Listen to “The Secrets of the Yamas”


The above link is an audio clip, the source is from a book written by John McAfee.  It is a small little book that I find has such profound relevance for the true purpose of Classical hatha yoga.  In the  next few posts I will read the chapters and hopefully give you something to contemplate about your yoga practice.  I find that speaking and reading aloud helps me to deeply place the thoughts somewhere inside where I can explore the concepts deeper.  Its one thing to write and study yogic texts and another entirely different thing to realize and live the concepts.  This is hard work to distill to our basic core, but it is most fulfilling, I hope you have the patience and courage to lift up your experience.  Again, I remind myself the best way to do this work is to stay with the Isha Kriya practice for it’s within those moments during and directly after completing the kriya that  the wisdom is most brilliant.  So I keep turning these ideas over and over inside to own them in my thoughts.  Remember we become what we meditate upon.  Happy Kriya !!!! Namaste


286 responses »

  1. This audio clip of a reading from John Mcafee’s book opened my eyes to a history of Yoga that I admittedly had no idea of. I admittedly always saw yoga as a means of aerobic exercise alone, with no idea of it’s ability for self discovery and awareness as has been stated in this audio clip. This, in conjunction with the 8 limbs from our other reading, such an incredibly useful accompanying guide for one to reach inner peace and liberation. This audio clip has also given me a newfound appreciation for the deep-long history of yoga in a spiritual sense, rather than the “hipster vegan in Beverly Hills” that I had associated with it previously.

    • Separately, since class I have practiced the Isha Kriya 3 times as requested since the last class. I practice whenever my schedule allows for it, but around 6pm seems like it will be the most convenient. I practice in my bedroom, with an incense stick burning. My experience has been relatively the same as the first time I had practiced, but if I had to pick out any noticeable difference, I would say that it’s become increasingly easier for me to enter the state of relaxation. The meditation itself is still incredibly beneficial for my mental state and overall calmness throughout the day afterwards, and am excited to continue continue my practice and see how it can further benefit me in my daily life.

  2. John McAfee’s excerpt was truly mind opening. I believe that sometimes I can become too attached to materialistic things. Those materialistic things include my phone, social media, my computer and many other distractions. I find that sometimes I do not spend enough time enjoying the simple things in life. In the audio clip, you mention how sometimes we are too drawn to television. I find that we can sometimes be way too concerned with other people rather than being concerned with ourselves. Being self-aware is so important if one wants to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

    As a society, I think it’s important to realize how vulnerable we are to materialistic things. We should always take time throughout our busy weeks to meditate and reflect on our life. I think practicing the Isha Kriya is a great way of doing that. Practicing the Isha Kriya makes me feel more in touch with my soul and body. It makes me feel more connected to the world, in more way than scrolling through my social media pages. Thanks for sharing this great excerpt!

  3. John McAfee has an interesting insight on life experiences. It is true that we as humans have progressed and lived in so many ways when it comes to our internal selves, we don’t face who we are and don’t attempt self exploration which can be so healthy and beneficial to our mind and body and to the practice of yoga. The questions McAfee ponders are really thought-provoking and say a lot about the complexities of our lives in todays society. Our sources for entertainment and interest are external and when those distractions are ceased, we become bored and anxious to continue to consume. People need to practice to embrace the now, to embrace the quiet and to look inward instead of extend outward at something that distracts us from ourselves.

    – Lilah Tsudome

    I have practiced Isha Kriya three times in the past week. I usually practice it before I go to sleep or when the sun is down because I have more time to spare and are more calm and collected. I try and practice in my room on the floor on my yoga mat. Doing the kriya has definitely been hard for me sine I am not used to giving myself so much time without movement. Meditation is hard for those with a mind that races. But I have found each time I do it, I am slowly getting better. The mantras are interesting to me and each day I recite them, I find they somehow relate to something that happened that day and are calming and therapeutic.

  4. In this modern day and age, we more often not have other people’s ideas in our head. We’re either listening to music, watching TV, (in college at least) going to class or reading. All those things are important and help make the place to live, but keep us from going deep into our own minds and seeing what’s going on in their. Also those things help inspire us to be original and think for ourselves using the elements we learn from our entertainment, they can only do that to a point.
    Another thing I think is keeping people from self discovery (especially among youth) is the willingness to over medicate. While stimulants (i.e. Adderall) and SSRIs can be very helpful, I fear that people have become very reliant on them, preventing them from self-discovery, through experience, contemplation and meditation.

  5. It’s really unfortunate that the internal side of yoga has been so significantly downplayed in modern American culture. There’s a certain irony that people practice yoga for their health, and because it makes them feel better than they otherwise would, but they are potentially missing out on the greater and more significant benefits that the meditation and mindfulness aspects of yoga could bring them. Many people who are suffering from stress and anxiety gravitate or are remanded to yoga and similar activities to help them manage, and it makes me sad to understand that often they might not be in an environment that helps them process and explore those feelings.

    It’s been my observation that those who cannot be happy in time spent alone examining their own thoughts have a hard time being happy anywhere else. Comfort with the self is the first step to comfort with other people and the world in general.

    • Please do let me know the name to give your credit to….and your statements here are true, but there are many reasons why it is not so easy for many nowadays to find peace with their own quiet….lets all put our best step forward to making it a positive reality for everyone in class this semester, thanks, OM

  6. Inconveniently, the audio link is no longer working. However, doing a little Internet digging, I was able to get a gist of what McAfee’s writings were about.

    Eliminating distractions is a reoccurring theme that I know I certainly need to work on. Such distractions become hindrances on the more important aspects of one’s life, taking away from the satisfying completion of goals and fulfillment of desires. Instead of recognizing what you can do to better your own life and others around you, society has made reputation based on material possession and social networking identification a measure of self worth, forcing young members of our communities to compare themselves to anyone and everyone else, instead of focusing on their personal satisfaction. It’s truly unfortunate, but it is so much a part of our world that it’s unavoidable, and something that can hopefully change as we further understand the implications of technology and society’s consumerism tendencies. Yoga defies these changes, continuing to push the promotion of the self, the mind and the body.

    Isha Kriya Update:

    This past week I was only able to practice twice, consumed by a busy schedule that leaves me with limited free time. I practice at home in my room, where I’m able to close the door, and in doing so, close out the exterior distractions. The more I practice, the more I’ve noticed that I’m able to concentrate on relaxing my body, more so physically than mentally, but for being a fairly tight individual physically, this is a relieving feeling.

    • The audio clip does work, do try using a different browser and know that all the computers in the library work well with the blog. This is important because there will be more audio files from this source for your review and you need to hear all to gain the full context and understanding. Please do care enough for yourself to find 12 minutes daily to take care with the Isha Kriya….OM

  7. In the excerpt read of John McAfee’s “The Secret of the Yamas,” the question that is raised is why we seek to find distractions outside of ourselves so that we can avoid looking inward or being alone with just ourselves, as we actually are in yoga and meditative practices. I have asked myself this several times in the past few years, reflecting on my own habitual need to be in the presence of a friend or my boyfriend or preoccupied with coworkers at work, etc. When I spend a lot of time in isolation for more than two or three days straight, I become really restless and yet unproductive, internally anxious to be engaging with someone via text message or other social media; time over the course of the day passes much slower as I am more hyperaware of it passing, and as a result I end up waking up later and later in the day, reluctant to restart the exhaustive process of a daily cycle. This is not the case, however, when I am around other people — when I stay with friends or live in my apartment on campus with multiple roommates, I am much more motivated to get up earlier, to go out more and prioritize my time/be productive with it, and I am enthusiastic to make meals.

    Though I am aware of this dependency on outside interaction, my impulse is not necessarily that it is a habit to be unlearned. I am ready to learn and actively practice to be alone with myself in order to enable meditation and internal reflection, however I feel a healthy balance in my life that allows me to function productively in the world.

    *Isha Krya: My practice with the Isha Krya this week has been interesting because I burned the palm of my hand as well as two fingers on a hot pan handle in my kitchen, and so meditation seems to amplify or possibly just hone my attention in on the pain of the burn. I have found it very difficult to block out or ignore the pain enough to have a meaningful meditation.

    Whisper Blanchard

    • So sorry to hear about your burn, you must be an awesome cook, all the best cooks have some burns here and there…..and yes you are correct, our meditative times do enhance our intense qualities…such as hunger, anger, pain….until we get to the next level and then we are able to rise above these qualities more easily, so do stay on the path. Have you tried to add honey or rescue remedy cream to the burn?
      Best wishes, OM (thanks for a well written essay)

  8. This audio clip was incredibly calming, supportive and beneficial for me to hear. I could listen to it every morning and likely feel a strong benefit in it’s reminding nature that yoga practitioners and spiritual being are all on the same path to remind themselves and each other that self-discovery and self awareness are key components to thinking clearly and living a life that is reflective and positive or traveling in an upward direction instead of flat-lining. The notion of needing or thinking that you need companionship or distractions to take us away even temporarily from our fear of being alone with ourselves is so important!! Moving too quickly without thinking from one situation to another is not being mindful.
    Discomfort is important sometimes to disconnect from what we know and are comfortable with in order to extend that comfort to the deeper part of ourselves and different intersections and sections of our lives. This sort of thinking is healthy and helpful to our overall daily interactions and way of being in the world. Remembering why we practice yoga and why it was originally developed, not just as an exercise tool is an amazing way to connect with yourself spiritually and connect with the practice. It is a way to honor history and the teachers and practitioners of yoga who came before you.

    Great podcast/audio posting. I really benefitted from hearing this.

  9. I was surprised when I saw John McAfee’s name on this post, I wasn’t expecting such a profound writing about self-realization from a computer programmer. I had to look him up to make sure I wasn’t confusing him with somebody else. I think it’s amazing to hear what a man of science and technology has to say about the process of yoga and meditation. The part that discussed the aspect of the physical practice of yoga playing only a small role in meditation was a great point. The comparison to the car was a great analogy. The inflation of the importance of the physical aspect of yoga is something that I have noticed, even with my minimal knowledge on the topic. People likely put to much time focusing on their physical body that they’re not even considering the deeper potential that yoga could provide, outside of just physical health.

    The idea of that feeling of discomfort during a time of a lack of distractions and “nothing but ourselves” is something that I can relate to very much so. The lack of sounds and sights don’t just bore me, I do feel legitimately uncomfortable when I see or hear nothing going on. As for the hearing, it likely has to do with my tinnitus and my inability to sit in silence without feeling extreme discomfort. But for me, the absolute lack of stimulation (unless that’s what I’m looking for) is highly unpleasant and it’s something that I strive to avoid. I feel like stimulation is very important to my mental health, while at the same time meditation and yoga could become something that will benefit me much more, and allow me to become comfortable with moments of peace and quiet.

    -Matthew Harris

    • You may also become even more surprised if you look for McAfee’s chaotic episodes a few years ago….proving that even an once enlightened person can become lost once choosing to follow people, places and things that are not grounded. This is a very well written, honest journal essay, congrats….do speak with me in class about your personal need for constant stimulation….I gather that you understood from the first class and syllabus that this is a part of the class and if you are willing I think I can help you make a transition. Namaste

  10. I was very surprised to find out that this reading was by John McAfee of McAfee Antivirus. He never really struck me as the most down to earth guy noting his recent behavior and allegations against him. However his words in “The Secrets of the Yamas” were profound.

    The line “The journey of self discovery is often lost or regulated to the category of mysticism”, stuck with me in particular. Self discovery has never really been something at the forefront of my mind, and if it ever was, it was more than likely a misconception of the subject clouded by materialism and the yearning for social approval. Technology, social pressures and societal fear have all played a major role in inhibiting much of modern youth from staying on a dedicated path of self discovery and spiritual fulfillment. These unhelpful points of focus can steer those away from the proper mantra. This audio clip will serve me well in continuing my studies.

    • Yes, I too was surprised when McAfee’s behavior took a wild turn, this book was written years before his manic adventures. However, it only proved to me at any point of ones’ life without proper direction and grounding we can be subject to negative happenings as people, places and things do have power over us. “We become what we think and meditate upon….” Sadly his alliances have led him astray but his writings from the past remain sound. Namaste

  11. I was someone that believed yoga was solely for improving the physical body with poses that would make the body stronger, more flexible, and more limber. It was important to learn while starting the practice of yoga that these are all just side effects of the greater and more important practice of improving your life and becoming more self-aware. I am someone that is constantly seeking distractions. My crushing anxiety/depression often makes tasks seem impossible or unbearable and I have fallen into the habit of filling up every unused minute of my time with social media or TV shows. I am never satisfied with this empty and meaningless time expenditure and know that there are better, healthier, and more successful ways to manage my problems and thoughts, but it has been difficult to find the right method to do so. The more I learn about yoga, the more I believe that this is going to be an extremely important tool for me to implement in my life.

    I have only practiced Isha Kriya once this week. I practiced at night, at around 10pm in my dorm room. I sat up right and cross-legged on my bed with a pillow supporting my back. It was a bit hard to concentrate, since it was my first time practicing on my own, but I found the rhythmic breathing to be very helpful. I often times forget to breathe without even realizing it throughout the day, so it was extremely helpful in reminding me to be conscious of my breathing and even my thoughts. I will make sure to find time in my busy schedule to practice Isha Kriya 3 times a week from now on.

    • Glad you are catching up with your Yoga Journals and your home IK practice is important to keep the yogic vibrations throughout the week, as well to prepare you for the work that happens on the mat in class. OM

  12. As a theatre major, unpacking and analyzing the human experience is a passion of mine. King Lear is one of my favorite plays because it so eloquently portrays how a human can completely crumble if they neglect their truth and focus their energy too highly on outside factors. Yoga is an amazing tool that gives one the space to take time for themselves and to care for and calm and center oneself. Yoga is so much more than a workout at the gym. This excerpt brought to my attention just how severely our species relies on outside forces to stay sane and often even define themselves. It is incredibly important to know who you are alone, without other factors clouding the discovery of your self. If we can achieve a strong self-awareness and are able to remain peaceful when we are with only ourselves, no distractions, we can accept life, the universe’s mystery, and all its value.

  13. I was really excited to hear this reading.
    I find it fascinating that we have explored this world inch by inch, yet none of us find time to be self aware. You see it in religion, yet we rarely discuss it between peers. And nowadays, my generation rarely focuses on religion, as they do not feel connected to it.
    The quest for self awareness is something very important to me, especially as an actor. If you yourself do not know yourself, how can you know others and take on the role of others?
    Without the answers within ourselves we truly don’t connect to our reality. I really agree with that statement. I’ve seen a lot of people lost in their technology and unaware of the reality around them, especially in New York City.
    Yoga has begun to help me understand why I do the things I do. I’ve found during many of our yoga practices in class that I dive deeper into who I am as a person, why I wake up late, what made me the way I am, and the steps I can take to improve it (while also concentrating immensely hard, it’s both a mental work out and a physical one).

  14. Mass media and marketing are always pushing us to want more, making us think that we are not enough or don’t have enough. These advertisements are distractions and chaos from the clarity and peace that we all have within ourselves. They don’t come from a place of love, but a place of greed. Every human can tap into that inner peace through yoga. Looking inward rather than always focusing on the external can bring clarity to our lives, becoming mindful through meditation, or becoming self aware was the original purpose of yoga. This I didn’t know before listening to this excerpt. I believe everyone has the ability to reach that peace within themselves if they open their mind to the possibility.
    In our society we have created external distractions to help us understand the unknown. Holidays like new years are one example of this. Time doesn’t really exist but as a people we felt the need to organize the occurences of our lives. A marker, once every year keeps time moving forward when time is something very much non-linear that we can’t understand.

      • This is a great listen as it opened me up to the deeper meaning of yoga that i wasn’t otherwise aware of. Its interesting to look at the physical aspects of yoga as a side affect of the practice, and how our society tore it apart and constructed it back together leaving out the most important aspect, mindfulness. To have the power and strength to analyze and filter your inner thoughts in a heathy manor. It always fascinates me when i see yogi masters such as, Kazim Gurbuz who have well exceeded the true power of yoga. Its amazing what you can achieve with your mind/body. Its strange living in a world that almost doest allow you to live in your own time and thoughts, within this technological revolution. Media and technology is constantly diverting us and morphing our minds. Yoga is my savior of this, allowing me to discover myself again, and regain child like innocence.

      • Wonderful that you already open and receptive to true classical hatha yoga practices and its benefits, Namaste….check in to make sure I am giving the right person credit when next in class.

  15. I think this except is a wonderful reminder of something each being should have circulating their minds. The physical side effects of yoga only feed our ego, the physical, presented self in which we are manifested. However, the deeper purpose feeds the soul and that is what we should be striving for. The soul, the breath inside of us is far more important. That is not to say we should ignore of physical state altogether, doing so would neglect the house that holds the soul. However, a larger focus of our actions should be on how they benefit us from the inside-out. Three diversions people come to engage with when looking into their deeper selves are fear, loneliness, and critique of of past conditions. Yet, these diversions should not be diversions at all; we must learn to accept them, and keep moving forward in a linear flow. Them, we can come to find ourselves more fully and connect with a deeper consciousness.

  16. I have to say that I thought this audio clip was very informative about why people do yoga. I would say that three types of diversions the people become engaged in are watching tv, going on the internet or just general laziness. These things can become distractions for people to partake in in lieu of time for self-exploration. We just like to distract ourselves.

  17. This reading was a great reminder of the history and true practice of yoga. I have been aware that the practice of yoga was more than just exercise but I often do not allow myself to slow down and think about how to implement the practice in my own life. I will try to take the time to start looking inward and incorporate yoga into my life more. I will try to limit diversions like social media, games and television to allow for more time of self exploration.

  18. Hello,
    Since birth, we find a way to keep ourselves entertained. Through the years with growing technology, there has been less of a need to be bored. When we are bored it leaves us uneasy, instead of creating tools of self-exploration we use less productive instruments. Hiding behind television or cell phones, eating while we’re bored or calling a friend rather than being alone. These are examples that I believe are very popular forms of diversion. I find that being bored is useful, boredom leads to strong moments of self-discovery. It leads to having strong moments of self-reflection and problem-solving skills. This audio recording represents good reasoning to do more self-exploration

  19. I believe that we often feel discomfort when left with ourselves because we have such a detachment with ourselves, which we never wish to admit because then we would expose ourselves as vulnerable. We have convinced ourselves that vulnerability is inherently negative, in that it supposedly makes you a physical and emotional burden to others, and I’d like to think that most of us try to be conscious about our relationship to others (and to our ego, in the more visible sense). Because of this, we put objects and other concepts or things in front of ourselves to project outward into the world, while keeping the tender parts of ourselves hidden away. However, if the inner self is to be compared to, say, a plant, we recognize that all plants need air and sunshine, so if we neglect to take care of our inner selves then we will only allow our insecurities to brown our leaves and dry out our soil. Therefore, when we check on ourselves after an extended period of time, we find that we are damaged and malnourished.
    I believe that humans constantly distract themselves because we fear being left alone with ourselves (and this is not just a philosophical concept; humans left in an extended solitary state can sustain serious brain damage), and therefore, as I stated previously, we place something between our physical consciousness and our inner selves as a safety barrier. Some of these diversions would be constant companionship (or the more generalized fear of being alone), obsession with your job/work (the brain does not have much more space to process reflective thoughts), and destructive behavior such as drug abuse. These probably hold a simple explanation: if humans are beings based largely on comfortable routine, then repetition ensures safety, as the brain holds a universal power that we do not always wish to consciously face. Therefore, we turn to something neutral or destructive, but predictable, as a response to this fear of the unconscious self.
    Since I often try to think of myself in relation to my environment, I think about the way I constructed my living space at the beginning of the semester. There’s a separation from this year and the previous year. I was conscious about how I used the wall space compared to last year (it is much less cluttered) and also brought in several plants (yes, again, plants) to stand on the windowsill and bring energy and clean oxygen into the entire space.

    • Thanks for taking the time to write a worthy journal! I love that you are in-tune with the plant world and are consciously organizing your space and world, so wonderful that you are a part of our class, Namaste

  20. The way I interpret this reading is how the act of self discovery is a conscious process, one which is easy to be taken away from as our world grows more focused on vapid, sensory pleasures and ideals that may exist more as trends than anything else. We may view ourselves as idealistic, yet our unwillingness to invest our mind and body wholly into an ideal we may identify strongly with is yet another detriment towards our journey towards self discovery. By including the concept of ideals and relationships, as well as activities as seemingly banal as entertainment or watching television, McAfee makes a case for the pervasive nature of distraction, how it can permeate every degree of our being.
    This then also becomes a matter of repetition, of not allowing one’s self discovery to be an isolated event. Perhaps this is why religious leaders ask their followers to look inward, knowing they’ll comply on a daily basis, in accordance with their religion’s practices. However, as religion becomes to be viewed as more arbitrary as time moves on, more focus is then placed on the individual for this journey, yet it can remain difficult with society’s preoccupation with indulgent distractions. That is why it is optimal to practice at least once a week, hopefully as well as multiple times outside of the classroom, to ensure this self discovery is consistent and pure.

  21. The constant presence of “information” (hardly any of it is actually beneficial) makes it incredibly difficult to take time and look within. There are very few moments in one’s day where they can find peace and quiet, exploring their own minds and bodies. YouTube videos have become a great source of external noise one can listen to will working on other tasks. So much of society today is layers upon layers of images and sound, to quote Macbeth “signifying nothing.” In addition to YouTube, the way apps on phones constantly send notifications creates a sort of Pavlov effect where one gets conditioned to check their phone, making one’s attention span a fraction of what it should be. The pervasiveness of longing to be accepted by social media “friends” also makes it incredibly difficult to take time for oneself, since they are spending so much time worrying about what others think.

  22. I didn’t know much about yoga prior to the class. The one thing I did know is kind of misinformation. Anyone I know who has done yoga has been a ll about the poses and the physical strength. They brag on social media about their flexibility or the cool new pose they can do. The yoga they take part in is doing very little to ease their minds or reduce stress. I really didn’t know that yoga was about ones mind equallly, if not more so, as it is about the body.

    People constantly find excuses to not be within their own mind. I know millions of people who simply cannot sit in a silent room and must fill their heads with constant music and other people’s words. I know others who watch a TV show while running or doing a simple task which also leaves no time for thought. People also play video games for hours now a days when they are bored which takes them out of their own head and out of the real world as well. I believe all of these diversions are pretty conscious and only slightly subconscious.

  23. I found the comments from John McAfee’s book to be very insightful especially since I know very little of yoga practices and its history. I do find that in the introduction to the practice, I am seeing the concept of attachment to materialistic items to be very true. I find it difficult to detach myself from certain things such as my phone (which has almost become a necessity today) as well as social media as others have mentioned. I have tried to do ‘cleanses’ (deactivating social media accounts for a certain period of time) and found that I cannot stay off very long because so much communication occurs through those mediums.

    In response to the second question, I have found for me personally (and likely others as well) these three things are the biggest distractors when we are practicing deep relaxation and have the opportunity for self-reflection:

    1) Noises outside or around the building- I tend to be easily distracted by small noises that will easily throw off my concentration. I am hoping to increase my levels of concentration this semester as it will help in other aspects of my life.

    2) Self-consciousness- Often I find my mind drifting to thoughts of “Am I in the correct position?” or “Am I breathing correctly?” and this detracts the effectiveness for my time for self-exploration. I tend to be a self-conscious person and hope to move away from that as for me it is a great inhibitor of moving in the right direction.

    3) Thoughts drifting to other areas of my life- In class, when we are lying down and focusing on breathing, I often find that rather than focusing of my breathing and inner self as I should be, I am thinking of other things that I need to do later in the day or in the future such as
    “I need to do laundry today” or “Note to self: I have to be at work by 2 today.” This ties in closely with #1 addressing my lack of resistance to outside distractors and is something I hope to work on for self-improvement.

    • Thanks for an excellent journal, written as a college level essay! Thanks for being honest about your own experiences and know that for most new to yoga this is par for the course. I can promise you that you will develop higher concentration powers and don’t worry too much about doing the practice perfectly. Each week you will re-visit and add on to your practice and it will build naturally. Learning to be mindful begins with the awareness of how we clutter, use and misuse our thoughts, and then only then, we may consciously choose to experience our greater selves in stillness, great to have you in the class, OM

  24. The constant need to be checking social media can keep one from enjoying time alone or with friends. Nowadays is it normal to go out with friends and spend a good chunk of the time checking up on what is going somewhere else rather than focusising on the conversation with those around. The fear of missing out keeps people from enjoying the time spent alone or with others. Dating just for the sake of not being alone is also another diversion people engage with instead of using the time to focus on oneself. I have seen some of my friends date people they aren’t even insterested in just to avoid spending time alone. People focus on trying to be perfect in every aspect of life, always doing things to please others. Caring about the opinions of others and trying to keep up with current trends can also keep one from focusing on hobbies that one enjoys.

    • You’ve brought up a very true reality that many are afraid to be alone. Wouldn’t it be great if mindfulness was an experience in schools from middle school onwards so that young folks would cherish their own quiet time, thanks for your comments, OM

  25. I was taken away by the atmosphere this audio and reading provided. The calming, beneficial words opened my eyes to what yoga does for a human physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I originally believed yoga was only for improving the physical body. Poses that would make the body more flexible, stronger and grounded. However, I was mistaken, and found a wonderful spiritual component. According to John McAfee, we must look inward for self-exploration. Being part a science field, I take great sympathy and respect reading about what he believes. Furthermore, the technology, society and social factors all have played a major part in influencing much of today’s society from remaining on a path of self discovery and spiritual fulfillment. As well as the general public just being uneducated in these areas of life that could potentially be very beneficial.

  26. Having responsibilities is a type of diversion from spending time on self exploration. Work, personal, and social responsibilites are incredibly engaging and demanding for most people. A busy work load at school, for instance, will eat up most of my time. While the rest of my day is used for personal and social responsibilities. It’s often more pressing to take care of personal health, relationships, and the usual hurdles/challenges that come with managining these three responsibilities.
    Self exploration still remains important, but, tending to diversions is often a bigger priority for me.

  27. I think self-exploration and discovery is an important aspect of an individuals life because we all come from such different backgrounds and walks of life, and our greater purpose or relationship with the universe will definitely be unique to us. It is interesting that John McAfee, a man of science, could have such great perspective on spirituality and ones relationship with the world around them.

    It was interesting that Shakespeare’s King Lear was brought up and how is lack of self-awareness was what ultimately lead to his demise. As a playwriting major, it is important to gage how well characters know themselves. Because often times, this goes on to affect all action in the play.

    Overall the podcast/recording was very informative and interesting.

  28. Before I I dive in, I would like to start off by saying I was surprised to see that the provided reading would come from John Mcafee, the computer software extraordinaire. I truly felt that the reading was insightful and mind opening, especially when the reading touches upon receiving peace of mind in todays modern age. As mentioned in the reading, “mass media, entertainment, television and i.e”, has taken away our senses, numbing us to the physical world around us. Instead, we seek pleasure and leisure from these modern day distractions, hoping to feel connected, but in reality, further ourselves from reconnecting with our roots. As expressed, Yoga may be seen as a way to become more flexible, stronger, or healthier, but the deeper focus lies within one(s) mind. I would be a strong example of someone who assumed yoga to be a physical test of knowing ones own body, but it is also about the awareness of ones mind. For one who has a strong will can most likely push past the limitations that your body has set. Signing off, I would like to leave with a quote from the reading which I presumed rather relatable. The quote states, as if “Having a find automobile (our body) while understanding nothing about it or its purpose. We may appreciate sitting in it or showing it off, but we miss its value.” I find this relatable because, if we don’t come to learn our body and mind, we won’t ever appreciate it for what it is.

  29. Diversions from Self Exploration
    1. Most Jobs (Depending on the work)
    2. Internet surfing.
    3. Watching the News.

    I agree that it is very difficult to place oneself outside the immediate physical experience from yoga, especially if new to the various stretches and poses. The tension and feeling on the musicals can certainly distract ones mind from total self-awareness and directs there concessions on landing the poses properly. However i also agree that with steady practice, these problems can be minimized allowing one to possibly experience the full range of yoga.

  30. In my own life I often find myself distracted, and my mind is always busy thinking about the next thing I am going to do. I am very easily bored if my mind is not busy doing something. Things like television, relationships, and hobbies are all things that pull myself, and many others from self exploration. We find ourselves distracted from our own minds, and even uncomfortable when spending time with our own thoughts.

    Yoga allows us to pull away from our modern lives and allows us to spend time with our body and thoughts. After hearing this excerpt from the book I find that I want to spend time knowing myself and spending time with my thoughts. I know that I am easily bored, but I think that I can redirect my thoughts from being bored towards knowing myself better. I am excited even to continue on this self exploration journey.

  31. Diversions from Self Exploration:
    1. Social Media
    2. Materialistic things
    3. Lack of beliefs

    I believe my general is consumed and influenced by mass media, television and the news. We forget how to voice our own opinions and make our own decisions. We are conformed into “groups,” and we are “judged” on our values and beliefs. I was able to study abroad last semester in Europe and this experience broadened my views on cultural values and self- exploration. I took time to wander, without having a clear destination. I took time to go to museums and educate myself on art and history. I found that this time abroad taught me how to make personal and conscious decisions. I found my voice and I strengthened my beliefs.

  32. The speaker discusses the many advancements of humanity, but she discusses many of the distractions in contemporary culture such as social media. Things like having a job and other responsibilities can also be a diversion from self-exploration. She asks, “Why we are so drawn to television”. She also asks why many people feel unpleasant when they are alone with no distractions. I’ve wondered this same thing about myself. I find it difficult to read for long periods of time because the silence starts to bother me. After watching this video, I’ve been inspired to start doing a few solitary activities every day to reflect on the day. I also believe that yoga and meditation is a really great activity to reflect in a peaceful silence. The recent yoga and meditation that I’ve done has made me feel much more self-aware and at peace with my thoughts.

    -Noah Schmitz

  33. Before learning about yoga I never anticipated the immense level of discipline it requires. I plainly viewed the practice as a basic means of relaxation. During the first class I was so tempted to leave due to fatigue. Luckily I did not and the inner body awareness really helped me cope with difficult feelings, primarily those that ensued from transitioning back to school. I must say, the energy that can be acquired from focusing on the inner body is powerful!! Additionally, seeking inner peace free from conditions is liberating. By conditions I’m referring to external entities which we may depend on for happiness such as food, material things, or even the “perfect” relationship. Since inner peace is not perpetually guaranteed through conditions, we should not rely on them for maintain a peaceful state of being or happiness. Yoga may therefore serve as a crucial practice for daily functioning which requires no conditions. Although this class will definitely be a challenge, if I continue to observe inner-body sensations as they are meant to be observed, my mental, social and physical health will improve.

    • A much better Journal entry, so it seems that you may have listened to the first audio assignment, can’t tell because you haven’t made any references. However, your honest personal evaluation is priceless, hope you choose to stay on the Yogic Path, because it seems you are ripe for the practice, OM

  34. While listening, this information automatically reminded me of a book I read “Lost in the Cosmos” by Walker Percy. He mentions several philosophies of the self. For example: selfs relation to the world; self relation to other selves; identity of self; motion of self vis a vis; and placement (mood of self). Not only does he force one to think of these ideas, but he also mentions ways the self can transform.
    1) transformation by disguise
    2) transformation by geographical travel
    3) transformation by sexual travel
    4) transformation by returning home after exile/ travel
    5) transformation by Eastern “New Age”
    6) transformation by reentering and exiting forever (suicide)

    Through several different ideas, philosophies, and readings I can truthfully admit that I have performed several of these transformations. I have attempted to look deeply in myself to understand these philosophies. I believe that as an artist, a transcending self, one place is as good as any other place to the degree that it provides the immanent raw materials (flowers, paint, art, books, and inspirations).

    I will admit though that there are moments that I have diverted from this self exploration. It is due to an almost inevitable doom in todays society. Unfortunately, social media, technologies, and jobs are driving todays world. Through these mechanical time consuming routines it has become more difficult to delve into spiritual journeys.

  35. It is only since I have started college that I have realized how easily I am distracted from focusing on my self and personal health. It is because I have taken time to examine what ails me that I have discovered health issues with doctors and been able to make strides in treatment. We live in a modern world with many comforts and distractions that allow us to focus on material pleasures rather than appreciating the gift of life and all it’s worth. I find that my investment in keeping up with current events as a journalism major has a way of minimizing my personal needs. It is easy to lose yourself when you are constantly thinking of all the minor events going on around you. Finding the intersection between the personal sphere and that of the larger society in vital to building environmental awareness. I also follow a number of popular TV programs, as someone who is interested in film and media. This also allows me to ignore stress that surrounds me, instead of facing it head on and getting to the root. Practices such as this allow stress to build as it goes unnoticed in the background until it is too late. Consuming drugs and alcohol is yet another escapist route we take to relieve momentary stress, but it is very much like a bandaid that falls off before the stress is healed.

    Like yoga, a good way to face stress head on for me is connection with nature. I find that when I explore an unknown forest, or even walk down a familiar trail, a huge weight is lifted. It allows me to realize I am part of a natural world entirely separate from my material wants and needs. I am able to function autonomously apart from the 21st century technology and culture that engulfs us in information and advertising. Not only is it an act of physical exercise, it is a way of establishing a connection to the self and inner consciousness. Yoga allows for the same type of experience but does not require a seclusion in a natural location. It is an escape to the inner self.

  36. I have felt very strongly for a long time that the solution to the myriad external problems of the world, such as inequality and environmental disaster lies in deep personal internal work. In every direction we turn, we find a distraction, whether it is a mindless distraction such as watching a tv show, or a seemingly productive distraction like going to work. What is hard to keep in mind is that these are truly all distractions, and I believe it is important to acknowledge them as such, even if we then continue to engage in them.
    Personally, I have been living a very distracted lifestyle, these past few weeks and months even more so than usual. I have been using such things as social media, television, planning for the future to distract myself from my own presence. I have had a wonderful opportunity these past few weeks to be caring for a young boy of 2.5 years for 5 hours a day. This has been a challenging job for me because there is nothing to distract or entertain me. We don’t listen to recorded music or watch television, we hardly ever even read books together. I don’t look on my phone to check facebook or instagram. Instead the little boy brings me into his world of joyful observation and interest in his surroundings through play. For him there is nothing besides the present moment, and he has been a wonderful teacher, helping me to remember to find joy and dignity in quiet, simple activities.
    I hope that I can bring more of this simplicity into my life outside of my work with him, and learn to better appreciate and be present to my surroundings. The recording is a wonderful reminder of the truth I know to be true, that knowing myself is the true solution to any worries or anxieties I have in my life.
    Amelia Schaaf

  37. The audio excerpt above was filled with very important information on why people need to take time out of their day and practice yoga. A few diversions people give into that distract them from self-exploration are spending too much time on social media, Internet and video games. We also need to realize that we have to take time out of our days so we can get reduce the stress of our daily responsibilities. I personally will be trying to incorporate more yoga into a daily responsibility in order to help reduce my stress and practice self-exploration.

  38. The speaker has some interesting insight as to why our culture finds it hard to slow down, be at peace with ourselves, and find time to think deeply. As Patanjali states, “The union of the various parts of the mind is gained through control of the mind…” This insight is important when considering yoga as a practice to increase self awareness, and not just a trendy activity.

    Work, social media, and school are three distractions that can cause a person to ignore self exploration. Although all three are important in some form, I believe that the exploration of oneself is important when seeking fulfilment. Before enrolling in this class I found myself turning to my phone instead of being content with silence, or solitude. Often we as a society do not give ourselves a chance to think pensively. I look forward to exploring my creativity and the depths of my mind through yoga and meditation.

  39. This audio was extremely thought provoking. The three types of diversion mentioned were entertainment, mass media and sophisticated marketing. It was very interesting what was said about how these distractions that we create or involve ourselves in create obstacles in our journey of self discovery. That we become lost. That we become too preoccupied with “unravelling the genetic make up of life” that it constricts our own freedoms.

    I think this is particularly true when we make excuses for why we cant mediate or even exercise because we are so busy. While that may be true, as the audio stated when we go to further into the external world we neglect ourself internally. I think this can have critical effects, when we do not check in with ourselves, without any revelation or understanding we are missing out a key aspect of ourselves, mindfulness. I agree that we should not downplay self consciousness and that the physical byproducts of yoga are just that and not the only benefits and to truly reap these benefits we must be more self aware and self conscious to the practice.

    Yasmin Josiah

  40. While undertaking self exploration, 3 of the most common diversions that occur are thoughts of money, sex, and one’s particular set of skills or trade. These thoughts flood our space and prevent us from going beyond “body and mind”, and really opening up our true sense of self. Thus preventing us from uncovering the most hidden aspects of our sense of self, inhibiting our growth as a spiritual entity, and leaving our energy confused and disoriented. This leaves us will no real guidance for self exploration, and the search for the self remains in vain until the individual can relieve themselves of these common diversions.

    This passage made me much more aware of how important it is to have a strong sense of self, and how crucial it is to know what your sense of self is, before you go trying to build on it, or reinvent yourself. No one can ever reveal to you what your true sense of self really is. Only through a fearless and painstaking journey away from our “body and mind” and into our spiritual world of guided energy can we find the strength within ourselves to reveal our true self and bring out the being within.

  41. In modern times people have so many outlets to turn to for distractions and stimulations to avoid dealing with self. Connecting with self is an ever evolving relationship that takes patience, accountability and open mindedness, which can be frightening for some who aren’t ready to strengthen the inner self. Instead people fill themselves with various distractions.

    Three Types of Diversions addressed in this post are:

    1. Televison/Film
    2. Social Media Outlets
    3. Social Meetings (Parties, Relationships, etc.)

    The constant practice of Yoga has allowed me to make more conscious decisions and listen to what my body needs to function at its highest ability.

  42. The part of the audio that caught my attention most was when the questions arose: specifically, why do we feel discomfort when we are left with nothing but ourselves? I think in today’s society that is a huge problem. I agree that without understanding yourself, the solutions to those questions will not come easily. It is easier and easier to pile a lot on your plate and push away or not dedicate enough time to really figuring out yourself and your feelings, which will have a negative effect on your life over time. I try to appreciate and spend a lot of time by myself, but it does require difficult questions and sometimes you aren’t ready to truly understand yourself because you are too sucked up in your external distractions. The top 3 diversions that people become engaged with the most, in my opinion, are relationships, friendships, and extracurriculars. Especially in young people, I feel that with college comes a pressure to “do it all” and involve yourself or participate in way too many activities to prove that you are well-rounded. I have also experienced all of these diversions throughout my life, finding relationships and social networking almost exhausting when you always have to split your time.

  43. I rarely find myself in a state of conscious self-awareness. It is because of the conveniences of our society and the expectations that come along with it that I am never truly aware of myself. As mentioned in the audio, technology, mass media, entertainment, and advanced marketing techniques are something present in our lives 24/7. To have a moment of self-discovery is rare to nonexistent because of it. While I personally enjoy the hustle and bustle of life, I am also depriving myself of some much-needed self-awareness. Originally, I had seen yoga as something to improve my physical health. Like the book says, this is only a “side effect” of yoga and the original intent was the awareness brought from the individual. Yoga’s image today is seen as something only a certain group of people can do and has been tarnished by “sophisticated marketing”. It is an unfortunate reality that the original message of yoga has been lost in the modern world, but hopefully this message of mindfulness and conscious self-discovery will reach the masses.

  44. Listening to this was eye opening. I knew yoga helped relax the body clearing my mind of all thoughts to focus on my breathing and the words was difficult for me. I’m getting better than the first time I tried it the frist. I want to explore what yoga can do for me. As I take my journey pf self discovery i open myself to learning something new. I have set myself small goal I hope to accomplish as I progress.

  45. I find that as human beings we seek distractions for many reasons. Often times I feel that we draw our attentions outwards due to a spiritual feeling of lack. A lack of love and self knowledge lends to an overall sense of discontentment, and such a feeling that stems from emptiness is endless and deep. That is why I believe there is so much greed, jealousy, anger, and selfishness.
    One of the major distractions people turn to is the lives of others. We become obsessed with the lives of celebrities and fictitious characters. I believe that this is an escape, a way to feel better about ourselves. People revel in the struggles of those we admire because we feel we are not alone, and we envy the success of other because we feel we cannot have our own.
    Another distraction is social media. Everyone including myself become unnecessarily invested in appearances and the way people view us. We value the appearance of personal wealth over the power of spiritual wealth. Because we all struggle to cultivate a relationship with ourselves, we put up these masks in the hope that no one else will see what we feel we lack.
    A final distraction are responsibilities. We become so invested in the things we feel we MUST do whether it’s because we have convinced ourselves so or the pressures of society and our loved ones push us to do so. We spend so much time doing what we feel we MUST that we forget to do what we want. This way of burying ourselves in responsibilities and problems allows us to ignore our inner message and actually pay attention to who we truly are within.
    All in all I find that if we were all able to look within and give ourselves the attention we allow so many other things to have, we would do an incredible amount of healing and self realization. I feel that as a whole we fear being incomplete or imperfect, and most of all we fear the power we have denied ourselves. If we were to look within and realize that we are greater than this physical form, then we would realize we have suffered so long for naught. We would leave the jobs we hate and the people who do not serve our greater purpose. And in my experience humans are very attached to what we feel we have worked hard at. We fear failure and lack, and it drives us to create a divide within ourselves. One that we try to mend with outside distractions, but in essence can only healed with our own self awareness and love.

  46. After listening to this I feel like it gave me a deeper meaning and appreciation of the importance of meditation and yoga in my life. It’s rare in today’s society to just tune the world out and focus on ones being without any outside distractions. It really helps to put things into perspective on how we are so much more than social media likes, hate, racism just everything overall us as powerful beings of the universe and cosmos. It shows how important your energy and the energy you keep around is a powerful force that constantly needs to be nurtured and a priority in ones life.

  47. Listening to this was eye opening. I knew yoga helped relax the body clearing my mind of all thoughts to focus on my breathing and the words was difficult for me. I’m getting better than the first time I tried it the frist. I want to explore what yoga can do for me. As I take my journey pf self discovery i open myself to learning something new. I have set myself small goal I hope to accomplish as I progress. This audio reminded me of my daily affirmations i read to get through the day. I think the way we deal with relationships has a great impact on how we view ourselves and others. It prevents us from being the besy versions of who we are. If we don’t find out of the day to release from the world in order to function better, we’re essentially hurting ourselves in the long run.

  48. This audio clip gave me some wise words about the five condition of the Yamas. The five conditions of the Yamas are: Non violence, Non Stealing, Chastity, Absence of greed and truthfulness. It is interesting because it relates so much to my journey in life. I have been having a difficult time with staying abstinent and not being greedy when it comes to money while also trying to tell the truth more. I have always been a truthful person, a very innocent person. But, a lot has happened that has stunted me in growing as a better person. It is true it is the rule of behavior and in most social philosophies, but most of us don’t follow these rules. This is part of the reason why so many of us are suffering now. We don’t realize it because we are so self consumed. We don’t ever get the chance to look into our soul. Tupac once said that most people can’t look into their eyes when they are looking at the mirror. This is because they are afraid to face their souls. They don’t know their true self and that is the obstacle I am dealing with.

    The Yamas are here to help change and transform us into being a better version of ourselves. It helps us become greater. Yes, discipline is needed when learning how to become more loving, stronger and flexible in our meditation practices, but the love has to naturally be there. One has to naturally be loving, by following the five conditions of the Yamas. It is by doing it through little things such as teaching self how to become more love by focusing on that energy while meditating. There is a thin line between what we are and what we want to become. If we want to become someone who is down to earth, then we have to meditate towards that. You can’t pretend because pretending will only stunt your growth in your journey.

    • Powerful! An excellent Yoga Journal Essay wherein: you reviewed the subject matter, added your opinion and own experiences and offered related sources and sited your sources. Thanks for sharing our class, OM

  49. This reading was interesting and I felt myself relating to many of the ideas mentioned. Too often when I’m stressed or anxious, I resort to scrolling through my phone for quick entertainment and that instant gratification that social media grants us. Recently, I lost my phone and had to wait a few weeks for an upgrade so I could get a new one. During that period of time, I was forced to stay present both in reality and in myself. I didn’t have the quick escape that a mini-computer in my pocket could provide. I definitely felt more in touch both with my body and feelings, but also my environment.

    My work and my intra-personal relationships can also serve as distractions for personal exploration and introspection. I tend to let these two things dictate my mood, If I feel like I didn’t work enough throughout the day, I feel unfulfilled. Which I don’t think is a bad thing, but it can lead to me being unnecessarily hard on myself. As far as relationships, I worry a lot about the way I present myself. I think this is something that is quite normal as well, but it definitely causes me to think about the wrong things in regards to the introspection mentioned in the reading. I tend to be hard on myself immediately, not giving myself any breathing room or time to learn why these things are happening in my mind, and this is very much to my own detriment.

  50. This reading from Secret of the Yamas explains the relationship between yoga and the mind, body, and spirit. Yoga has incredible physical benefits but it also promotes a deeper understanding of the self. This reading also delves into the complexity of quieting the mind. There is always something to think about that keeps the mind running constantly. As a culture we are in a never-ending state of stimulation, through television, music, movies, cell phones, and day to day life. We consciously put our phones down when we are sick at staring at a screen, only to unconsciously pick the phone back up after a minute without even thinking. Through the practice of yoga it is possible to learn to quiet the mind so that higher self-awareness can be attained. It can be a very difficult thing to do when there’s so much going on in our day to day lives, but like anything else with practice it can be achieved. Even if you can’t necessarily quiet your mind, you can learn to treat thoughts and sensations as fleeting moments that wash right over you with little to no consideration. You can choose to decide to think about those things at a later time.

    Catherine Halstead

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s