29 June 2018

Ego, Yoga, and Meditation

                           Image result for hafiz and ego

Apparently yoga and meditation boost one's ego. Or sense of oneself. When we start the spiritual journey, our sense of oneself certainly does increase. No doubt about it. And for most, we start to feel and behaviour in a more holistic way. But, sadly, this doesn't apply to everyone.

What is ego?

There is a demi-god, called Papa Purusha, who is intimately involved with the qualities of difficult emotions. Many of which are not exactly helpful emotions, like anger, jealousy. Who amongst us has not known these emotions?  In Maori, this Atua/God is known as Whiro.

These difficult emotions are intricately woven into what is known as ego. When one is following a good spiritual path, these difficult qualities gradually become less forceful, they somehow disappear, bit by bit, into the ether. The ties that bind us to the difficulties, they should become less strong. And correspondingly, our more "positive" emotions come more to the forefront of our "ego".

My Tohunga teacher (Maori spiritual guide), Ruatau Perez, says that our ego is how we outwardly express energy. This has been the best explanation that I have ever heard for ego. It implies that we have a choice with ego, of how we choose to be.

Either way, our emotions are what are behind the ego, as a driving force.

And the energy behind this outward expression, comes from within. And what then moves this energy, is from many sources. As explained below.

Where does our ego come from?

Ego is one of the components of mind, The everyday mind, mostly. I venture to suggest that ego is not just from our thoughts, but rather, also from:

  • Our feelings. Never, ever, underestimate the effect that our feelings have on us. Never. Ever. Often feelings are quite subtle, but they are always there. All the good ones, and also the more difficult ones, like anger.
  • Memories. Our memories are tied up with our feelings. Good, bad. There are a myriad of feelings hidden inside of us, many of which we may find difficult to define.
  • "Bad" memories are stored in our bodies. Yes - who knew? Yoga has an overemphasis on The Mind, which is such a little part of us, and my own ashram training was that our thoughts create our sense of self, our ego. Well, no. This is not exactly true. These "bad" memories have feelings around them, and these feelings can often be quite hidden. As an example: recently, I saw a childhood photo of myself, and then a few hours later, I realised after seeing it, that I had then sunk into a mire of extreme insecurity and other similar disturbing feelings. Which of course were triggered off by hidden feelings from about the age that I was in that photo. These feelings went through my whole psyche and I'm including my body and thoughts in the psyche bit, too. I went to the Maori healing clinic which I work in, and those crippling feelings lifted as the emotions were released from my body.
  • Our state of mind. Yes, I am including this here. If you read the above example, you will see that my state of mind was also affected by my feelings which had emerged. But actually, my whole being was affected, not just the mind aspect. (Just to make this clear)
  • The effects of our life journey. So this includes the way that we were brought up, the experiences that we undergo, and the effects of our upbringing and experiences. These experiences and effects have a massive part to play in expression of ego
  • Our own personal nature that we were born with. All babies start to express their own little personal quirks which have come with them into their new life, fairly quickly. 
How should the ego be expressed, from yoga, and from meditation?

Yoga increases the ego. It increases the sense of oneself, and what and whom we each think that we are. Which can be either a positive, meaning beneficial, experience. Or a negative one, meaning that one is not being a decent human being. Although the research about yoga, meditation and ego, was actually looking at specific beneficial factors, not the "negative" expression of energy as ego. We all have a choice about how we choose to express ourselves, and this, from myself as a spiritual seeker, a healer, and someone who has done hundreds of regressions, is the real choice in a lifetime. 

What benefits should yoga, and meditation, give us?
And this includes any spiritual path....!
  • We should feel better emotionally
  • We should be happier, from the hormones released into our system from the yoga poses, and from the feel-good effects on the nervous system in the brain, and in the gut
  • We should be thinking clearer, from the deep, slow, breathing which slows down our thoughts and calms our feelings
  • Our expression of energy, our ego, should be a beneficial expression. If it is not, then one is doing something "wrong" with the yoga. My long yoga experience also taught me that it also means that we are being taught the wrong type of yoga for ourselves, when it doesn't make us feel good about ourselves. I learnt this many decades ago, from Dr Swami Gitananda, and it became a sort of a measure with me. 

20 June 2018

Change Yoga According To Your Needs

                         Image result for vintage doing yoga at home          

It's Okay To Do This

I do it all of the time:

  • If I pick up a virus, for example, I allow myself time to heal, rather than 'use' yoga to sort out the virus. Which really, I don't think that yoga can do this.
  • When I'm going to be sitting most of the day, like at a seminar, then I'll emphasise a standing dynamic twist, a lying dynamic twist, standing hip circles, hip openers, and a backward bend.
  • When it's hot, I do not want to be doing heated poses like warriors. Nor do I do heating breathing practices.
  • When it's cold, I reluctantly use one of a couple of warrior routines, that I know off by heart, for toning, strength, and yes, warmth. But, and again this is just me, not in the morning. (I'm not a Warrior postures fan)
  • And, I do change the pranayama (breathing techniques) in summer and in winter. Yes, of course I do!!

My Base Routine

I have a very simple base morning routine. If you do have one, then it's easy to use little adjustments. Here are some of my suggestions, for my routine:

I Don't Do Heaps

I do Surya Namaskaras (Sun Salutes) I like to do them faster, but that's just my personal preference. It means that:
  • I did something
  • It makes me feel good
  • It keeps me limber
  • I don't have to 'think' about it
  • Sometimes slowly and thoughtfully doesn't suit me
  • I have adjusted this Sun Salute to suit my needs. (I have a dodgy back)
  • I don't do lots of them

Or, I might just do a sort of Ashtanga Suryanamaskara A:
  • moving slowly and thoughtfully
  • being more precise
  • using soft ujjayi, and I might vary the breathing ratios
  • or I might use an unusual bhastrika in a couple of the poses
  • I might do a couple of modifications of this Sun Salute

Other times, I'll just do each pose, of either Salute:
  • three times each, moving with the breath
  • once each, holding for three to five breaths
  • sometimes do 3 cats
  • and I always end up in child pose at the end, to relax
  • I usually do this routine when I'm tired, or feeling a tad lazy

I like to finish some salutes-type morning practice, with:
  • a reclining twist, either dynamic, or a holding one, relaxing into the pose
  • either bridge pose, which I might do slowly three times, or once, holding a minimum of three breaths
  • or the half shoulderstand, which I hold for more breaths
  • and finish with reclining butterfly. Some might call it reclining baddhakonasana. Relaxing

Yours Will Be Different

So, I'm able to have all of these 'methods' to draw on, because of my 'base' practice, known as sadhana. I don't have to get up and make choices, because I know which variation suits me on any given day. And I know this because I've done my dues, put in my time. I've learnt through doing. Over and over. What I do is not earth-shattering, nor long, nor difficult, but it works for me. You might prefer to do something else, like one or more of these:
  • maybe some 'flexibility' type movements
  • backwards, forwards, and side to side, and a twist (standing, seated, reclining - whatever suits you best)
  • a simple evening routine to wind down
  • I met a woman years ago, who did 3 rounds each of the 2 Ashtanga Surya Namaskaras, each morning
  • and a yoga teacher friend, used to do 1 of each of the classical poses before bed. It took 10 minutes
  • another yoga teacher friend would go for a quick walk/run, come back and do a few poses

There's more.....

And I do have a 'base' pranayama (breathing) routine at the end:
  • in autumn I work on strengthening my lungs with a particular type of bhastrika (not the abdominal-pumping one), in preparation for a cold and rainy winter.
  • in winter, I move into the pumping abs bhastrika. It's so warming that of course I avoid it in spring and summer.
  • for summer and spring, I have a cooling little-known bhastrika
  • more often than not, I do kapalabhati, as well
  • and I do a number of each of these cleansing pranayamas, that I know that I can do each morning without it being a major effort 'thing' that I have to do (and it's not much .....)

I practise Nadi Shodana, sometimes known as the Alternate Nostril Breath:
  • when I'm not in a slow-and-relax-mood, It's just done with deep breathing and no retention
  • when I am At One with everything, I add retentions
  • usually only 3 -5 rounds
  • but my favourite version leads one directly into meditation, and more often than not, this is what I do

In summer I finish pranayama with cooling breaths

Usually I am in meditation, by the time that I have finished. I usually only do a short one. But, and this is the point: I frequently do it.

Sometimes It's Really Short And Sweet

Occasionally I'll just do:
  • a couple of warm-ups
  • pranayama
  • some meditation. 

Sometimes I Don't Do  Anything

But I'm okay with that, too. The points for me with a daily practice are:
  • make it doable, which for me is make it short
  • make it enjoyable, meaning it makes me feel good
  • do it more often than you don't do it 
  • don't head-trip when you can't get it done or don't actually want to do it

14 June 2018

The Angelic Realm

                  Image result for angelic realm

What does a yoga and other types of ancient spirituality blog, have to do with angels, you may well ask.

Chakra Realms

Yoga chakras are about realms and the inherent powers within each of those realms. They are about other things too.

Benefits of Ancient Lore

I also study and practice Maori deep spirituality. Within the teachings are many guidelines to practice to bring us closer to Our True Nature, and also methods for dealing with daily life, such as resolving conflicts. I do truly feel that one must balance both daily life and the spiritual journey, in order to fulfil one's destiny.

The Yoga lead me to looking for the next step in my spiritual journey, and I found the next step to be contained within the Ancient Teachings of the Maori Tohungas. And the next step within all of this was going in deeper within myself, and along the way, coming to realms beyond the deep experiences of the chakras.

The Ancient Maori Lore is very much involved with The Ancestors, both in our DNA line plus The Great Ones who have walked before us; angels; archangels, and The Gods and Goddesses. The teachings are involving the Highest forms of Divinity.

The Infinity Realm

I had an experience a few years ago in deep meditation, of infinity. There was a portal that I could take my Higher Consciousness through, to get into that realm. I did not do it. Mainly because I did not feel that I would return from it, in this lifetime. It did teach me that anything we can understand about creation, is nothing compared to the knowledge within that realm. I realised that trying to understand it, was beyond silly. So, I just accepted it.

The Angelic Realm

I became acquainted with angels at one of the darkest and most heartbroken times of my life. I felt that I could barely continue, due to all of the grief and other deep emotions inside of me. I had my head in my hands at at a table, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a small, fluffy, white feather. I realised that I had been seeing quite a few of them, and recalled how they were supposed to be a sign from angels. In that instant, I saw a shimmering gold figure to the right of me, as I felt Divine Love coming down through my crown chakra. For sure, it was an angel. I had never really given much thought to angels prior to this, but later came to have quite a few encounters with them in my healing work.

More recently, I was in a meditation group, at Anahera Crystals and Healing where we we using crystals specifically for angel work. Myself and another person who was also doing the meditation, had a very disjointed visual experience to start with. I experienced this not long ago, to do with a Godly encounter. I am sure that it was like rapid 'freeze-framing' moving quickly through realms. I then heard a voice say: 'we can be anywhere'. (of course!) This was referring, of course, to angels.

And then, I saw a blue sky, as though I was looking upwards. And I saw a cloudy white tunnel entrance, high in that sky. Since having a Near Death Experience over five years ago... I have known that a white tunnel takes us from this earthly realm into the Life Between Lives Realm. So, for me, white tunnels are best avoided!! (and for you, too!)

I heard a voice telling me that 'We are in the Blue Realm', and also telling me NOT to go into that angel tunnel. I never would have, for I recognised it instantly. It was the Infinity Realm entrance, mentioned above. The one where I knew I should not enter. The portal was actually a tunnel-type portal.

Who would have guessed?

So, to recap, angels can come to our realm. But we cannot go to theirs.