Enjoy the third video from our Blissology Yoga Sutras course. This is when we are still introducing key concepts and themes in the text. To find out more about this incredible course and the ancient teaching of yoga, check out our online course on teachable.
Many children have probably asked you questions like: “Where was I before I was born?” or “After you die, where do “you” go?”
The yogis are asking these questions of the Universe itself. We know about the Big Bang 13.8 Billion years ago. But what existed before that? Was there time or anything that existed before the Big Bang?
These answers are beyond my pay scale and probably yours, as well. However, the Yoga Sutras had an answer to that question.
The yogis solved it not through physics equations. They solved it not through sending up NASA space shuttles to measure cosmic microwaves in the background. How did they come to this conclusion? Through an advanced technology.
What is the name of that technology?
That’s right, when you sit down to meditate in the process of YOGA, you are connecting to a source that existed before the Big Bang, you are connected to a “universal consciousness” that existed before you were born of which you are now a vehicle.
What we get in touch with in meditation is a Universal Consciousness. This is what I mean by the blanket term “Spirit”.
Now the Matter Part: Matter is “everything that doesn’t last.” But this Universal Spirit/ Consciousness always lasts. So, there is the “Source of Creation” and “the created.” The Samkhya Yoga terms for this are PURUSHA and PRAKRITI.
Purusha is Spirit/ Universal Consciousness/Source of Creation.
Prakriti is the created, the material + matter.
In a way, God is what we are getting at with the word Purusha but this really is loaded.
“God” in many dictionaries is still defined like: “The creator of the universe, usually male, who judges right and wrong.” This is NOT what they are talking about in the Yoga Sutras when they refer to Purusha.
We tend to put a personality on God like omnipotent, omnipresent and benevolent and judges right and wrong. This takes us in the wrong direction from the meaning of Purusha.
We don’t have a word called Purusha in English. All of these translations I am offering that you will hear in this video are clunky.
Purusha is a source that is “peacefully indifferent.” It is an indifferent force and an energy.
Is electricity benevolent or male or female? In the same way, there is this source from which things come and go and it is indifferent to “you.” That is called Purusha.
As you will see through the text, you have to choose. It’s Spirit or Purusha VERSUS matter or Prakriti. With this stage set, let’s take a deeper dive into this in the coming videos.
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Enjoy this fun and creative flow from the Hear Here Superflow Routine
We want to share this flow so when you do the routine you understand it plus how to modify it if you need to. As well, we want to share little tips to help you get the most out of this routine emphasizing mobility, fluid fitness and flexibility.
If there is one question I’ve been trying to answer my whole life it’s, “what happens mentally, physically and spiritually when we get quiet in the beauty of nature?”
If I have any superpowers at all, it’s because I make the time to absorb and channel the energy of the sky, the ocean and the forest in everything I do.
This is why I’m thrilled to be offering a course in May called “Yogic By Nature,” a course uniting the teachings of Yoga and Nature If you want to go deep into both yoga philosophy, meditation and asana plus explore how we can make reverence for the nature the heart of our yoga practice, check out the link in my bio.
Even though it’s part of our 500 hour certification process, it’s open to anyone and everyone who wants to learn, share and go deep.
If you are interested in full-length routines, we have over 65 on Vimeo on-demand
Commit to Bliss is Unique and Powerful course to learn the tools of Somatic Breathing and Embodied Physiology so we can self regulate back to peace in any life situation.
Imagine being brand new to snow-skiing and on your first run you ended up taking the wrong chair lift. Instead of going to the manageable bunny slope, you got thrust off the chair lift straight into a double diamond run. How would you feel looking down that steep pitch? To many experienced skiers, this is the dream. However, to the new skier most likely provokes sheer terror.
I had a blind spot when it came to how I taught yogic breathing techniques. I now see this blind spot everywhere as people quickly jump on the bandwagons of Wim Hof, the “IceMan.”
This is why I want to share this post now as a “Buyer Beware” PSA. I believe that if breathing techniques were packaged goods they should come with a label. “Warning, not all techniques are good for all people.”
With one in five people in US has an anxiety disorder, I see many yogic breathing techniques or Wim Hof Breathing techniques being described as relaxing antidotes to stress and anxiety. I want the word to get out that breathwork is not a “one size fits all shop.”
Let me circle back to the skiing analogy and my blind spot. I had been sharing these techniques in my classes up until 15 years ago. I loved the “double diamond” runs of long breath holds (Kumbhaka) and rapid breathing (Khapalabhati,) the same way I love big waves or double black diamond ski runs.
I spent many years practicing Kumbaka (long breath holds) and Kapalabhati (Rapid Breathing) by my teacher Gioia Irwin who’s lineage goes back to B.K.S. Iyengar.
As I prepare for an upcoming book and course on the Yoga Sutras, even Patanjali describes the serenity of the breath holds as the pinnacle of the yogic Pranayama experience (Check out Sutra 2.50.) How could people not like these techniques?
However, when I would teach them to students, many of them came to me afterwards saying that they were not experiencing peace at all, but they were going through traumatic experiences.
They were not seeing chakras, angelic auras or the light of divine consciousness. Not at all. What they were describing to me was panic flashbacks. Some described it to the claustrophobic experience of being put into MRI machines after being injected with purple die to check for tumors.
It made me seek feedback from other students on these techniques. What I found was that during these breathing techniques, many of them were secretly feeling claustrophobic, light-headed, dizzy and full of panic.
You may have seen some of my Instagram memes (Eoinisms) like the popular “Less Drama, More Pranayama.” What is fully clear to me now is that for about 1 in 6 people, I was causing “More Drama, through Pranayama!”
It’s no wonder they felt agitated because in these rapid breathing techniques, we are actually hyperventilating. Those rapid exhalations lower carbon dioxide levels which in turn lead to narrowing of the blood vessels that supply blood to the brain!
When our blood supply to the brain is decreased, we will experience symptoms like lightheadedness and tingling in the fingers.
It’s actually crazy to consider that people who were already feeling anxious or trauma were now trying to fight off lightheadedness and numb fingers! And they had no tools to deal with this. And they were told this is “stress-reducing response. It wasn’t stress-reducing, it was stress-inducing!
On the other side of the coin, holding your breath too long can lower heart rate from a lack of oxygen. This causes CO₂ buildup in your bloodstream. This is called “nitrogen narcosis,” a dangerous buildup of nitrogen gases in your blood that can make you feel disoriented or inebriated.
Again, for people who are already suffering from stress and anxiety, why would we ever push them off the chair lift into the double diamond run of feeling disoriented or inebriated? Of course, you may have the tools stay grounded in this disorientated state so this may be your cup of tea, and that’s fine. My point is we cannot keep pushing people into these experiences under the label of “reduce stress with pranayama or Wim Hof breathing techniques.”
To be fair, what I found is that if I worked one on one with these students, we had a lot of success to make the experience slowly more enjoyable. They gradually learned the somatic tools to stay calm in the experience to not allow the sympathetic nervous system or panic response to overtake them.
However, in large group classes, I couldn’t work one on one with people the way these pranayama breathing techniques should be taught. As a result, I stopped sharing these breathing techniques in my classes for that reason. (Again, it’s not that I don’t think they are great in some circumstances, but we have to walk before we run.)
About 15 years ago, I decided to change tacks altogether.
I set out a mission to explore ways of helping people regulate towards peace. What if we could make a goal of getting people onto the green slopes first before launching them of the chair lift into a double diamond slope that can cause the panic response?
I can’t go into the details of all the techniques here, but I am so overjoyed to share the ones that have evolved in our Blissology school.
I want to share these as a more widely accessible alternative to more stimulating breathing techniques. By analogy, I want people to enjoy the effects of a mellow “Cush” strain of marijuana before they launch into the world of Ayahuasca trip intensity. In a world where many of us with life stresses are already in the extremes of stress, I just don’t think that we need to rush to extremes.
The course is primarily about finding “Embodied Peace.” It’s about learning Somatic regulation and what I called “Embodied Physiology.” My goal is to share tools, conversations and science about how to steer our bodies back to peace when we feel anxious, angry or overly stressed.
Commit to Bliss is a coursed designed to teach you Embodied Physiology to help regulate your body and mind back to Peace.
In the meantime, here is a small an excerpt from page 156 of the upcoming Commit to Bliss Book under the Embodied Breath section.
“The general process is to go slow and feel the breath.
Open your senses and notice the body as you breathe.
Reduce the tendency of the human mind to analyze of rush. Simply enjoy the feeling of peace that comes when we slow down our breath.
Breathe fully into your belly noticing that when the breath becomes more enjoyable your mind feels more spacious and free.
Even as you read the sentences below, make plenty of space to pause and a savor the experience. Soften your eyes and keep the spine long. Enjoy the slow.
See your breathing process through the lens of tightness and flow.
Feel a place that’s tight: some common places are the lower back, the upper shoulders, the lower jaw, the forehead and belly. Let them release. Breath that tightness out, as your brain sinks into a hammock with ease.
Feel the fullness and the peace in your breath as we shift into a state of mind, we call flow.
Calm is your superpower. You have the controls. Enjoy each deep and full breath”