mosques, looking for answers. When they are physically sick, they go to a hospital; when they are mentally sick, they see a psychiatrist and fill a prescription for Prozac or some other pharmaceutical poison. I don't go to any of these places. Why should I? I am not physically, mentally, or spiritually sick, because I believe in my Self, I believe in you, and I believe in my subject: Prana Healing Yoga. I know that because you are holding on to your foot, kicking your leg out, and locking your knee for 60 seconds in my class today, that you will feel better tomorrow. Without true faith, belief doesn't mean anything, and the phrase "I believe in God" is just a bunch of empty words.
I learned to have faith in myself by first establishing faith in my guru. If he had ever told me to open the window and jump out, I would honestly have done it in the blink of an eye. I would never have hesitated. Because that man had proven to me, time and time again, that his only concern was my success in life. Out of love, respect, loyalty, and faith, I would never think twice about doing what my guru asked because I always believed in his love for me. This proved not just his worth to me, but my worth, you see? If he loved me the way he so clearly did, then I must have been lovable; I was worthy. From this, I got what you call self-esteem. didn't have a guru, you tell me. You don't have the no. proof like mine, which would give you a bedrock belief in your self-worth, which would give you true faith in the world outside you, in life itself. That's all right; no problem. To me, when I hear this, it's like you're saying, "I have a slipped disc" or, "I have a rotator cuff injury." You have a psychological injury and I have the prescription, Prana Healing Yoga training, that I know will cure this mental problem just as it cures the physical ones. I have faith in you. Already. And through my yoga, I will transfer that faith to you, as my yoga teachers did to me, and your own belief in yourself will grow inside you. I've seen it happen a million times. At the very foundation of my teachings, the way yoga was taught to me, is the knowledge that there is nobody bad in this world. We are all Gods and Goddesses. Through yoga, you will see this and you will internalize that belief, as you learn to like yourself, love yourself and take care of yourself. To respect yourself. The purpose of my life is to make people realize the goodness buried in themselves-that they deserve to be happy, and they can be. This happens in two very important ways, one that's very personal and internal and the other having to do with externals and other people.
First, when you begin to honor your body by practicing Hatha Yoga, your relationship to that body changes. Now you have pride in it and begin to have faith in yourself. You can begin to let go of your bad habits: smoking, drinking too much, whatever. It takes five seconds because when you do yoga you both love and like yourself. You know the value of your life. You realize that you can enjoy life better not drinking rather than drinking, or doing other things that defile your temple. Then you come to see yourself not as a slave to your bad habits, but as someone who has mastered them, and what do you get? More self-esteem, more than you can even imagine. In changing your bad habits and making choices that serve you instead of hurt you, you reestablish faith in your Self.
The second way yoga builds faith is through the community, the gathering of fellow souls in the class. Let's say somebody comes in, who is not successful, and not very happy. Maybe she had a bad experience with a boyfriend, maybe she's even taking drugs. Or it can be someone else, who is outwardly very successful-a lawyer or an engineer, who has a great job, a nice wife, cute little kids. But deep down he's not happy either; something is missing. The good news is, some friends of theirs bought them a Prana Healing Yoga class as a present, and finally one of them comes to the studio and what do they see? There are 50 people there and the other 49 are all smiling. So, they can't help but think, Why not me? Then they take the class and afterward their feet don't touch the ground anymore. They fly through the air and they feel high without drugs or alcohol. They've never had that feeling in their life - maybe they're 30, 40, 50 years old, it doesn't matter - and now they can't wait to have that feeling again tomorrow. Everyone else in the class is nice to them, helps them, begins to influence them positively. So they see you can achieve your goals. You don't have to give up. We call this kind of community or influential group Satsang, and it's a very powerful force. (A group that negatively influences its members is called Satsang.)
Other people's happiness and success rub off on you. It's like when it's cold outside and your car doesn't start. That doesn't mean that you take the car and dump it in the junkyard, right? You just need a jump. All you have to do is go next door and ask, "Can you jump-start my car?" There's nothing wrong with you or your car; you just need a little help. And the belief the teacher and the other students in Prana Healing Yoga class have in you jump-starts your cold battery. They charge you with their faith, and then, after a while, you recognize your faith, your power.
When confronted with a choice in life get in the habit of asking yourself, Does this action (or nonaction) show faith in myself, the belief that I have godliness inside of me? Or does it demonstrate disrespect for me, and suggest that my body and I aren't that worthy? Your ego-mind doesn't want you to have this intelligent dialogue with yourself before you act. It wants to drive, to be in control, and for the rest of you to be unconscious in the backseat. And since the negative pull is stronger than the positive, it will often want to take you in the wrong direction.
But you know already, inside, what is right and what is wrong. When you bring these life choices out into the open and examine them, it becomes clear that the negative (Yama) choices make disrespectful statements about you. When you make conscious choices, it's easier for you to resist negativity and disrespecting yourself. As your belief in your Self grows with your practice, this becomes easier still, and asking yourself these questions before you act becomes a good habit, one you'll want to keep. It's so simple trust me.
After you acquire true belief in yourself, you must develop the moral strength necessary to see it through, and to act on that belief-in other words, self-control.
What Are The Benefits of Prana Healing Yoga For Your Self-Control?
This second element of a strong mind is also known as moral discipline. Self-control requires practice, and practice requires discipline. By controlling our minds, we acquire the mental strength necessary to make the distinction between what we want and need. This difference is even greater than the difference between good and bad, so huge and so crucial that these may be the two most important words in the English language - in any language. Life can be heaven or it can be hell; it all hangs on those two words. If you can judge and make a decision between what you want and what you need, then you can have the best life.
How to make the distinction between what you want and need?
Use your mind, your Raja Yoga logic. When your gas tank is empty, can you drive the car? No, you cannot. That means you need gas. Technically, mechanically, you have no choice. Now, let's say you want to have a jumbo-size Mocha Frappuccino in your cup holder to make it a nice drive. Fine. But do you need that beverage to drive the car? No. It's a want, not a need. First, you need to fulfill your needs. Then you have choices; you can decide where you want to go. Do you want to go to Palm Springs? Do you want to go to the airport? Decide-it's up to you. But you can't go anywhere without the We want everything. Your mind tells that, I want money, I want a house, I want happiness, I want sex, gas. "I want this, I want 'no. I want success, I want. .. "
Again, it's trying to distract and confuse you, for you to equate wanting these things with needing them. But to want something is merely to crave, or desire, it. A need is a necessary duty or obligation. It's okay to want. As we go through life, we may want to have a nice house, good food, fine clothes, and the best education.
There is nothing wrong with desiring the best this life has to offer, but first things first. Before you attempt to satisfy your wants, you must be responsible for fulfilling your physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and financial needs. Being a slave to desire causes us to neglect our real needs. And in the culture of materialism, desire is rampant. Our downfall here comes when we expect that having things we want will satisfy us; that's what capitalism and materialism teach us. Thinking that way, when we feel the incredibly brief, transitory kind of satisfaction or happiness that getting a new toy brings, we confuse it with the real, deep, permanent satisfaction that is available to us. We lose our focus on reaching the state of joy, that you get from practicing your Hatha, Raja, and Karma Yoga.
The essential thing here is to distinguish between want and need and to keep those two things in their proper order. So again, you make the distinction explicit, bring it out into the open, and defy your sneaky mind. When you feel yourself wanting some. thing, don't beat yourself up for having desires. Just ask, Do I want this thing, or do I truly need it? Will it be a fun diversion, or will it help me to get where I want to go! You may conclude that it's just a want, then go ahead and get it, and that's fine. You may say, "No, it's just a superficial want. I don't need it. I'm going to concentrate on what's truly important and in ten minutes I'll have forgotten that I even wanted it."
Both answers are good. It's choosing consciously that matters. You will find, though, that labeling wants as such-having to admit to yourself that you don't need them-takes so much of the power out of your cravings that you will start to consistently favor the needs. It's the confused idea that we need something that makes us want it so badly. Plus, the slight delay, just the time it takes to ask and answer this question, takes a lot of the steam out of this heedless rush to have something. Want loses momentum, and the balance swings back toward taking care of business. Developing self-control circles back to faith, the first quality of mind. If you lacked faith and did not believe in your Self, then there would be no motivation to achieve moral discipline. Faith allows you to do that, and self-control reinforces and rewards that faith.
Then, the next quality to be instilled is willpower or determination.
What Are The Benefits of Prana Healing Yoga For Your Determination?
Your willpower must say "no" when no is required, overcoming fear and desire. When you feel angry, greedy, or naughty, you know it is wrong to act on such impulses, and you must rely on your willpower to prevail. When presented with a better but more difficult choice, your determination must lead you to say, "Yes, I will." Here's one use of willpower that's extremely difficult to master: Responding with kindness to people who act out against you. And yet all the wise teachers from Jesus on down tell you that you must turn the other cheek. No matter how great the justification, if you react with anger and try to hurt the offender in return, things will only continue to worsen. If a negative encounter peacefully, you are the winner. The person who tried to hurt you may even realize his or her mistake and eventually, they may learn from those mistakes and become a non better human being.
Why is not responding to another person's anger so hard?
Just as negative forces generally have more power than positive ones, another fact of life or human nature is that the right way is almost always the hard way. Life is a battlefield, and to win the battle and perform your Karma Yoga, you have to be the strongest soldier in the army. Plus, if you listen to the teachings of the great yogis, sages, masters, and avatars of the world, you will hear the universally acclaimed truth that suffering is the only way to develop true compassion. Hell is the only way to get to heaven. To continue choosing the hard way requires enormous determination. Mahatma Gandhi's slogan, he gave to India's independence movement: "Do or die." In the spirit of Gandhi's great words, we must learn to be determined in our minds so that we can reclaim control of our lives. And we can do that through the vehicle of the body, using our Hatha Yoga to develop Raja Yoga. While teaching my yoga class, I talk about the need for English bulldog determination, to perform one's Karma Yoga. A bulldog's jaw can lock, maintaining an unshakable grip that can be released only through choice or physical death. This is true willpower. And it is in the furnace of my Torture Chamber that this quality is forged. You're in there holding an asana, shaking and shuddering, your every muscle crying out, and your mind is yelling at you to quit, to please bring an end to this mental and physical pain. That's when I come to your rescue by sweetly telling you, "Just try to kill yourself, honey."
Does this mean that I want to see my students physically die in my yoga class? No way, because that disturbs the rest of the class, makes a mess on the carpet, and is very difficult to explain to their families. Plus, if they expire, how will they ever pay for their next 10 lessons!
When I say kill yourself, I'm talking about killing your false, lowercase self and overcoming the slavery of your mind. Raised by parents who tell them, "Take it easy, honey-just do the best that you can" and, "Don't hurt yourself, honey." People get brainwashed to expect very little of themselves. I say, break free of the bonds that have held you back from achieving your true potential in life. You'll see then that Hatha Yoga is not just about the postures, and that technique is not all you are learning. Equally important is the determination we learn, to perform the postures. Trying the right way, giving 100 percent sincere effort, gives you 100 percent of the benefit, even if you can only do a posture 1 percent correctly! Never give up. Never slack off. It is only through disciplined willpower, through which physical health, mental peace, and Self-Realization can be achieved.
Practicing in a Prana Healing Yoga school is like going to the determination factory and buying mass quantities of willpower at wholesale prices. However, it's also true that the specific challenge you choose to build willpower with really doesn't matter; it's the trying itself that counts. The task just needs to be sufficiently challenging or daunting to require willpower, and like yoga, to offer attractive enough rewards to make the effort seem worthwhile. So set an additional goal for yourself outside the studio, something that would be very hard for you to attain. But that would be oh-so-satisfying. Now double it. That's right. Not climbing Mount Everest, but climbing Mount Everest on one leg! Not earning a million dollars to give to charity, but making and giving away 2 million dollars! Remember, we are only limited by our imaginations, our thoughts, and our dreams. Everything is attainable with enough hard work, once you understand your true destination.
What Are The Benefits of Prana Healing Yoga For Your Concentration?
In India, a custom has been to place the education of our children in the hands of gurus. And in our religious mythology, the gods, and goddesses did the same thing. One p sage who had been chosen to teach the gods' sons to become warriors was the enlightened teacher named Dronacharya. One day, Dronacharya assembled all the boys for a test. He lined them up side by side in a great field, with nothing on the great horizon but a lone tree standing miles in the distance, holding in its branches a wooden bird. Equipped with a stout bow and a single arrow each, the boys stood at attention, awaiting the command of their teacher. He told them,
"Everyone aims at the bird. Then, when I call your name, shoot at the bird." Approaching the first boy on the line, Dronacharya asked him,
"What do you see at the end of the field, young warrior!"
"I see the bird, Sir!" the boy answered bravely.
"What else do you see?" inquired the Master.
"I see the tree, Sir!"
"What else do you see?"
"I see the sky and everything else behind the tree, Sir!"
"Wrong!" Dronacharya roared.
The same questions were repeated to 99 more boys, and after successfully identifying the bird in the tree, they gave 99 different answers to the next question, all of which received a thundering "Wrong! Next boy!" from their teacher. From the dew on the leaves to the sap on the trunk to the sun in the sky to the wind in the branches, no reply would satisfy Dronacharya. Finally, he came to Arjun, his favorite student, and the most promising young warrior of all. (I told you about him before; he will become the warrior whose dialogue with Lord Krishna on the eve of a great battle forms the epic story that defines Karma Yoga.) The last boy in the line, Arjun stood unmoving and stared unblinking into the sun, which was starting to set behind the lone tree.
"What do you see, Arjun!" his guru demanded.
"I see the bird, Sir!" he smartly replied.
"What else can you see?"
"Just the bird, Sir!" Arjun answered.
"What part of the bird?"
"I see the head of the bird, Sir!"
"What part of the head?"
"I see the left eyeball, Sir!"
"What else do you see?"
"Shoot!" the guru commanded.
Arjun released his arrow and pierced the left eye of the bird, passing the test. The fourth element of a strong mind, as illustrated by this story, is the power of concentration. When you concentrate, all good things in the world are yours. Let's say you have a son who is failing in school, can't get his work done on time, and flunks his tests, while your daughter is smart, clever, and a straight-A student. They're both very intelligent; the only difference between them is their ability to concentrate. You must also be able to focus. You must have an aim in life. and you cannot blink your eyes or take your eyes off of the target. If you do, you are scattered, thinking of five things at once, like the other young warriors. You can't keep your mind on any one thing for 10 seconds. Then you are aimless, with no real goal in life and no hope of reaching Self-Realization. And having too many choices keeps you from being able to concentrate and get things done. In India, students must declare in the eighth grade what course of study they will pursue, whether it's the arts, science, or commerce.
But the student doesn't make that decision, his or her teacher and guru decide, and that's it! Not like here, where people go to four kinds of graduate schools until they're 40 and still don't know what they want to be when they grow up. With concentration, you will finally be capable of making a commitment, maintaining your aim and your purpose, and doing your job, no matter how long it takes. I like to say that concentration brings life to your life. This power is what meditation was invented to develop; it trains you to focus completely on one thing and one thing only, beginning with a mantra or the breath. And as I've explained, my Prana Healing Yoga class does the same thing, driving all thoughts from your mind except what you need to concentrate on to successfully perform each posture. You have to-you have no choice!
Do you know how hard it is to concentrate for 10 seconds while attempting one yoga posture?
Imagine that you are listening to me lead you through Utkatasana, the Awkward posture. You're having some difficulty balancing as you stretch out your arms in front of you, trying to sit deeper in an imaginary chair, keeping your wrists, feet, and knees 6 inches apart, heels directly behind the toes, chest up, weight in the heels, leaning back as if you are trying to fall backward, way back, farther back - now change! In only 10 seconds, it's over. Could you have possibly thought about anything else during those 10 seconds without falling back on your butt? Besides the physical demands, the words of the Dialogue take command of your mind. In 10 seconds I give you 20 things to remember. I'm screaming while you're desperately, continuously, and simultaneously communicating between your body, my words, and your mind. That's concentration power, my friend. And when you have it, no one can steal your peace.
To do a diagnostic test on your ability to concentrate, try a quick meditation right now. Sit comfortably, either in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and your spine straight against the back of the chair, or on the floor with your legs crossed, spine straight. Close your eyes and think to yourself, "God, God, God, ..." Or choose a temporary mantra for yourself, any little word that comes to mind, and repeat that silently, over and over. Within about five seconds, I bet you'll be thinking "Sex, sex, sex... money, money, money... food, food, food..."
You'll open your eyes and wonder why you were sitting there, and what the hell it was that you were supposed to be doing. You can almost hear your mind laughing at you. Do not be alarmed; this is completely normal. You need more concentration power. To develop it, you may want to learn some meditation techniques and do them regularly in addition to your Hatha Yoga practice. In any case, training the mind to concentrate takes time: When you catch a wild lion in the jungle, it may take a while before it's ready to perform in the circus.
Time is essential to developing every part of mind control, and this pro-longed and pointed pursuit brings up the last mental quality you will need, which is patience.
What Are The Benefits of Prana Healing Yoga For Your Patience?
Suppose you have developed faith, self-control, determination, and concentration, but you still don't have the mental peace you seek. Why? You are lacking the fifth quality of mind. Your journey to Self-Realization will be a long one; it's not an overnight thing, like they FedEx it to you or something. This is a lifelong process you've just started; you are going to need patience. Imagine that you are driving cross-country. You've spent weeks planning your trip, mapping out the best possible route, deciding which cities and towns to stay in and which sights to see. You've made reservations at a five-star, trendy hotels and had your mechanic rotate the tires, change the oil, and perform a tune-up on your trusty vehicle. You've packed your car with food and CDs, and called all your friends along the way to let them know when you'll be passing through. Finally, the big day arrives, and you get in your car, top off the tank, and hit the road. You get as far as seeing one of your friends, and suddenly you say to yourself, "My God, this is taking too long! Forget it!"
Before you do a quick U-turn and head back home tires screech. You understood intellectually that the entire trip would cover over 3,500 miles, and that it would take at least six days. But you only made it through half a day. When faced with the reality of it, you ran out of patience. It is said that patience is a virtue. Too bad nobody possesses any. I have developed some patience through all of the obstacles I have overcome in my life, but I still don't like using them. Time is the only thing I fear in this life, and I refuse to waste my precious time by waiting for tomorrow, next week, next year, or the next life to do anything. Who knows what could happen? Driving home from teaching a class tonight, 1 could crash my scooter and end my life; tomorrow may never come. There is so much left for me to experience in my life, and so much work to be done that I haven't got time to wait. Remember, I told you before: Performing your Karma Yoga, and doing your job on Earth means not just doing it honestly and properly but doing it on time.
However, when it comes to my students and yoga, I always do my best to be patient. Many students who come to class will be practicing for the rest of their lives, and not everyone's progress is exceptionally fast. It's like my guru used to say: You can't beat a donkey into a horse. How effective would I be as a yoga teacher if I lacked the patience to let my students struggle through their difficulties, even if they don't listen to me as well as they should? Should I kick them out? "Sorry, honey. You've been coming for over six months now, and you still can't lock the goddamn knee. Go home." No. As the teacher, I must have the necessary patience to guide them so that they can heal themselves.
One very simple but effective way to practice patience is by using Savasana, something you already know how to do from my class. I told you before that despite its apparent simplicity, for many, many students, this is the most challenging posture of all. How could that be, since it only involves lying there still, like a corpse? The real challenge is not physical but mental. The devious, disobedient mind doesn't want you to clear away all the useless thoughts it's throwing at you; hear the calm voice of sanity beyond the chatter of thoughts, and that's a threat to the mind's rule over your life.
So when you stop your activity and simply lie there and attempt to be calm and relaxed, it will redouble its noisy attack. The mind will throw everything it's got at you to make you scratch your nose, wipe your face, scratch your ass, get up and go to the bathroom or get a drink of water. Anything to break your intention. That's what makes Savasana a great patience-builder. All need to do is exercise patience. In the end, you will win. In class, we can use Savasana only in very short spurts, usually for 20 seconds. When you're at home, and you can spare five minutes to help save your life, just lie down wherever you are, in whatever clothes you are wearing, and rest in Savasana for five minutes. Find a spot on the ceiling to focus on. Remember, the eyes are open the whole time. You're flat on your back, legs straight, heels together, arms by your sides, completely relaxed. Palms face up toward the ceiling. Concentrate on your breath, inhaling deeply and then exhaling fully through the nose at all times.
All you need to do is wait for the chatter to die down and the five minutes to be up. Doing this exercise daily will not only increase your patience but will also calm and prepare you mentally and physically for the rest of your day's activities.
Conclusion of The Benefits of Prana Healing Yoga
Whether you were born in the East or the West is of no consequence. All roads eventually lead to the same place. By taking the best from both worlds, we can begin to heal the wounds of misunderstanding and separation that have caused us so much unnecessary suffering, make soul-to-soul connections, and make our world whole at last.
The time has come for the union of a healthy body, a peaceful mind, and the realized Soul within each one of us, and a reunion of all Earth's children and their Mother.
The time has come for knocking down walls, forgetting our fears, and forgiving each other, in the creation of a global civilization based upon the ideals of friendship, truth, and love.
Your time has come for Prana Healing Yoga.
See you in class, my friend.