Hidden practices of Yoga

I think most of you know that my version of winter blues comes out quite conveniently as study, and this year is no exception, helping me retain that cheery nature of mine by way of filling my brain and energy with new stuff, or as some may call it, latent energy." 'Twas already there, you are just lifting the veil my dear". (inner monologue)

Ok so here it is; In an attempt to keep the essence strong and the momentum of discipline going I will share a portion of what I am studying at the moment.

Going back to the beginnings
Yogacharya is old Yoga, deep from the Himalayan mountains where there has never been much need for entertainment like telly or theatre.(unless it is related to Buddhism) The studies of the Yogacharya tap into old Buddhism and incidentally, wonderful artwork in the Thankhas depicting bodhisattvas (enlightened beings) and even now as I leaf through the internet I come across words and images that blow my mind.
A spin off from Yogacharya which I have had my "eye of Mordor" on is Vajrayana  feel free to check out this link to go further into this subject.

So what is Yogacharya? (and yes there are lots of permeations of the spelling, this one is what it sounds like.)
I know Wiki isnt always right but this one has been "nutshelled" nicely"

"Yogācāra philosophy is primarily meant to aid in the practice of yoga and meditation and thus it also sets forth a systematic analysis of the Mahayana path of mental training....

According to Thomas Kochumuttom, Yogācāra is "meant to be an explanation of experience, rather than a system of ontology"

I might just add that ontology is, In metaphysics, the philosophical study of being.
Brilliant.

The puzzle maker
Usually I have a mentor or teacher to guide me through the ways of learning a subject, so realising that this is a many faceted subject I am using many teachers, and therefore being the puzzle maker and putter-togetherer myself. Different.

The moon
So I am piecing together how the modern view that I have- being alive right now in the modern era, with the completely amazing also "current affairs" of the moon cycles and how they affect humans. Alongside the secret teachings of the bodhisattva Padmasambhava. (Lotus born dispeller of darkness) Who was a big fan of the moon cycles and how they affect us.

Padmasambhava
So not much is actually known of his life, yes, he was a human. But he appears to be mostly responsible for Buddhism travelling to Tibet, and also known for his teachings on Yoga Tantra, an ancient form of yoga focusing on energy, elements of nature, movement, pranayama (breath) and meditation. He made Sadana (personal secret yoga practice) a rich and varied practice which meant that those who dove deeply also didn't water down their findings and realisations by sharing them, and also not colouring other's experiences, and therefore not becoming competitive in their spiritual endeavours.

Padmasambhava stupa Kathmandu Nepal.

Dakinis
Padmasambhava has an affiliation with Dakini's, who were/are fierce un-tamable female deities. It gets better, they represent the many faceted consorts to our slightly more familiar 5 buddhas, who you might recognise from Tibetan prayer flags. These 5 yoginis are hugely influential in Buddhism and in traditional yoga.
So here is one of my new friends:

Wrathful Vajrapani.

There are also much more beautiful facets of the dakinis:


White Tara, a central figure in the Vajrayana tradition. By Aloka

Chakras
Anyway Since I now have the moon cycles, the Dakinis and myself, I thought how do I embody these studies? So have devised through Padmasambhava's secret teachings a way to linking all three with my energy systems, the Chakras, which, for those of you coming to my Friday classes, and from January the Monday sessions too, we will be investigating in our yoga asana practice.

Don't worry, we don't have to take on wrathful versions of ourselves, no matter how interesting that may be, although don't let me stop you.
If you'd like to know more get in touch, and if you have insights and suggestions I am all ears!

These studies are in their infancy, and I intend to create a course that links yoga as we know it here in the west with the traditions of ancient Vajrayana.

Om Shanti

Katie Oct '23

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