Yoga? The deep kind, not the trendy new stuff.

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Yoga? The deep kind, not the trendy new stuff.

Postby AdvaitaJ » Sat Feb 28, 2009 2:17 am

In my youth, I read a book or two about "Yoga mediation". My recent readings occasionally come across a description of a "yogi" with regards to Buddhist practice. Is Yoga, in it's deeper more spiritual aspects, connected at all with Buddhist practice? Were there any aspects of the Buddha's education and experience that used Yogic (sp?) principles? The reason I'm asking is to determine if there may be any benefit to adding some form of Yoga training to my weekly regimen. (I currently take two days off per week from exercise and I'm thinking I might as well do something then, too.)
:?:

Regards: AdvaitaJ
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Re: Yoga? The deep kind, not the trendy new stuff.

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Feb 28, 2009 2:33 am

I can't answer the technical questions, but it's common for teachers who have some connection with Burmese traditions (Mahasi, etc) to refer to "yogis" as a synonym for "meditators".

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Re: Yoga? The deep kind, not the trendy new stuff.

Postby Dhammanando » Sat Feb 28, 2009 2:41 am

Hi Advaita J,

AdvaitaJ wrote:In my youth, I read a book or two about "Yoga mediation". My recent readings occasionally come across a description of a "yogi" with regards to Buddhist practice. Is Yoga, in it's deeper more spiritual aspects, connected at all with Buddhist practice?


There are some overlaps. For example, the four brahmaviharas are mentioned in Patañjali's Yoga Sutras, with detailed instructions for practising them given in commentaries to this work. Nonetheless, I think it would be better for Buddhists to learn such things from Pali Buddhist sources. In Hindu sources they will always be mixed up with wrong views of one sort or another, so one will have to waste time separating the wheat from the chaff.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
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    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
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Re: Yoga? The deep kind, not the trendy new stuff.

Postby Prasadachitta » Sat Feb 28, 2009 8:08 am

I regularly practice the body movements or "asanas" of Yoga. I dont care what the philosophical or devotional roots of this practice are I just utilize the movements as a mindful preparation for meditation. I have found these practices to be very helpful for keeping me alert and comfortable during meditation.

Metta

Gabriel
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Re: Yoga? The deep kind, not the trendy new stuff.

Postby AdvaitaJ » Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:52 am

Venerable,

Understood and acknowledged. I certainly have a very full plate now just learning the Dhamma. The last thing I need now is to try and distill Right View from Hindu.

One thing I need to add, though, is that I am now convinced an experience I had back then was a brief foray into the first jhana. I was only 17 at the time, no big worries or concerns and all my needs were being met by my employer. I was experimenting with new and different things as teenagers will do, and that's why I was reading the yoga books. After a couple of weeks of diligent very late-night/early morning mediation (I was working second shift at the time) I had an experience that I now realize exactly matches the description of the first jhana. Shocked me so much that I think I just jumped right back out, but I don't know how long it lasted. Could have been a moment or minutes. I spent the next week or so trying to get back to it which, of course, didn't work. I gave up on mediation shortly thereafter. But, almost forty years later, I still vividly remember that night.

Gabriel,

Do you feel the asanas are beneficial from a purely physical viewpoint or do you feel there may be more to it than that? Depending on how recently I've jogged or done my weights workout, I'll have tightness or a kind of "bunched up" feeling. If there were a quick and easy way to loosen that up, I'd sure like to know. I've tried regular stretching on and off, but it has never been anything I've felt any benefit from.

:thanks:
AdvaitaJ
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Re: Yoga? The deep kind, not the trendy new stuff.

Postby Prasadachitta » Sun Mar 01, 2009 3:10 am

Hi AdvaitaJ,

I feel that the Yoga I practice does what a physical workout can and more. It includes a series of moves which can bring to awairness a broad array of physical sensation. When I combine these motions with an attitude which is informed by my practice of the eightfold path, I get a sense of energetic integration between my aspiration to realize enlightenment and the physical sensations of my body. It is in a way like bowing to a shrine for me. It creates a physical expression of my religious aspiration and devotion. Unlike bowing it systematically and simultaneously enlivens and strengthens my body while honing my ability to be more precisely aware of all the parts found within it. We might be ultimately trying to achieve Buddhist insight "vipassina" but calm and energetic integration "samata" is crucial to achieve this end (or so we are told). These Hindu practices have been developed for this purpose over thousands of years and I find them very effective. Think of it like a kind of "samata" technology which has been developed by those of another religious persuasion. We don't have to buy into all the same principals to use the technology. Besides I imagine that the Buddha and his followers probably did similar kinds of things to prepare for meditation. If its not in the scriptures then it was probably not mentioned because it was just taken for granted as a given thing that people who were mediators did.

Metta

Gabriel
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332
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Re: Yoga? The deep kind, not the trendy new stuff.

Postby nathan » Sun Mar 01, 2009 8:44 am

Bending and stretching are given as postures to be mindful of along with walking. I think healthy and wholesome body awareness nurtures overall wellness which is the best base for further development. The teacher who taught me tai chi demonstrated great insights into the nama and rupa and great facility with them as well. He developed great concentration, insight and wisdom although I do not know if this had penetrated the wisdom of the Dhamma. I have no reason to think so but I never asked him about this. It has deeply informed me about nama and rupa, this kind of mindful attention to the body and mind in all healthy and wholesome practices. :anjali:
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Yoga? The deep kind, not the trendy new stuff.

Postby AdvaitaJ » Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:55 pm

gabrielbranbury wrote: feel that the Yoga I practice does what a physical workout can and more. It includes a series of moves which can bring to awairness a broad array of physical sensation. When I combine these motions with an attitude which is informed by my practice of the eightfold path, I get a sense of energetic integration between my aspiration to realize enlightenment and the physical sensations of my body.

Gabriel,

An excellent and informative response, thanks much! Can you recommend a resource (book, DVD, website, etc) I might investigate to learn the physical aspects? As mentioned earlier, I need to steer clear of contrary philosophical teachings, but I am generally capable of coordinating movements with breathing.

Thanks again. :thumbsup:

AdvaitaJ
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Re: Yoga? The deep kind, not the trendy new stuff.

Postby Prasadachitta » Sun Mar 01, 2009 2:40 pm

I learned Yoga at my gym. There wasn't any kind of Hindu teaching given with it. Actually the class I most often took was taught by a friend of mine who is a Buddhist. I think you could probably find classes like this in Michigan. I dont think books are a very good way to learn somthing like this.

Metta


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