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Happy Obon Festival!!!

If you are like I was and new to Japanese Buddhism, you might not know what a Bon or Obon festival is.

What is an Obon Festival:

Obon (お盆) or just Bon (盆) is a Japanese Buddhist custom to honor the spirits of one’s ancestors. This Buddhist-Confucian custom has evolved into a family reunion holiday during which people return to ancestral family places and visit and clean their ancestors’ graves, and when the spirits of ancestors are supposed to revisit the household altars. It has been celebrated in Japan for more than 500 years and traditionally includes a dance, known as Bon-Odori.

Obon is a shortened form of Ullambana (Japanese: 于蘭盆會 or 盂蘭盆會, urabon’e). It is Sanskrit for “hanging upside down” and implies great suffering. The Japanese believe they should ameliorate the suffering of the “Urabanna”.

Bon Odori originates from the story of Maha Maudgalyayana (Mokuren), a disciple of the Buddha, who used his supernatural powers to look upon his deceased mother. He discovered she had fallen into the Realm of Hungry Ghosts and was suffering. Greatly disturbed, he went to the Buddha and asked how he could release his mother from this realm. Buddha instructed him to make offerings to the many Buddhist monks who had just completed their summer retreat, on the fifteenth day of the seventh month. The disciple did this and, thus, saw his mother’s release. He also began to see the true nature of her past selflessness and the many sacrifices that she had made for him. The disciple, happy because of his mother’s release and grateful for his mother’s kindness, danced with joy. From this dance of joy comes Bon Odori or “Bon Dance”, a time in which ancestors and their sacrifices are remembered and appreciated.

 

What, we are doing:

You might see the images above and might be a little confused.  You might be asking, aren’t those little boats normally reserved for Hina Matsuri?  Well yes, typically seen during The Doll Festival, or momo-no-sekku (“peach blossom fete”). Ceremonial dolls – often valuable family heirlooms – are displayed in the best room in the house. Such dolls, clothed in ancient formal costumes, are often bought on the birth of a girl, or given by relatives or friends. In some areas, the festival maintains its original theme of exorcism: symbolic dolls are loaded up in boats and sent out to sea, with the prayer that all bad luck, impurities, and evil spirits should be transferred from girls to the dolls which are floating away.

But as the Dalai Lama (yes Tibetan references again) said.  We should not learn about Buddhism to become Buddhists, but to become better at what we already are.  Since the history of Buddhism is filled with examples of how tradition adapts with the local culture, and attachments lead to suffering.  I figured, since my “ancestors” graves aren’t in Japanese tradition and actually spread across the whole country, the best thing I could do was adapt the boats seen during to doll festival to represent the spirits of my ancestors, heading out before me as they have done, into the next incarnation.  To honor their sacrifices that lead to my existence today.

 

“Having recalled that such and such persons, who used to be our relatives and friends, had kindly given this to us or had kindly done this to us, such relatives and friends should perform the rites for the deceased. They should not weep or lament with grief, since to do so would do nothing good for the deceased, who will remain as they are.

The offerings that you have done, that have been well established in the Sangha, will go to benethe deceased for a long time within the range of possibility (in each case). A great merit you have done in performing your duties as their relatives, in worshipping the deceased through this fruitful kind of worship and in strengthening the Bhikkhus in doing so.”

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Happy Vesak Day

This year (2017) Vesak Day falls on May 10th, what is Vesak Day you might ask? 

Vesākha (Pali; Sanskrit: Vaiśākha), also known as Buddha Purnima and Buddha Day, is a holiday observed traditionally by Buddhists on different days in India, Sri Lanka, China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Nepal, Tibet, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia and Myanmar and in other places all over the world. Sometimes informally called “Buddha’s Birthday”, it commemorates the birth, enlightenment (Buddhahood), and death (Parinirvāna) of Gautama Buddha in the Theravada or southern tradition.
The decision to agree to celebrate Vesākha as the Buddha’s birthday was formalized at the first conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists held in Sri Lanka in 1950, although festivals at this time in the Buddhist world are a centuries-old tradition. The resolution that was adopted at the World Conference reads as follows:
That this Conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists, while recording its appreciation of the gracious act of His Majesty, the Maharaja of Nepal in making the full-moon day of Vesak a Public Holiday in Nepal, earnestly requests the Heads of Governments of all countries in which large or small number of Buddhists are to be found, to take steps to make the full-moon day in the month of May a Public Holiday in honour of the Buddha, who is universally acclaimed as one of the greatest benefactors of Humanity.
On Vesākha Day, Buddhists all over the world commemorate events of significance to Buddhists of all traditions: The birth, enlightenment and the passing away of Gautama Buddha. As Buddhism spread from India it was assimilated into many foreign cultures, and consequently Vesākha is celebrated in many different ways all over the world. In India, Vaishakh Purnima day is also known as Buddha Jayanti day and has been traditionally accepted as Buddha’s birth day.
In 1999, the United Nations resolved to internationally observe the day of Vesak at its headquarters and offices.
The name of the observance is derived from the Pali term vesākha or Sanskrit vaiśākha, which is the name of the lunar month in the Hindu calendar falling in April–May (see Vaisakha). In Mahayana Buddhist traditions, the holiday is known by its Sanskrit name (Vaiśākha) and derived variants of it. Local renditions of the name vary by language, including:
Assamese: বুদ্ধ পূর্ণিমা Buddho PurnimaBengali: বুদ্ধ পূর্ণিমা Buddho Purnima, বুদ্ধ জয়ন্তী Buddho Joyonti, ভেসাক BhesakDzongkha: སྟོན་པའི་དུས་ཆེན་༥ འཛོམས་ Dhüchen Nga ZomBurmese: ကဆုန်လပြည့် ဗုဒ္ဓနေ့ “Full Moon Day”Chinese: 佛陀誕辰紀念日; pinyin: Fótuó dànchén jìniàn rì, 佛誕 (Fódàn, Birthday of the Buddha), 浴佛節 (Yùfójié, Occasion of Bathing the Buddha), 衛塞節 (Wèisāi jié)Hindi: बुद्ध पूर्णिमा Buddha Pūrṇimā, बुद्ध जयन्ती Buddha Jayantī, वैशाख पूर्णिमा Vaisākh PūrṇimāIndonesian: Hari Raya WaisakJapanese: 花祭 Hanamatsuri (Day of Flowers)Khmer: វិសាខបូជា Visak BocheaKannada: ಬುದ್ಧ ಪೌರ್ಣಮಿ Buddha PournamiHangul: 석가 탄신일; Hanja: 釋迦誕辰日; RR: Seokka Tanshin-il (Birthday of the Shakyamuni Buddha)Lao: ວິສາຂະບູຊາ Vixakha BouxaMalay: Hari Wesak (هاري ويسق)Mongolian: Бурхан Багшийн Их Дүйцэн Өдөр (Lord Buddha’s Great Festival Day)Newar: स्वांया पुन्हि Swānyā PunhiNepali: बुद्ध पुर्णिमा Buddha Purnima, बुद्ध जयन्ति Buddha JayantiSinhalese: වෙසක් VesakTamil: விசாக தினம் Vicāka TiṉamTelugu: బుద్ధ పౌర్ణమి Buddha Pournami or alternatively Telugu: వైశాఖ పౌర్ణమి Vaisakha PournamiThai: วิสาขบูชา Wisakha BuchaTibetan: ས་ག་ཟླ་བ།, THL: Sa Ga DawaVietnamese: Phật Đản (Birthday of the Buddha)
On Vesākha day, devout Buddhists and followers alike are expected and requested to assemble in their various temples before dawn for the ceremonial, and honorable, hoisting of the Buddhist flag and the singing of hymns in praise of the holy triple gem: The Buddha, The Dharma (his teachings), and The Sangha (his disciples). Devotees may bring simple offerings of flowers, candles and joss-sticks to lay at the feet of their teacher. These symbolic offerings are to remind followers that just as the beautiful flowers would wither away after a short while and the candles and joss-sticks would soon burn out, so too is life subject to decay and destruction. Devotees are enjoined to make a special effort to refrain from killing of any kind. They are encouraged to partake of vegetarian food for the day. In some countries, notably Sri Lanka, two days are set aside for the celebration of Vesākha and all liquor shops and slaughter houses are closed by government decree during the two days.
Also birds, insects and animals are released by the thousands in what is known as a ‘symbolic act of liberation’; of giving freedom to those who are in captivity, imprisoned, or tortured against their will. (This practice, however, is banned in some countries such as Singapore, as it is believed that the released animals are unable to survive long-term, and may adversely impact the local ecosystem if they do.)
Some devout Buddhists will wear a simple white dress and spend the whole day in temples with renewed determination to observe the eight Precepts.
Devout Buddhists undertake to lead a noble life according to the teaching by making daily affirmations to observe the Five Precepts. However, on special days, notably new moon and full moon days, they observe the eight Precepts to train themselves to practice morality, simplicity and humility.
Some temples also display a small statue of the Buddha in front of the altar in a small basin filled with water and decorated with flowers, allowing devotees to pour water over the statue; it is symbolic of the cleansing of a practitioner’s bad karma, and to reenact the events following the Buddha’s birth, when devas and spirits made heavenly offerings to him.
Devotees are expected to listen to talks given by monks. On this day monks will recite verses uttered by the Buddha twenty-five centuries ago, to invoke peace and happiness for the government and the people. Buddhists are reminded to live in harmony with people of other faiths and to respect the beliefs of other people as the Buddha taught.
Tradition ascribes to the Buddha himself instruction on how to pay him homage. Just before he died, he saw his faithful attendant Ananda, weeping. The Buddha advised him not to weep, but to understand the universal law that all compounded things (including even his own body) must disintegrate. He advised everyone not to cry over the disintegration of the physical body but to regard his teachings (The Dhamma) as their teacher from then on, because only the Dhamma truth is eternal and not subject to the law of change. He also stressed that the way to pay homage to him was not merely by offering flowers, incense, and lights, but by truly and sincerely striving to follow his teachings. This is how Buddhists are expected to celebrate Vesak: to use the opportunity to reiterate their determination to lead noble lives, to develop their minds, to practise loving-kindness and to bring peace and harmony to humanity.


What is Bodhi Day


Bodhi Day is the Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day that the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama (Shakyamuni), experienced enlightenment, also known as bodhi in Sanskrit and Pali. According to tradition, Siddhartha had recently forsaken years of extreme ascetic practices and resolved to sit under a peepal tree and simply meditate until he found the root of suffering, and how to liberate oneself from it.

Traditions vary on what happened. Some say Siddhartha made a great vow to Nirvana and Earth to find the root of suffering, or die trying. In other traditions, while meditating he was harassed and tempted by the god Mara (literally, “Destroyer” in Sanskrit), the demon of illusion. Other traditions simply state that he entered deeper and deeper states of meditation, confronting the nature of the self.

In the Pali Canon, there are several discourses said to be by Buddha himself, relating to this story. In The Longer Discourse to Saccaka (MN 36), the Buddha describes his Enlightenment in three stages:

During the first watch of the night, the Buddha discovered all of his past lives in the cycle of rebirth, realizing that he had been born and reborn countless times before.
During the second watch, the Buddha discovered the Law of Karma, and the importance of living by the Eightfold Path.
During the third watch, the Buddha discovered the Four Noble Truths, finally reaching Nirvana.
In his words:

“ My heart, thus knowing, thus seeing, was released from the fermentation of sensuality, released from the fermentation of becoming, released from the fermentation of ignorance. With release, there was the knowledge, ‘Released.’ I discerned that ‘Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.’”

All traditions agree that as the morning star rose in the sky in the early morning, the third watch of the night, Siddhartha finally found the answers he sought and became Enlightened, and experienced Nirvana. Having done so, Siddhartha now became a Buddha or “Awakened One”.

Bodhi Day is observed in many mainstream Mahayana traditions including the traditional Zen and Pureland Buddhist schools of China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. In Japanese Zen, it is also known as Rohatsu. In Tendai and other Japanese sects, it is called either Shaka-Jōdō-e (釈迦成道会?) or simply Jōdō-e (成道会?).

Services and traditions vary amongst Buddhist sects, but all such services commemorate the Buddha’s achievement of Nirvana, and what this means for Buddhism today. Individuals may choose to commemorate the event through additional meditation, the study of the Dharma, chanting of Buddhist texts (sutras) or performing kind acts towards other beings. Some Buddhists celebrate with a traditional meal of tea, cake, and readings.

Rohatsu :

The word Rōhatsu (臘八) is Japanese and literally, means 8th Day of the 12th Month. It is typical for Zen monks and layman followers to stay up the entire night before Rohatsu practicing meditation, and the holiday is often preceded by an intensive sesshin. It is observed on the Gregorian date of December 8 as a result of the Westernization of Japan during the Meiji Restoration (1862–1869).


We vs Me

​We vs Me is an illusion there is no separation. When you work on the greater “we” you are helping your “me” identity. When you work on the “me” it in turn will benefit the greater “we”. It only takes a willingness of effort. 

In the Tibetan language the word I or Me is una and we or us is unatsau, the root of we is in fact me, there is an intimate connection. In Tibetan unatsau would directly translate to many or a collection of  “I’s”.

When you join a group or community it is an extention of the individual not a replacement. The idea that the me can only exist in opposition of the we is in itself an illusion and a root of suffering.  Believing that the individual self is separate diminishes the spirit of altruism that fosters the compassionate soul leading to true and lasting happiness. 


Never Forget!

teardropsFirstly before I get into today’s post I want to you the reader to know that what I am about to say, although it may ruffle feathers or raise some hackles, this posting comes from a place of love, understanding and compassion towards all life.

Now the topic:

9-11 was tragic indeed! It is important however not to buy into the ‘kool-aid’ certain political groups use to try and fuel the anti-Muslim hatred. 9-11 was done by Muslim terrorists not by Muslims.

A Terrorist
noun
1.the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.
2.the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.
3.a terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government.

See how the definition does not bring up a particular faith. It is important to keep in mind that a Terrorist can be of ANY FAITH, yes even CHRISTIAN!

On Wednesday June 8th 2016 Target store in Evanston, Ill.,
The station reports that police are not ruling out the possibility that Wednesday’s attack is somehow connected to the backlash the big-box retailer has faced since affirming in April that transgender customers and employees nationwide can use the store bathroom and changing room that corresponds with their gender identity.

The bombing took place on the same day Target shareholders gathered for their annual meeting, where the company’s trans-affirmative policies were expected to be discussed.

Gary Matson and Winfield Mowder, a gay couple, were murdered on July 1, 1999, by white supremacist brothers Matthew and Tyler Williams in Redding, California. Tyler Williams was sentenced to a minimum of 33 years in prison, to be served after his completion of a 21-year sentence for firebombing synagogues and an abortion clinic. Benjamin Williams claimed that by killing the couple he was “obeying the laws of the Creator”. He committed suicide in 2003 while awaiting trial. Their former pastor described the brothers as “zealous in their faith” but “far from kooks”

These are just two of many many many examples of terrorism committed by white Christian ultra conservatives against American citizens. Terrorism is a world wide epidemic, it is not limited to one faith but it is limited to assholes!

But besides Pearl Harbor, 9-11 is the only attack on US soil conducted by a foreign interest group or government, is what you might hear. Well obviously someone has forgotten the war of 1812!

The Burning of Washington in 1814 was an attack during the War of 1812 between British forces and those of the United States of America. On August 24, 1814, after defeating the Americans at the Battle of Bladensburg, a British force led by Major General Robert Ross occupied Washington, D.C., and set fire to many public buildings, including the White House (known as the Presidential Mansion at the time), and the Capitol, as well as other facilities of the U.S. government.

Where is our War of 1812 day? where is the annual constant reminder to fuel our hatred of Canadians and British? No where, because its not the corporate propaganda to line the pockets of the rich and corrupt.

Please remember all lives lost and remember the true enemy, Avarice, Bigotry, Racism, Hate, Greed, Sexism, and Sexualism! #NeverForget #911 #TheRealEnemy


Cause and Effect

imagesKarma, when it comes down to it, is basically the simple process of cause and effect.  Our suffering for the effect is a result of our attachments.  We must not become blinded by what we have lost so much so that we forget what we still have.  Sometimes our suffering leads to more bad Karma based on how we chose to react to said effects.  Some times too we have to deal with OPK (Other People’s Karma), but we suffer less when we are prepared to lose everything, lesser still when we have little to begin with.


Dogma?

dogmaticRecently I came across a political thread in which there were many of one group of political activists putting down another group of political activists by claiming that their views are dogmatic and only based on the faith.  I wont go into which groups but I pointed out something that seemed to quiet the discussion further.  Views are only dogmatic when they belong to the other person. I was surprised when that worked because honestly its a variation on the Yogic Yama of Satya or truthfulness that I have stated here several times.  Truth is always subjective.  However wording it in this manner seemed to get the point across in a language they were accustomed to.  But what is Dogma?

Dogma is a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true. It serves as part of the primary basis of an ideology or belief system, and it cannot be changed or discarded without affecting the very system’s paradigm, or the ideology itself. The term can refer to acceptable opinions of philosophers or philosophical schools, public decrees, religion, or issued decisions of political authorities.

The term derives from Greek δόγμα “that which seems to one; opinion or belief” and that from δοκέω (dokeo), “to think, to suppose, to imagine”. In the first century CE, dogma came to signify laws or ordinances adjudged and imposed upon others.The plural is either dogmas or dogmata, from Greek δόγματα. The term “dogmatics” is used as a synonym for systematic theology, as in Karl Barth’s defining textbook of neo-orthodoxy, the 14-volume Church Dogmatics.

“Every religion is true one way or another. It is true when understood metaphorically. But when it gets stuck in its own metaphors, interpreting them as facts, then you are in trouble.”
― Joseph Campbell

 

Remember, seek not what divides us this year, instead find what it is that unites us.  We are all individuals who are interdependent on one another and we need each other.  From an American political point of view;  We need Conservatives to remind us not to give away the store, and we need Liberals to remind us not to throw out the baby with the bathwater.  Compassion is key!

A final note: Science is not a religion. Science is the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.  There is always data from the experiments to back it up, however when you cherry pick your data you can interpet things to be however you want and people often find it easy to manipulate with this pseudo-science.  Take EVERYTHING with a grain of salt.


The Year of Change

16_origThis year has turned out to be the year that everything changes, for everyone I suppose.  Elections and what not here in the United States.  For me however there have been plenty of personal life changes.  For those of you who don’t know I am a disabled Veteran of the United States Army.  That’s right this peace loving hippie was once a soldier *chuckles*.

This year is the year my claim with the VA was finally approved.  Financial situations changed and now I am looking at buying my first house.  As things are pending I find that its a perfect time to let go of material possessions that no longer serve me.  Let go of earthy attachments.  The important lesson I have learned is, as my grandfather would put it, “the sun shines on a dog’s ass once in awhile!”.
According to the teachings of the Buddha, life is comparable to a river. It is a progressive moment, a successive series of different moments, joining together to give the impression of one continuous flow. It moves from cause to cause, effect to effect, one point to another, one state of existence to another, giving an outward impression that it is one continuous and unified movement, where as in reality it is not. The river of yesterday is not the same as the river of today. The river of this moment is not going to be the same as the river of the next moment. So does life. It changes continuously, becomes something or the other from moment to moment.

Even from a scientific point of view this is true. We know cell divisions take place in each living being continuously. Old cells in our bodies die and yield place continuously to the new ones that are forming. Like the waves in a sea, every moment, many thoughts arise and die in each individual . Psychologically and physically he is never the same all the time. Technically speaking, no individual is ever composed of the same amount of energy. Mental stuff and cellular material all the time. He is subject to change and the change is a continuous movement.

So when you find yourself dealing with issues that arise, take comfort in knowing that in this existence, the only thing that is constant is that everything changes at its own pace and in its own time.

Namaste


An Update to Ujjayi Breath

pranayama2I originally had meant to post this weeks ago when I first recieved it from my Yogini, but life events came up and pushed posting this quite a bit.  It was when I was watching, or re watching(again), the show Chuck on Netflix when I came across an episode where Morgan defeated a laser grid using his Yogi skills and Ujjayi breath that I remembered to post!

So to you my readers I give you from my personal Yogini, Ujjayi Pranyama for beginner’s!

Ujjayi: Ud-jaya-ii
Simply put, Ud, when attached to verbs and nouns means upward or superiority in rank, it also means expanding, conveying the sense of pre-emenence and power. Jaya means conquest, victory, triumph or success. Ujjayi is the process in which the lungs are fully expanded and the chest puffed out like a proud conqueror.

Pranayama: Prana-yam
Prana means life-force or personal energy. Yama means distribution of that force or energy.
Prana is the basis of everything. It can be consciously directed to heal and strengthen the body. The breath becomes the Yogi’s key to health, strength, and vitality. Without breath there is no life. This is why, in English, we translate this Sanskrit Ujjayi Pranayama to “Victorious breath”.

We also sometimes hear this victorious breath referred to as “Ocean breath”. As the waves form the beach, so too does the breath form the Yoga practice. Your inner waves set the rhythm. The murmuring of your breath becomes the murmuring of your inner ocean while waves of inhalation flood your inner coast. The rhythmic sound of Ujjayi Pranayama might sound like waves rolling into the shore, which can be wonderful imagery during your practice!

While I joke around about Ujjayi being Darth Vader breath, in fact, it is not at all. Darth Vader wore a life support system that had a respirator and a microphone. We certainly aren’t trying to achieve that! However, the muscles we use in our throat during Ujjayi Pranayama are the same ones we use when practicing our best “Luke, I am your father”. So go ahead and practice that for a moment, and let’s get to it.

  1. 1. Sitting in a comfortable position, preferably Padmasana (lotus pose) or Siddhasana (easy seated pose), keep the back erect and rigid, spine tall and strong. Stretch the arms out in front of you, then relax the back of the wrists onto your knees. Here you can perform Jnana Mudra (seal of knowledge) by gently resting the thumb to the index finger. However, this is not necessary to practice Ujjayi.
  2. 2. Close your eyes and look inward.
  3. 3. Exhale completely.
  4. 4. Take the palm of one hand up to your mouth.  Imagine your hand is a mirror and that you are going to “fog” up with your breath with your mouth open.  When you do this it produces a clean “hollow” sound kind of like “haaaaaaaaaaa” (think Darth Vader).  It feels warm against your skin.

The tricky part is making the same sound on the inhale.  You can hold up a hand in front of your mouth and another at the back of your neck—two mirrors.  Try to fog them both up—the exhale fogs up the front mirror, the inhale the back.

Once you are adept at fogging up the “mirrors”, create the same sound and sensation—by breathing through your nose only.

Breathe in a balanced manner in through the nose and out through the nose.  The inhale and exhale are equal and the quality of sound is even.

Breathing in this way causes a slight constriction of the throat.  The glottis partially closes just like when you whisper speech.  As the air goes in and out it causes a slight “rubbing” sensation of the throat.

Now that you have the feel for the Ujjayi sound, it’s important to add diaphragmatic breathing.

Exhale completely by drawing your abdomen towards your spine.  Inhale by gently releasing the abdomen.  As it goes out it will automatically draw air in.  Start the breath (inhale) as low as you can—the pelvic floor, and fill your entire torso full.  The exhale empties the breath from the top down.

Now add chest breathing.
As you inhale, try to fill your chest.  Notice how all four sides of your torso expand in opposite directions.  You can feel this if you place your hands on the sides of your ribs.  As you exhale the air from the chest, all four sides draw in.

Put the two together.

Exhale by drawing in your abdomen towards your spine.  Inhale by releasing your abdomen.  Air comes in.  Begin the Ujjayi at this time.  Direct the air towards your sternum, as this will expand your chest.  As you continue to inhale fill the air all the way to the top of the chest and notice how it widens.

Exhale by relaxing and drawing the abdomen in.  Breathe the air out slowly and rhythmically finishing the Ujjayi breath.

It is important the abdominals are relaxed and soft above your bellybutton, yet firm (not hard) below it.  This allows your diaphragm to move freely.

The breath is never forced or done using strain.  Both are a sign that you are “pushing” too hard and are moving from a place of ego instead of taking care of yourself.

Work to reduce the amount of effort the Ujjayi takes.  It is a strong, deep breath done in a relaxed, even delicate manner.

Begin with practicing 10 victorious breaths in the morning and night. Increase as you become more comfortable with this style of breathing.

The Upanishads (sacred ancient teachings Yoga derives from) specify that the inhalation should be like drinking water through the stem of a blue water lily—unbroken as though you were drinking through a straw—as if your breath were liquid.  The exhalation is compared to the flow of oil—smooth and uniform as when you poor oil from a ladle.
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika says the breath is felt “from the throat to the heart.”

Ujjayi can be a specific practice but it happens spontaneously when concentration deepens. This is the only pranyama technique that is appropriate to use throughout all area of you yoga practice.

As you become very well rehearsed, to an advanced practitioner of Ujjayi Pranyama, you can begin adding other pranayma techniques as well. Until then, may the force be with you!


Bodhi Day 2015

Once again it is Bodhi day! What is Bodhi Day you might ask? Bodhi Day is the Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day that the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautauma (Shakyamuni), experienced enlightenment, also known as bodhi in Sanskrit and Pali. According to tradition, Siddhartha had recently forsaken years of extreme ascetic practices and resolved to sit under a peepal tree and simply meditate until he found the root of suffering, and how to liberate oneself from it.

I know it has been a while since I have posted but I wanted to wish all my friends, brothers, sisters and all sentient beings alike a compassionate Bodhi day!

May all beings have happiness and the cause of happiness. May they be free of suffering and the cause of suffering. May they never be disassociated from the supreme happiness which is without suffering. May they remain in the boundless equanimity, free from both attachment to close ones and rejection of others.

Namaste!