Nurturing our Yoga Teachers – Remembering the Seeds of Samadhi



Balance is what happens when you know in your heart something is right

 

I had a very clear vision of a network . . . and it wasn’t a social network. This vision brought a deep inner relaxation. What was coming to me was, that Yoga Teachers today might start to do what we are here for – to bring a rest and reprieve for our students from the stresses and strains of our modern world.

We are a Tribe.

We have different psychological crises than we did 2,000 – 6,000 years ago. We have different needs of our inner world, to balance our emotions so that we can handle our environment – which means “Balance” . . . our needs for balance are different today from when yoga was codified, or structured, or put into “paths” and systematised by “lineages” by the yoga masters of the past.

My heart was telling me something was not right – and, truth be told, it has been telling me this for quite some time.

My heart is usually right.

A couple of things were troubling me: media is about images and content. Yoga is full of images and content – but that is the surface, as we know. The surface illusion of “Yoga” has taken over, it suits the media . . . and to an extent it has suited us as teachers for a while: coverage of world yoga day recently was vast.

In one way that was heartlifting and positive, and yet . . . ?

The other thing that has been troubling me, for quite some time, is the need to meet the expectations of this vast image of yoga by fitting in: we fit in with community activities, we fit in with expectations of our “image” – we blog for free, we dilute our classes to suit lifestyles: both our students’ and our own. We have to pay big hire fees for our practice spaces, and we can’t always control the noise/light/heat/cold of the environment. Classes are only viable in certain social times: we accommodate by reducing the amount of time spent in pranayama to 5 minutes in an hour and a half class – and the cost has been . . . ?

The cost has been, I consider, to our compassion and our wisdom as teachers.

But mainly at a cost to our authority.

The cost has also been in diluting the yoga teachers experience in nurturing and compassion . . . because what has happened is that in the end, what is a “mind-body-spirit” path to inner life and freedom has become body-oriented with some mind-practice and the spirit has been paid lip-service to. Because most of our yoga teachers today do not spend time and practice in meditation – a reversal has taken place since my time of training when meditation was the primary focus, with philosophy and yogasanas making up our 8-steps to Samadhi.

And the Divine is our source.

But the real cost, as I have been seeing it for a good while now, is that we have surrendered our role of nurturers of the mind to a global industry in “Mindfulness” – and mindfulness does not accept the universal law of three (which is one of the abiding laws of karma) that there will always be polarities between negative and positive, “right and wrong”, “good and bad”, weak and strong – yet we grow spiritually through these because we recognise that the Divine is the source of vitality in our life: Mindfulness has become the new psychotherapy, attempting to cure imbalance with imbalance: a prescription.

Our yoga teachers need nurturing and developing, in our tradition of training the mind to train the soul . . . which is our purpose for being. Remembering the Seeds of our Samadhi is so important for us – and nurturing and growing these seeds.

If we don’t, as teachers: how do we do this for the world?

How else could we reach into our own hearts for balance, and know it is right to do this for our world?

Namaste

Susan Ni Rahilly, at the age of 63, is considered as a Master in India writing on Yoga and Meditation for Times of India, contributing as a Master to their global online community. Susan’s training and experience has been in Raja Yoga, Hatha Yoga, both Iyengar and Satyananda style, and Zen. She works with deep inner listening in breathwork in practice, and trains teachers.

A Return to Innocence

We are continually in communication with Divinity, and Bindu Chakra, the energetic centre and psychic gateway at the back of the head is where we experience the amber nectar of immortality . . . the sweet nectar of the gods: we awaken and activate this center in our Yogic meditation practices, which essentially are a return to innocence.

Our Perfect Innocence

And of course whenever we express this kind of concept, from the cosmology and mythology of Yoga, we are talking about projecting outwards our own inner god-like qualities. Bindu Chakra represents a point in our inner cosmos, integral to our attitude to life and our relationship to the world and our environment . . . remembering our perfect innocence.

Hatha Yoga teachers would not normally teach this, as Bindu Chakra is not in their “books”. These practices come from deeper and older practices originating in the path of Tantra . . . practices which respect the experience of the vibration of the Divine within the human bodymind. So if you’re used to Hatha Yoga teaching, and you’re concerned about the way you look and how you move, these practices will be very different for you.

Reclaiming Spiritual Heritage

Right now in our evolution, some of us are reclaiming our spiritual heritage: what it involves is change, badly needed change for our world and planet. And the way we can make the necessary space for change to happen is of course to let go, to adapt, to learn and work with a process to make this happen. When we speak of process, with Yoga, we speak of practice.

So, Bindu Chakra practices. What happens with this practice, this process? We re-set our buttons . . . wash our emotions . . . straighten out our heads . . . connect with our soul . . . ancient energies and ways.

You give yourself time and space to do this: to find parts of yourself, to put yourself together into the whole. This is time and space to talk to a purer part of yourself . . . it’s a return to innocence.

The Yoga “Tribe”

As you know I’m teaching you “further than yoga”, to accelerate your spiritual vision for those of you who want to walk the Divine path through practice. And if you are drawn to Yoga, the whole of Yoga, going back to ancient teachings to go beyond in your life, then you are one of the “Yoga Tribe” in my opinion.

We are the mediators, we are the sensitive souls reawakened in the West with consciousness hidden in our memories, here at a time when the world needs us for our power to balance.

Reclaiming Power

Many of us have been suffering from erosion of Spirit for years now, stopping this erosion means reclaiming power – this power in Yoga we call Yoga Shakti. I ask you to ask yourself some questions about adapting to the changes we need to make right now in our evolution to contribute towards re-balancing power:

So, let in some light and ask yourself: where in my life do I see the need for change? And how can I let go of those things that I thought were so important, so that I can affect the change I need?

The practices I teach for awakening of Bindu Chakra are mainly on focussed concentration, and you can practice at your own pace in Class 25 of my Weekly Youtube Classes.

Namaste,  Susan

Facebook: SuZen @susannirahilly

Twitter: @furtherthanyoga

The Inner Sacred Sanctuary

Visionary Ruin

INNER SACRED SANCTUARY

Namaste and welcome,  I’ve been teaching this Inner Sanctuary Meditation for well over 20 years now, and I used to use this in a therapeutic way for healing with the deeply healing techniques of yoga meditation with individuals, and I know it’s power.

This is a long meditation, about 40 minutes,  which is a visualisation in the yogic way, and the power of visualisation is that your meditation will change as you progress and change. The change of course is in your inner world. I’ve included this meditation in my teaching, free Youtube classes, as an important part of your development and growth on the Yoga Path.

I’m teaching this in Class 24 of my classes for its power to take you to a place where you can bring an order and method to your inner world to attain balance and inner peace. Ultimately to take you to the inner silence, in the stillness, that we need to “go to temple” . . . I do explain that in more detail in the introduction to the meditation, we mean the “temple in man”.

And when we talk about energy . . . life force, vital energy or prana . . . remember we are also talking about the energy within the body . . . the power of nature, livingness . . . known as shakti, goddess, kundalini, divine feminine or mother energy . . . the force of creation.

I’ll remind you of what we know about earth energy . . . remember Einstein and that it’s not only gravity holding matter down on this planet, but a force which is upwards from the planet . . . earth energy, electromagnetic energy, telluric forces as Steiner named them:  of course in our system of yogic belief and understanding we know this is Prana within the earth, our planet, which is moved by the cosmic breath . . . the Mother of the Breath.

My job is simply to show you the way to practice in your daily life, with simplicity of Divinity: there’s no big training for our classes on my Youtube channel, but you can review the classes on my channel for technique and practice which will help with focus and concentration, breath awareness and more, for meditation in the yogic tradition . . .

. . . enjoy your practice, Namaste,
Susan

 

Essence of Yoga Meditation website is here

Twitter : @suzenyoga @furtherthanyoga

Facebook: SuZen

The 5 Wisdoms of Preparation for Practice

Practice, whether it’s yogasanas, meditation or simply sitting quietly breathing, is how we show our Soul that we are sincere and persistent about our intentions. Intention for practice is where the power lies for transformation, so that’s personal growth, health, self discovery, potential.

It’ll soon be spring in the non-Eastern world, our energies pick up, and many of you will have intentions of introducing some form of regular practice into your life. Home practice is a wonderful way of supporting and re-affirming whatever you do in classes. So welcome to this guide on the wisdoms of preparation for practice, which answers some frequently asked questions, and in particular includes guidance for making your own sanctuary space.

But first, a little more about intention: intention is what brings about physical, mental, emotional and spiritual change in our lives as we re-align ourselves with our Soul and it’s eternal journey, the Supreme Soul and Consciousness. The free flow of Consciousness through every level of our being is what brings health, harmony and joy into our lives.

There are 5 Wisdoms of Preparation for Practice

First Wisdom:

Preparation is a fundamental part of any process or ritual. It signifies to your minbody/spirit that you have commenced and are sincere about your process and practice. So we prepare our environment.

Second Wisdom:

Dedication and intention are the essence of profound healing through practice.

When we make a space dedicated with the intention of growing and evolving spiritually, we make a Sanctuary – a sacred place, a Temple if you like in your inner and outer worlds. The actual size of the space is totally unimportant as long as it is adequate for your practice.

Third Wisdom:

Inner peace is the path to personal empowerment. The Temple in your inner world requires quietness in your outer world – and, needless to say, you don’t want to be disturbed in your Temple.

Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Obviously you don’t want to be disturbed by noise or interruptions whilst in your practice.

Fourth Wisdom:

Energy comes from energy. This is a Universal and spiritual law: that energy doesn’t come from nothing, but it transforms from one state or quality into another – which is the basis for profound healing transformations in our mindbody, and life.

Whatever size of space you have available, it’s really surprising how quickly a calming, peaceful environment can build up in the spot you have chosen. When you enter your space, it’s a sort of energy that builds up – very similar to the energy you feel when you enter a sacred place of holy worship. The atmosphere of your Sanctuary Space will reflect the energy you produce by your meditation and yogasanas. This energy will build up and eventually anybody who is sensitive enough would walk into the room or the space and feel this washing over them like waves of peace and comfort.

Fifth Wisdom:

The mindbody needs to be a comfortable place for the Spirit to dwell. Caring for and nourishing our spiritual body requires care and nourishment of our basic subtle bodies – in Yoga we have 5 subtle bodies: the flesh, the lower mind/emotions, body of the breath, higher wisdom-mind or intellect and intuition, and the Cosmic or bliss body.

So soft lighting is preferable, it provides a peaceful ambience. Candle-light is the best form of lighting for an otherwise darkened room.

Make sure that, especially during meditation, you feel yourself to be in a warm and moderate temperature. Whatever you do choose to wear should be loose fitting. We don’t usually wear shoes while meditating – we usually use our yoga blankets for our meditation or you might like to choose a blanket which you are going to use just solely for your meditation practice.

And finally, of course, be sensible with your diet – incorporating as many fresh fruits, vegetables and carbohydrates but not sugar. If you need to drink then have your water with you, or juice. In our practice of Yoga we believe as the Yogies taught us, that fresh foods with the highest content of life force energy are the most suitable for the Yoga practitioner because in our Saddhana, our practice, we are continually in the process of refining our energy and vibrations as we aspire to live at the level of the Soul

Enjoy your practice, I hope this guide has helped you . . .

Namaste, Susan

Susan Ni Rahilly is founder and guide at suZenYoga: spirituality, understanding, zen, energy and nutrition thro dedication to Yoga practice. The SuZen Ashram site is the home for Susan’s online teaching and practices.

 

17 Ways to Find Balance for 2017

I publish my list in January every year, and have done since 2012! This is the list of ways for 2017:

Balance in your life, as far as I know it as a teacher, comes with the steps to life-freedom, which is the philosophy of Yoga, together with practice, and values for your life . . . but, there have been so many wise teachers, with much wisdom to share with us and many of us are seeking balance in our lives. It’s an approach to living that can go a long way in a year.

For 2017 I wanted to write about a lasting approach to getting balance. I couldn’t get to interview the people I would have liked to for this article, and so this is a roundup of what I think they would have answered to my question “How do you get Balance?” based on their famous quotations.

1. Your Meditation is your medication … once it has worked for you, you throw away the medication, throw away the Meditation and get a new one. Osho.

2. If you can’t let it go, let it in. Dainin Katagiri

3. You can’t get there from here, and besides there is no place to go. Sheldon Kopp

4. Nothing is missing, Zen Master Lin-Chi ….. the ordinary person probably does already live with zen values.

5. Appreciate happiness: happiness seems like such a small thing when you have it, but when it’s gone you realise how big it really is. Gorky

6. I have only 3 things to teach: simplicity, patience and compassion. Lao Tzu 7th Century Zen master

7. Know Joy, as in … May all beings know joy … (from the 4 Noble Truths of Zen)

8. Anywhere you are is a sacred place. Joseph Campbell

9. Learn to forgive yourself, again, and again, and again . . . (I couldn’t resist getting another wisdom in from Sheldon Kopp’s Laundry List)

10. Religion is not realisation; not talk, nor doctrine, not theories, however beautiful they may be. It is being and becoming, not hearing or acknowledging; it is the whole soul becoming changed into what it believes, into knowledge. That is religion. Swami Vivekananda

11. Spend some time alone every day. (from the Dalai Lama’s 18 Rules To Live By)

12. This is from Astrologer Rob Brezny:  Cultivate mental and emotional states that ripen us to be ready for anything:  form a strategy to avoid being enthralled with the hypnotic lure of painful emotions, past events, and worries about the future;

13. Don’t forget to break the rules ….. Dalai Lama, Sheldon Kopp, Zen, suZen

14. All teachers make a contribution to Yoga. My contribution is Gibberish – every day talk meaningless Gibberish for a few minutes to clear the mundane mind. Swami Vivekananda

15. Balance is what happens when you know in your heart something is right …. from suZen.

16. Be in awe of the mystery . . . this quote from a man to whom harmony in the Universe was of prime importance, something Albert Einstein said with great beauty and lucidity:

“The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mystical. It is the sower of all true art and science. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself with the highest wisdom and most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms – this knowledge, this feeling is at the centre of true religiousness and art.”

17. All is Well. The ultimate life-lesson of Bhagavad Gita, Krishna to Arjuna.

Namaste, Susan

The Language of The Heart

Sacred Heart

Language of the Heart Youtube Meditation Class

The heart has its own language, it’s a silent language of devotion, compassion, kindness and trust. In our Yoga practice we have many, many practices to work with this energy center, the space of the heart, and so I usually teach these over a few classes or workshops.

Our yogic practices help us in opening to our spiritual vision through the silent language of the heart . . . and through dedication to our yoga practice we open, activate and accelerate our spiritual vision so we can work with the divine in our lives. So essentially what this means is learning to recognise our signs, symbols and messages from the Universe about existence flowing through our lives. Most of these are silent, non-verbal communications from the divine and the divine mother . . . then through dedication to our practice we turn intuitions, feelings, fleeting inspirations into enduring behaviour supported by values and meaning.

This is what we are doing right now in our evolution, bringing all the wisdom from our ancient practice together so that we can aspire to the highest creative values for the future.

The language of the heart is silent . . . we call it the “unstruck sound” in the Heart Chakra. And the essence of all that is, is in the heart centre . . . the essence of Divinity within you. So, you are what you ARE not what you do.

In Yoga we know what we are made of, through experience of the koshas, our subtle bodies, which surround the germ of the Self . . . and we say “I AM THAT I AM . . .” in silence and self-awareness for clearer, deeper self-knowledge.

I usually start my teaching by introducing the meditator to the inner relaxation process, so we can start on inner listening. We have heart chakra meditation practice with the hridaya heart hand mudra to subtly and powerfully direct Prana to the space of the heart . . . and bringing together pranayama and breath awareness in the So Ham meditation which means “I AM THAT, THAT I AM . . “

When the Heart Chakra is opened and activated, communicating in its silent language in your inner world of the self, then we understand how it “talks” to our other Chakras especially Guru Chakra, the center of our Wisdom.

namaste, enjoy, Susan

From my heart to yours: a free-to-download audio of Susan reading the Love Poems of Pablo Neruda and Rumi. Enjoy

Accelerating Spiritual Vision with the Guru Wisdom Within

Youtube Video Satsang is here

 

An essential part of accelerating our Spiritual Vision through our practice with Yoga, is the deep understanding that we are balancing the power of nature – the Divine Feminine energy within us, or Shakti – with the power of love, through opening and nurturing the heart centre or space in the heart, Hridayakasha, with the life power of wisdom . . . and our practices involve inner culturing and growth . . .

Wisdom IS . .  . it has often been called “thusness” or “suchness” . . . it is energy and it is a power, a life energy within us.

You are already a very wise person on the inside. Allow the seeds of wisdom within you to blossom, grow and strengthen in your Yoga practice. You can experience more of your own wisdom as you experience proving your own knowledge to yourself in your life – and also expanding and growing in your development with Yoga.

As you uncover more and more of your own Wisdom Energy, the Guru Within awakens and your inner confidence in your own innate abilities for inner guidance develops.

The term “Guru Within” comes from the quality of Ajna Chakra or the “Guru” Chakra, the forehead or eyebrow center, one of our psychic gateways to consciousness. We embody Guru quality, or Wisdom within.

In Yoga we have this beautiful concept for growth: and it’s that of cultivating ourselves like a garden; Yogic Gardening or cultivating our senses, qualities and emotions. So we tend and care for the ground of ourselves, as we ourselves in mindbody emotions and spirit are delicate and as full of potential as seeds . . . and as we blossom and grow in our lives and our practice, co-emergent energies need diligent tending – we make sure to pull out the messiness of the weeds so that the beauty, the light of our flowers can bloom strongly in fullness.

And of course Yoga takes you on such an amazing journey with Meditation – a journey to self-acceptance and peace with self through Balance. This is a journey which is always leading us away from shadows towards the light. Discovery that your own inner wisdom energies have just been waiting to emerge all the while is nothing short of amazing. Discovering opposite poles of light and shadow help you grow and build your inner confidence in the wise person you really are on the inside: the Guru Within.

We have a few practices in Yoga for cultivating our emotions, growing emotionally and uncovering wisdom – connecting with the Guru Within.

Yogic Gardening

As we know, those of us who practice meditation are aware that opening up to divine energies, both the divine and the divine mother, these powers within build and we need to balance . . . physically, energetically and emotionally and spiritually . . . in order to contain such power within our human bodymind systems . . . and as we know the practice of our physical postures was developed to build the strength needed for containment of these forces.

So, Yogic Gardening . . . What a delightful way of describing the practice in Yogasana, whereby we guide the mind into the body and focus on points of tension, the neuromuscular knots that come up into awareness, breathing into them and releasing them with the breath and the mind. In this practice we become more aware of the body’s wisdom and intelligence. With practice we can ask the questions: “Why was I holding that there . . . ?” and “How come I reacted that way to that . . . ?” and very commonly “How long has that been there . . . ?”

Passive Supportive Practice

Being supported by soft props and supports so that we can relax into deep postures is very powerful and releasing. Don’t forget that even the good things in life can cause us conflict, moving on in life often means leaving things behind which does cause us stress and loss.

Examples of this practice would be as I taught you in Class 9 of my Youtube weekly meditation classes a few weeks ago : Supported Forward Bend, sitting in an easy cross leg position, with a pillow across the knees to relax into in the Forward Bend; and Breathing with a Bolster, where we lie down over the bolster, supporting the spine, and just breathe while taking the mind down to the heart space, lower back, abdomen and hips. In this practice we simply allow the body to surrender and let layers of tension be peeled away.

Breath and surrender take us to new places of awareness in our mindbody and emotions. We give ourselves the time and space to peel away layers of accumulated tension with the deep breathing in the practice taking us to the bridge between the unconscious, conscious mind (mundane mind) and consciousness. Teaching us patience, detachment and discernment.

Contemplation, Visualisation and Meditation

Contemplation is a powerful step on the Yoga Path to self-understanding. Taking time for yourself on a regular basis will so enrich your journey towards knowledge of self.

Assume a posture you can relax into: Corpse, easy cross leg, Reclining Buddha; pay attention to your breathing, focus on your grounding and centering with the breath . . . . sit quietly . . . allow yourself to be still.

Reviewing your life on, say, a weekly basis will help you tune into your strengths and weaknesses – obviously with the intention of letting the weaknesses just wither away like weeds.

Visualisation, say for example using colour to identify strengths and weaknesses, helps you grow in self-confidence. You’ll connect with the visual qualities of your mindbody system and give yourself an incredibly powerful tool for growth.

You could visualise a colour for each of your energies . . . . mental, emotional, physical, spiritual – and strengthen the colours when you encounter feelings and senses of weakness. So, for example: what makes you feel bigger and what makes you feel smaller? An example of wisdom energy would be: having a profound sense of spaciousness; and the opposite weakness would be: getting very absorbed in a small world. Another wisdom would be: seeing the big picture and having a largeview; and the corresponding weakness would be: being rigid and tight and dogmatic.

Meditation.  This is a journey which is always leading us away from shadows towards the light: the Guru Within.

Your Guru or inner Wisdom energies are waiting to emerge. And you will gain inner strength and confidence from knowing that you can be in control as you move along the path of your expansion and growth in your spiritual life . . . all we need to do on a regular basis is grow the strengths and let the weaknesses wither away and die.

You are a very wise person within . . . Wisdom IS.

Namaste, Susan

Youtube Video Satsang is here