Mixing methods and Yoga asana

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

Mixing methods and Yoga asana

Postby SamKR » Thu Sep 30, 2010 7:02 am

Hi,

In Goenkaji's method students are not allowed to mix techniques. But does yoga (Asana and Pranayama only) count as mixing technique? I guess it's not as they are physical aspect of yoga.

Sameer
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Re: Mixing methods and Yoga asana

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Sep 30, 2010 7:06 am

SamKR wrote:Hi,

In Goenkaji's method students are not allowed to mix techniques. But does yoga (Asana and Pranayama only) count as mixing technique? I guess it's not as they are physical aspect of yoga.

Sameer
Ben knows way more about this than I do, but the not mixing methods is in contexts of retreats. What you do at home should be a problem, but I'd be interesed hear what Ben or any one else who knows more has to say.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
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Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
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Re: Mixing methods and Yoga asana

Postby SamKR » Thu Sep 30, 2010 7:17 am

tiltbillings wrote:
SamKR wrote:Hi,

In Goenkaji's method students are not allowed to mix techniques. But does yoga (Asana and Pranayama only) count as mixing technique? I guess it's not as they are physical aspect of yoga.

Sameer
Ben knows way more about this than I do, but the not mixing methods is in contexts of retreats. What you do at home should be a problem, but I'd be interesed hear what Ben or any one else who knows more has to say.

Hi tiltbillings,

As far as I understood Goenkaji teaches not to mix technique even at home. He suggests students to try a few 10 day retreats to see if the technique is for them, and emphasizes not to mix with other techniques until making the decision. I am sure he is not against other techniques, but just that mixing can be dangerous. However, I am not quite sure why it is so dangerous to mix with other Theravada Buddhist techniques (it is easy to see that the technique may not compatible with meditations outside Theravada).

Sameer
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Re: Mixing methods and Yoga asana

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Sep 30, 2010 7:21 am

SamKR wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
SamKR wrote:Hi,

In Goenkaji's method students are not allowed to mix techniques. But does yoga (Asana and Pranayama only) count as mixing technique? I guess it's not as they are physical aspect of yoga.

Sameer
Ben knows way more about this than I do, but the not mixing methods is in contexts of retreats. What you do at home should be a problem, but I'd be interesed hear what Ben or any one else who knows more has to say.


As far as I understood Goenkaji teaches not to mix technique even at home. He suggests students to try a few 10 day retreats to see if the technique is for them, and emphasizes not to mix with other techniques until making the decision. I am sure he is not against other techniques, but just that mixing can be dangerous. However, I am not quite sure why it is so dangerous to mix with other Buddhist techniques.
I am not sure that it is dangerous; rather, I think he wants the student get an unadulterated feel for the practice, but I'll shut up and let Ben or someone else who actually knows what they are talking about address your concerns.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Mixing methods and Yoga asana

Postby Phra Chuntawongso » Thu Sep 30, 2010 8:59 am

Hi.I can't really answer in regards to the Goenka style of meditation,but when I first took up meditation(Mahasi) I was asked not to combine any other type of meditation with my practise.This included things as diverse as Tai chi to visualization meditation.The reason given for this,and this is something that I also ask of any of my studends is that for many it is the first time that they have practised this form of meditation and as many come for short retreats(10 days)we asked that they put off practising other things so that they may truly get to see some benefit out of their stay.We can not and I personnally do not tell people to drop all other forms of meditation after they leave the retreat.The same as we do not expect them to obseve noble silence or the 8 precepts after they leave.In fact where I studied meditation on the day that the students left,before going they would meet with the teacher for 1 last time and take 5 precepts. :meditate:
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Re: Mixing methods and Yoga asana

Postby SamKR » Thu Sep 30, 2010 6:48 pm

Thanks tilt and Nanadhaja for you input. I hope Ben would also share his knowledge regarding this.
And I have found a page where Goenkaji says that yoga (physical aspect) is perfectly okay: http://www.vridhamma.org/Vipassana-Practice.aspx
Is it all right to practise techniques such as hatha-yoga and pranayama?
The physical aspects of Yoga and pranayama go perfectly all right with Vipassana. But the meditation part of yoga is dangerous with the practise of Vipassana.That should not be added to it. Merely the physical part of it all right, nothing wrong.
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Re: Mixing methods and Yoga asana

Postby Viscid » Fri Oct 01, 2010 9:23 pm


"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: Mixing methods and Yoga asana

Postby Parth » Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:26 pm

I dont think goenkaji is against practising Yoga / Pranayam as an exercise all that he says is do not mix that with Vipassana. His primary concern is with keeping vipassana in its pristine beauty, earlier vipassana got lost in India probably because people mixed something else with Vipassana due to which the technique became impure and therefore lost its efficacy for the practioner.

Actually the problem is that vipassana is very very simple but, we are not, and that is the complication. Further you mix anything with a simple thing and it becomes complicated. It is like 'simple water' you mix anything with it and it does not remain 'simple water' any longer.

A point to ponder here is that if one does pranayam (an exercize of breath) regularly will it not interfere with anapana (simple observation of breath as it is)

Metta

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Re: Mixing methods and Yoga asana

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Mar 09, 2011 5:17 pm

Maybe there are difference of view, in the two practice- one is to escape samsara, the other is to be unified with brahma, if I am not mistaken.

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Re: Mixing methods and Yoga asana

Postby alan » Thu Mar 10, 2011 2:06 am

Thanks for the video Viscid. Yoga is great!
I was once "busted" on a Goenka retreat for stretching my legs. No one there had any idea about what Yoga is or is not--they were just mindless rule followers.
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Re: Mixing methods and Yoga asana

Postby Ben » Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:11 am

Hi all

Part of a pm I sent to Sameer:
I think its best you get your advice from an assistant teacher or area teacher. As you develop on the path, you will get to a stage where you will be required to make a choice between vipassana as taught by SN Goenka in the tradition of Sayagi U Ba Khin over anything else you have been doing.
Unless you are at the stage of doing a long course, then the advice that may be consistent with that from an AT is that so long as you do not mix the technique of vipassana with pranayama or yogic meditation, then that should be fine. However, I could be corrected and an AT may advise you to either do vipassana or yogic meditation/pranayama but not both but asanas are fine.


Something else I want to comment on:
Matheesha wrote:Maybe there are difference of view, in the two practice- one is to escape samsara, the other is to be unified with brahma, if I am not mistaken.
I don't know much about yogic or hindu forms of meditation but I think Matheesha's point is valid in that there are very many forms of meditation and not all of them are complementary. In discussions with assistant teachers within my tradition one of the major issues of students having explosive episodes on courses is when, against all advice, they continue with their previous practice while doing vipassana on a ten-day vipassana retreat.

Tilt wrote:What you do at home should be a problem, but I'd be interesed hear what Ben or any one else who knows more has to say.
As I mentioned above, until one gets to the stage of doing a long-course, there isn't a problem. However, as one progresses, one does get to a point where the teacher insists that a student dedicate his life to practicing exclusively within the tradition. I got to that point shortly after my first course. I had a deep sense of recognition and 'home-coming' and I knew it was it for me. Even during a lengthy period where I turned my back on the Dhamma, I knew I would always go back, and I wasn't interested in studying under the guidance of any other teacher except Sayagi U Ba Khin and SN Goenka.
In that situation, then doing the physical aspects of yoga is fine, its the meditative aspect of yoga which a 'serious old student' would be a little lairy of doing. And that is not to suggest that there is anything wrong with yogic meditation or any other form of meditation, for that matter. I know for myself that life is short and I want to concentrate on practicing under the guidance of my teacher. After two and a half decades, my confidence in the efficacy of this particular tradition is unshakable.
I hope that is of benefit.
kind regards

Ben
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tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Mixing methods and Yoga asana

Postby Parth » Thu Mar 10, 2011 1:27 pm

Dear Ben,

Havent done a long course myself, but I second your views.

Metta

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