Advanced Yoga Practices
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Each Practice in Its Own Time (Audio)
September 29, 2009
New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the archive, as previous
lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why
Q : When I meditate I feel a certain bliss at times. On such
occasions, should I ask myself, "Who is it that experiences this bliss?"
A: Such inquiries should not be favored during AYP deep meditation
or other sitting practices. Before or after, but not during. This would be
diluting the cultivation of abiding inner silence (witness) and ecstatic
conductivity, the very foundation of effective (relational) self-inquiry
during our daily activity.
The hour or so we spend in structured
sitting practices each day sets the stage for an ongoing clear experience
and understanding of our non-dual nature (radiantly free
everything else we do. An effective integration of practices means doing
each one in its own time, not at the same time.
So when we are
engaged in a particular practice, and we find elements of another practice
coming up, we just regard that as any other thought or feeling that might
occur, and gently ease back to the practice we are doing for the time we are
doing it. It is very simple. This does not take anything away from other
practices we may engage in at other times during the day. In fact, it
greatly strengthens them.
The effective integration of practices
brings great power to our spiritual unfoldment. The common belief is that we
must follow this sound method "or" that sound method. Rarely do we hear that
we should pursue this sound method "and" that sound method in an effective
integrated approach. Human nature is highly competitive, and we often hear
that one approach to spiritual practice is better than another one,
so we should do this practice exclusively and not that one. This
doesn't have much to do with finding what really works. Rather,
it is a limiting factor in all spiritual endeavors.
If there is anything innovative in AYP, it is a clear understanding
that spiritual practices are complementary, with the whole of a progressive
integrative approach being far greater than the sum of its parts. This means
giving each practice its due, without overlapping them in ways that dilute
the effectiveness of the various component parts.
The suggestion is
to do asanas when it is time to do asanas, do pranayama when it is time to
do pranayama, do deep meditation when it is time to do deep meditation, do
samyama when it is time to do samyama, do self-inquiry when it is time to do
self-inquiry, and so on...
In doing so, the integration of all the limbs
of yoga will be occurring naturally within us, and the result will
orders of magnitude beyond anything we could
achieve with any singular practice or approach.
It is much like
driving a car. We cannot expect significant progress if we are stepping on
the accelerator and the brake at the same time, turning left at the same
time we are turning right, or attempting to drive in all the gears at once.
Much better to attend to each function in its own time, so as to move the
car forward in a manner that fulfills its function. It is the same with
spiritual practices. Our experiences with these things in the present are of
much greater importance than the considerable advice we have coming to us
from the past, helpful as it may be.
So practice wisely, and enjoy!
The guru is in you.
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Note: For detailed instructions on building a
balanced practice routine with self-pacing, see the Eight
Limbs of Yoga book,
and AYP Plus.