Prana, Chitta & the Body-Mind Connection

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In this video, I talk about the direct relationship of prana (~inner breath) to chitta (~mind), and how the Ashtanga Vinyasa path is so often considered in terms of the Patanjali Raja Yoga definition chitta vritti nirodah (yoga is the suspension of the fluctuations of the mind). However, in an embodied asana practice, we must also be aware of the Hatha Yoga definition prana vritti nirodah (yoga is the suspension of the inner breath), leading to pretty much the same result.  

It then becomes obvious how knowing more about the nervous system and basic physiology becomes imperative for a healthy practice. If we are disrupting the energy systems (and thereby all bodily systems) through improper breathing, injurious alignment and unexamined negative attitudes, we cannot hope to purify either the body or the mind, and can in fact disrupt both of them, since they are never separate from each other.

We see how this law of nature is used by trauma therapists (nervous system technicians, much like yogis) expressed as “story follows state.” This means that our physiological state determines the kinds of thoughts that are possible for us at any given moment to a very large degree. This gives us a new kind of respect for our embodied experience and allows us to fine-tune and deepen our practice to be far more beneficial in our own lives and in relation to all other beings to whom we are intimately connected. 

Tomorrow I’ll be launching a new set of courses leading up to online retreats and a teacher training where we investigate such themes deeply in both theory and practice! Stay tuned… 🙂

It seems the Standards for Yoga Teachers used to be somewhat higher!

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IMG_2764“[The teacher] is one who is endowed with the power of furnishing arguments pro and con, of understanding questions and remembering them, who possesses tranquility, self-control, compassion and a desire to help others, who is versed in the scriptures and unattached to enjoyments both seen and unseen, who has renounced the means to all kinds of actions, is a knower of Brahman and established in It, is never a transgressor of the rules of conduct, and who is devoid of shortcomings such as ostentation, pride, deceit, cunning, jugglery, jealousy, falsehood, egotism and attachment. He has the sole aim of helping others and a desire to impart the knowledge of Brahman only” (Śankarāchārya in Upadesa Sahasri).