The Primary Series as an archetype of Sadhana

You’ll forgive me if my ears perked up when Tim Miller on Saturday launched into a discussion of the Primary Series — which he later led, in butt-kicking fashion — as an archetype of Sadhana.

My ears looked like John Candy’s in Spaceballs (alert — terribly obscure reference to a horrible movie) because our Namarupa-led trip to India in December is: Sadhana Yatra.

Study, in other words. We’re all about that.

The Primary Series, Tim said, moves us in the direction of self-realization and helps us realize our potential as human beings. Like any study, one needs commitment and to apply the practice smartly, with dedication and devotion. (That should sound familiar, as he was going through sutras to explain and expand his points.)

The three elements to Primary Series: purification, reflection and surrender. After that? Then you see God in all things, of course. Samadhi siddhi (I may have that spelling incorrect, but rather than look it up, I’m going to keep flowing along). Mastery of self-realization or perfection of self-awareness.

Is that a good thing, Tim might ask with his trademark tone of humor. Yes. Very good.

One other thing before I head off to get ready (for Intro to Second Series and later pranayama). Tim was asked one of the bug-a-boo Ashtanga questions: Whether you can practice as you get older and how hard it is on the body.

The practice is therapeutic and good for the body, he said, but an overly aggressive or enthusiastic practitioner can hurt her/himself, or a bad teacher can be a problem. But it isn’t the practice.

Sure, he noted, he doesn’t do all the asanas he did when he was younger, and he’d be crazy to expect to be doing the same things at 60 as at 30. “But the asanas I do do, I think I do better,” he said.

With practice (and age) comes wisdom, discernment, self-awareness.

Now, let’s see if I can apply any of those to Kapotasana today.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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