The Making of a Yoga Master: Chapter One
About Guided Book Readings
Free ‘Guided Book Readings’ on HathaYoga.net are a way for you and I to embark on a shared journey through a particular book. Whether you start the book with me or at a later date is not important, as these ‘guided book readings’ are a road map that allow you to jump on the path whenever you like. Once you begin a book journey, I ask, that for your sake, you continue on the path according to the outline schedule.
Each ‘Guided Book Reading’ is set up as follows:
- Initial Book Introduction – how I came about the book, why I chose it, and an interview with the author (when possible).
- Highlights from first chapter, including key ideas and a couple of quotes/excerpts. Questions to make you think.
- Highlights from second chapter…. etc, through the end of the book.
- My final thoughts on the book and, if I receive any feedback from readers I may include their thoughts as well.
About the Book
BOOK TITLE: The Making of a Yoga Master: A Seeker’s Transformation
PAGES: 392, soft-cover
AUTHOR: Suhas Tambe
PUBLISHER: HOHM PRESS
BACK COVER: “Based in a never-before used original sequence of Patanjali’s Yoga-Sutra, this book clearly documents the processes, progression and signposts of transformation through Yoga.”
SUGGESTED STUDY TIME: 7 weeks for initial read
- Chapter Zero: The Foundation
- Chapter One: Sadhaka (Seeker) and Inspiration
- Chapter Two: Sisya (Disciple and a Vision)
- Chapter Three: Yogi and Insight
- Chapter Four: Mahayogi and Intution
- Chapter Five: Parama Yogi (Yoga Master) and Illumination
- Appendix 1: The Rhythmic Breathing
- Appendix 2: Upgrading of Awareness
- Appendix 3: Chakras – Energy Centers of Transformation
- Appendix 4: How Do the Refining Exercises Work?
- Appendix 5: Grooming the Master
- Phases in a Seeker’s Transformation into a Yoga Master
- Exercises and Practics (Summary)
- Recommended Reading
- Contact Information.[/two_third_last][/learn_more]
Chapter One is when we get into the ‘meat’ of ‘The Making of a Yoga Master‘. The thoughts below are my thoughts and interpretations after an initial first read of the 62 pages in Chapter One. I am certain that with a second read (and accompanying practice) I would have yet another perspective to share. It is essential that you read ‘The Making of A Yoga Master’ yourself to make your own discoveries and interpretations. You can get it on Amazon.com, icon to left.
Essential Ideas from Chapter One (as I read it):
Find various definitions of key concepts used in Chapter One on pages 22-23.
Pages 89-94 include rearranged excerpts from the sutras, defining the first milestone of yoga and how to reach it.
First Milestone, Inner Experience: The first milestone in yoga is to realize that, though clothed in a physical body, the inner you (true self) exists beyond the limitations of your corporeal existence. When this realization is fully internalized you feel compelled to free yourself of “the tyranny of (reflexive) compulsive automated thinking (pg 21).”
Leave Behind Fatalism and Embrace Power of the Mind: Geneticists and popular science would have us believe that we are pre-ordained, through a sort of genetic fatalism, to have a certain life and be limited by inherited predispositions passed down to us from our parents. A new science, ‘epigenetics’, states that we can transcend genetic tendencies by tuning into our hire consciousness.
A Universal System: The universal nature of Yoga transcends race and religion. It is this universality that keeps the ancient system of yoga relevant in today’s world. However, this same universality is what enables people to (intentionally or unintentionally) co-opt yoga with religious ideals, fitness fanaticism and many other limiting paradigms that undermine the true goal of yoga – the ultimate liberation of the soul by uniting the fragmented physical, astral and causal bodies with one another, and then joining them with the soul and true self.
Both individual and universal mind are independent of the physical, causal and astral bodies. This means that the Universal mind exists within the physical brain, and in activating the ‘thinking’ process of the physical brain, the universal mind becomes limited by the individuality of the physical brain-tool.
Prana Control is Essential: Yogic purification practices, particularly rhythmic breathing, allow us to experience increased awareness of inner astral and causal bodies through the conscious control of prana respiration. Through this increased awareness we obtain spiritual consciousness free of deceptive, external forms.
Eliminating Unhealthy Mind Modifications: Thinking leads to mind modifications. Mind modifications stem from five categories of thinking: Valid Knowledge, Misconceptions, Delusion, Passivity and Memory. To temper mind modifications Patanjali calls for the development of four fundamental traits in yoga practitioners: Tireless effort, persistence, non-attachment and guna liberation. This includes even liberation from Sattva guna.
Obstacles to Enlightenment and Practices for Dissolving these Obstacles: While right use of the mind leads to spiritual transformation, incorrect use creates 9 external obstacles to enlightenment. Those obstacles are bodily disability, mental inertia, doubt, procrastination/carelessness, laziness/lethargy, carving/lack of dispassion, erroneous perception, inability to concentrate, and failure to maintain meditative attitude. As a result of these obstacles we find ourselves mired in pain, despair, misplaced bodily activity, and misdirected prana leading to physical illness. To free ourselves of these obstacles and resultant sufferings we must foster sympathy, tenderness, steadiness of purpose and indifference to happiness/misery/virtue and vice; and tirelessly engage in self examination, self restraint and self/isvara surrender.
Hindrances from Within Are Overcome with Yoga: From within the individual arise the five hindrances, which are shared by all of humanity. These hindrances are ignorance, personality, desire, hate, and attachment. To overcome the hindrances once must rely on internal, subtle processes such as meditation and ‘an opposing mental attitude.’ I (Monique) think the term ‘opposing mental attitude’ may be confusing or misleading for some. It is not obstinate or adversarial attitude. Rather it means to maintain an increased awareness of ‘wrong thinking’ brought about by samskara, and to actively resist this samskara drivin thinking by watching and managing the thought process at all times. This thought watching is not a state of frenetic/anxious thought policing, but a peaceful state of self awareness.
To burn the seeds of karma we must first replace agitated (rajas and tamas) thoughts with tranquil (sattva) thoughts. Then eventually even eliminate ourselves of sattva thoughts so that we may be united with the universal mind.
- “The new science of epigenetics… says that genes do not control our life; our perceptions, emotions, beliefs, and attitudes actually rewrite our genetic code. …. We can modify every gene just by the way we respond to life. pg 23, a quote from ‘Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future and a Way to Get There from Here’
- “Patanjali codified [and] systematized Yoga as a science of phycho-physical purification” – pg 24, a quote fromVimala Thakar
- “Being internal, the change can be brought about only by the individual herself/himself. This can be done only by practicing and no amount of philosophized would help.” – pg 48
- “Once a tuning fork is struck, the vibrations are fast and furious for some time, and then slowly die down. If hard metal takes so long to return to stillness, can you imagine how much faster the sensitive and subtle mind would agitate and how much longer it would take for that agitation to subside?” pg 49
- “You become an inspired seeker when you perceive the apparently solid dimensions of time and space as relative, and the apparent stark duality of self and not self as fragile” – pgs 88-89
Questions and Concepts for Readers to Ponder:
- What would life be like if you were able to rewrite your genetic code through the practice of yoga?
- Have you heard of the ‘relaxation response’ . If not, read the aforementioned link and try one of the prescribed exercises.
- Which of the 9 obstacles do you most struggle with? What, if anything, have you done in the past to overcome this obstacle?
- Which of the five hindrances do you most struggle with? What, if anything, have you done in the past to overcome these hindrances?
- What are the gunas and how do they interact in your individual perception of reality?
Something to Try:
Read pages 89 through 94 daily, then ask for insight on your readings as you meditate through deep breathing practice for five to fifteen minutes. If you don’t have a meditation practice, try HathaYoga.net’s free ‘guided meditation and relaxation’ download. To get your free download, email your name, email address and request to firstname.lastname@example.org