Sunday, February 14, 2010


Dear Yoga teachers and students,

Did you ever feel the urge to BOLT FROM THE ROOM in the middle of an asana class? As students I feel certain that many of us have felt the urge and many of us HAVE BOLTED FROM CLASS. Lots of feelings surface!
In Tibetan Heart Yoga they say that a stuck body part is a result of a stuck thought. Think of the stuck thought as something clogging a pipe. Think of the pipe as a Prana channel in our body. A subtle channel along which our vital energy flows. And riding on that energy is our thoughts - like a person riding horse. These thoughts come in different sizes. And they can get BIG.
And occasionally the thought gets so big that it sticks in the energy channel and won't move. The rider is too big for the horse. Stuck. Well just like a clogged artery, the vital energy and the thoughts riding on that energy begin to clog up behind the stuck thought. We develop a thought aneurysm of sorts. The whole part of the body where this clog has occurred begins to swell. And because of the Law of attraction, the stuck thought begins attracting other, similar thoughts causing a massive traffic jam of similar stuck thoughts. The content of the thoughts does not matter - but now we see this clot of these thoughts.

And this clot or aneurysm of thoughts begins to affect the body functions in the stuck area. Perhaps our back begins to hump, our heart begins to harden, our neck begins stiffen. And we think, "I slept funny on my neck." Now we know about the physical problem and we usually see it this way.

When we do yoga we can work on the pipe clog problem from 2 angles. We can do asana. This is like tapping on the pipe from the outside trying to release the clog. We can also poke around INSIDE the pipe using Pranayama and meditation. This combination of practices can free the clog, working from the outside and the inside at the same time is a powerful tool.

When these thoughts begin to un-stick - guess what - we're going to FEEL THEM. And they are BIG THOUGHTS and there are a lot of them right? - a clog - a backlog of thought. And the feelings start flowing when the thoughts start flowing. We feel it physically, emotionally. And sometimes we want to BOLT FROM THE ROOM.

These practices, asana and pranayama,can help us fix our stuck thought/stuck body problems. But the thoughts may continue to stick. That is a problem that happens earlier in the process. These issues with the thoughts can be addressed through practices like the Yamas and Niyamas. Observing these guidelines will help us keep these sticky thoughts away. Let's face it - the sticky thoughts are usually not the good thoughts. They are usually thoughts that relate to attachments. They often relate to the injury of our egos.

When we practice the 8 limbs of Raja Yoga we can reduce these kinds of thoughts over time. This requires us to employ two major concepts: Practice and non-reaction.

So - DON'T BOLT. When we feel these feelings - we are starting to get clear. When we feel those feelings - we are feeling those feelings LEAVING OUR BODY. It feels this way for a reason. And we need to feel, and feelings are not facts.


*the concepts presented here were largely learned by reading "How Yoga Works" by Geshe Michael Roach and Lama Christie McNally

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