Advanced Yoga Practices
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After the Ecstasy (Audio)
August 6, 2010
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: While many of us practicing AYP have been working on
"body-mind" level practices meditation, spinal breathing, mudras, bandhas,
asanas, etc., a few have been talking about an unending ecstatic condition
independent of the body-mind. While most
of us are cultivating inner silence and ecstasy, and finding a gradual
marriage of these two occurring, some are deep into ecstasy and find
themselves coming back into the body-mind for grounding and integration
later on. Having gone from cultivating stillness in the body-mind to living
from awareness and seeing ecstasy as part of that process, I have been
wondering why someone in a constant ecstatic state would need to go back to
grounding in the body. Is it because it is necessary to have a well-rounded
approach in order to find a balanced marriage between stillness and ecstasy?
So if we have gone beyond body-mind into an ecstatic condition, it will come
back into the body for grounding and integration eventually? Similarly, if
we work primarily toward cultivating inner silence and grounding it in the
body-mind through daily activity, we will eventually go beyond that into
ecstasy beyond the body-mind? So are we talking about the same process, only
coming to it from different directions?
A: Yes, it is the same
process, seeming to be coming from different
directions. In the end, the differences are seen to be
two sides of the same coin. So we are never really separate from what we
are. The journey is in the realization of that, which takes some cleaning
out of the neurobiology. That is what yoga is for.
it can happen that an advanced practitioner can move off into refined
ecstatic energy experiences much more than realized, to a degree that it can
be an expense to the body and practical living. Ecstasy is wonderful, but no
matter how refined it may be, there is an integration beyond that, which is
coming back with it into the body and ordinary living. That's why it is
important to keep active in the world between
practice sessions. It brings us back into the everyday things of life, which
is where enlightenment is cultivated and lived. Non-duality can only be
found in the midst of duality. It is one of those divine paradoxes.
Some who come on the path
already have ecstatic experiences
have motivated them to look for "more." It can be difficult for those coming
from the side of so many fireworks
a refined ecstatic glow)
to reconcile that with the relatively mundane task
of continuing to cultivate abiding inner silence in daily deep meditation.
Yet, that is exactly what is needed. It is generally best to cultivate
stillness before ecstatic states are entered into (the sequence in these
lessons), as this builds stability into our journey from the start. But not
everyone has that luxury, and
no choice but to come into stillness from
waves of ecstatic energy. When the waves have dashed us on the rocks
of life enough times, we wake up to the need for a deeper integration
that includes body, mind, and, most importantly, abiding inner silence.
If we are off into ecstasy, sooner or later we will get that wakeup call
that says, "Hey, you are ignoring your body, your health, and the practical
things in your life. It's time for a change."
honeymoon is over and
the work of integrating our ecstatic condition back into our everyday life
will occur. That's the real marriage of stillness and ecstasy. It's a good
thing. After the ecstasy, it is about ordinary living, and that is when
stillness and ecstasy will find their balance. This is also when we find
ourselves to be expressing more and more as "stillness in action" in all
aspects of our life. Nothing glamorous. Just ordinary life, lived in an
Sooner or later, we
all will come to self-pacing of our practice and
grounding our spiritual energies in daily living for balance. We have
to, or the journey will not continue in a progressive manner. For someone
who has been off into ecstasy all the time, it could mean using less
powerful practices for a while and engaging in more grounding activities,
honoring where one is in time and space, as we all must do. The greatest
power for transformation is in deep meditation and related methods.
No matter how far we have flown, we will come back to some form of
meditation routine in time, to continue the process of stabilizing inner
silence in our nature. It is
the essence of
we are. Whether we encounter ecstasy early or late on our path, sooner or
later we will find ourselves phasing back into practices and a lifestyle
that bring balance between body, mind, inner silence and ecstatic energies.
It is never going to be about only one of these elements. It is about a
balanced integration of all of them.
Yes, we are all coming to the
same thing from varying perspectives. It is the same human nervous system
and the same process unfolding (the same elements) we are all dealing with,
with variations in the journey according to our individual inclinations and
A well-rounded approach is what it takes to keep
moving ahead, while avoiding getting caught in one particular mode of
experience. This understanding comes to all serious practitioners. It is how
we continue on through the process of human spiritual transformation. The
AYP baseline system attempts to build this balance into the progression of
practices undertaken throughout the lessons, while taking into account the
many variations in experience that can come up in individual self-directed
The guru is in you.
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For detailed instructions on
building and maintaining a balanced daily practice routine with self-pacing, see the
Eight Limbs of Yoga Book,
and AYP Plus.