Tag Archives: Yoga

Swami Panchadasi’s Clairvoyance & Occult Powers, by William Walker Atkinson, ed. Clint Marsh

By Gesigewigu's | June 27, 2011 | 1 comment

Swami Panchadasi's Clairvoyance and Occult Powers: A Lost Classic Swami Panchadasi’s Clairvoyance & Occult Powers, by William Walker Atkinson, ed. Clint Marsh
Weiser Books, 9781578635009, 187 pp., 1916, 2011

Swami Panchadasi reminds me a bit of Professor X, if only for the fact they’re both fictional psychics. Swami Panchadasi is one of ten known alias of William Walker Atkinson who as this legion of authors wrote over one hundred psychic and magickal texts, probably the best known being The Kybalion.

Clint Marsh, the editor of this book, and author of The Mentalist’s Handbook, raises a good point in the introduction. “Does it matter that all these Hindu mystics and other exotic psychic practitioners never existed?” I agree with Clint that when it comes to practical working systems this doesn’t necessarily matter, but representing yourself as from a tradition you seem to have little understanding of is something I’d disagree with. Continue reading


Yoga Morality, by Georg Feuerstein

By Psyche | May 9, 2009 | 2 comments

Yoga Morality: Ancient Teachings at a Time of Global Crisis, by Georg Feuerstein
Hohm Press, 1890772666, 292 pp. (incl. bibliography and index), 2007

“The idea current in some circles that spirituality has nothing to do with morality is an unproductive and even dangerous will-o’-the-wisp. If spirituality is not embodied here and now, it is nothing at all.”

In the preface Feuerstein writes that “Yoga is not to be measured by the glamour of its spectacular physical postures or fabulous states of meditation.” Instead he notes that yoga is a spiritual tradition “concerned with personal growth and the goal of self-transcendence to the point of perfect inner freedom.” As such, this book as little to do with the yoga we’ve become familiar with, no postures, no exercises. Instead, Yoga Morality focuses on the ethical side of things, as Feurerstein sees it. Continue reading


Traditional Thai Medicine, by C. Pierce Salguero

By Gesigewigu's | April 12, 2009 | Leave a comment

Traditional Thai Medicine: Buddhism, Animism, Ayurveda, by C. Pierce Salguero
Hohm Press, 9781890772673, 134 pp. (incl. index and appendices), 2007

Thai Medicine is a tradition that began to form in the 13th Century in Thailand, a combination of beliefs and theories taken from the animistic indigenous religion, Buddhism, and medical theories from ayurveda and yoga. It remains a popular practice, existing alongside western medicine in 83% of hospitals in Thailand, but Salguero fears that it is a dying practice, mainly supported by the elderly and tourists, and practiced by the older generations.

As the older generations Continue reading


Review: Yin Yoga, by Paul Grilley

By Psyche | August 18, 2003 | Leave a comment

Yin Yoga, by Paul Grilley
White Cloud Press, 1883391439, 118 pp. (incl. bibliography.), 2002

Admittedly, my study of yoga has been mostly superficial: I’ve read a few books, but never studied with a professional teacher. However, I do enjoy the few asanas (poses/postures) that I do practice regularly, and was glad to receive an opportunity to expand on them.

Grilley combines Chinese mysticism with Indian philosophy to create yin yoga, incorporating the Modern Meridian Theory of Dr. Hiroshi Motoyama and Dr. James Oschman. This theory postulates that the meridians run through the connective tissue of the body, representing the yin energy, whereas the muscle tissue represents the yang. Included are several colour diagrams of the body and connective tissue to illustrate this point. The main difference between what Grilley calls ‘yang yoga’ and ‘yin yoga’ is that the postures in the latter are held longer, with the muscles relaxed, rather than the straining of ‘yang yoga’.

A large variety of poses are illustrated with photographs and detailed explanations on the benefit and suggestions for the novice and more advanced student, giving a range in the degree of difficulty. Three sample routines are included with various emphasis on spine, hips and legs and then a combination. The sample routines are arranged in such a way that the transition between them feels smooth and natural

Several sitting postures are detailed as well, with brief descriptions of the chakras, and a variety of pranayama and meditation techniques, including Sushumna Purification, chakra and kundalini meditation, Bija or “seed” mantras, etc.

Regarding chakras, Grilley brings up an excellent point often overlooked:

‘When trying to describe where a chakra “is” one is in a dilemma. Common language suggests that they are physically located in the spine but the reader should bear in mind that this is both true and false. A “broken heart” is a real experience that indeed seems cantered in the heart but that is not where the feelings “are”. The chakras have a physical correspondence but they are more than physical. Bear this in mind when reading about “where” a chakra “is”. Don’t be limited by only physical conceptions.’

I found the practical section to be effective and the theory is as sound as any. This is definitely a book I value, and suggest it to anyone looking for a different perspective on yoga.


List of Five

By Karel Hladky | November 13, 2001 | Leave a comment

Newsgroups: alt.meditation
From: khladky[at]nessie (Karel Hladky)
Subject: Lists of Five [Repost]
Message-ID: < 1993Jul2.121928.22937@nessie.mcc.ac.uk >
Sender: news[at]nessie.mcc.ac.uk (Usenet News System)
Organization: Manchester Computing Centre
X-Newsreader: Tin 1.1 PL5
Date: Fri, 2 Jul 1993 12:19:28 GMT

It would seem that this post didn’t quite make it, here it goes again:

After reading the recent discussions, I dug up some old notes. Perhaps someone might find it useful.

The mind is also capable of functioning to a greater degree of inner strength and purpose, so that it is less at the mercy of its surroundings.

This mode of functioning is, in abhidhamma, also described in terms of a group of five.

  1. Directing the mind to the object (vitakka)
  2. Examining the object (vicara)
  3. Energisation (piti)
  4. Harmonising (sukha)
  5. Unifying of the mind (ekaggata)

Like many abhidhamma lists, the different factors can be understood in one way as forming stages of a process:

  1. Vitakka – the initial movement of the mind to a new object
  2. Vicara – the mind, now firm in its direction, can examine the object in more detail
  3. Piti – continued contact with the object draws together energies which were previously scattered
  4. Sukha – the energisation settles down and pervades the mind in a harmonious type of happiness
  5. Ekaggata – the mind, now in harmony, can be unified and stilled at a point of focus

The factors can also be understood in terms of the five elements. Vitakka is the way in which the mind is extended to objects (earth). Vicara is the cohesion between the mind and the object (water). Piti energises the mind, raising its ‘temperature’ (fire). Sukha is the harmonious vibration of the mind (air), while ekaggata, in limiting the mind to a particular focus, creates a new field in which it can act (space).

These intensifying factors are not described as skilful of themselves. They may be aspects of the functioning of the mind in both skilful and unskilful states. Perhaps because it is their nature to intensify experience, it is possible that they may become out of balance and misused, thus forming the basis for those aspects of malfunctioning of the mind called the five hindrances.

These can therefore be seen as the result of ‘too much’ of the five intensifying factors, which is brought out by placing the two groups side by side:

  1. Dulness and drowsiness Vitakka
  2. Wavering of the mind Vicara
  3. Dislike Piti
  4. Restlessness and anxiety Sukha
  5. Motivation based on attachment Ekaggata

Thus dullness and drowsiness are opposed by and dispelled by the application and extension of the mind in vitakka which gives it a skilful purpose. But if there is too much vitakka, the mind has a strong impulse to action without being able to do anything, causing bewilderment and fear or ‘wavering’. Wavering is thus opposed by harnessing the mind to the object. However too much vitakka and vicara force the mind to do something that it does not really want to do. Dislike of the whole process, the next hindrance, is the inevitable result.

Dislike is opposed by piti, which creates an enthusiastic interest in the object, but if there is too much energy, the mind does not know what to do with it. The energy vibrates in an unskilful way and the mind becomes restless and anxious. These states are opposed by sukha, which harmonises the energy. If the mind then finds this harmony too enjoyable, this action becomes transmuted into action based on attachment. This is characterised by anything from over-exuberance to a subtle form of excitement, which is remedied by stilling the mind at a point and focusing its energies.

The drawback of this process is that it may overreach itself, focusing the mind down too much, so that it becomes dull and drowsy once more.

So there!

Karel

**Dr. Karel Hladky*(khladky@umist.ac.uk)*Tel-44-612366573*CAPCIS Ltd.**


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