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


351 responses »

  1. I really enjoyed this reading from The Secret of The Yamas. It is so true that as people, we are so interested in learning about the world theoretically and scientifically, and unraveling the genetic makeup of life. Yet, we pay much less time to internal the roots of greed and fear, when they are just as pressing to the human condition as external and superficial stressors. In this particular time in history where we are overwhelmed with technology, three particular diversions are social media, constant online marketing and time wasters (like clickhole articles with no real purpose). These distract us from purposeful and meaningful self exploration.

    McAfee suggests we throw ourselves outward into the world to avoid ourselves, but we feel discomfort when we are left alone with ourselves. I think it is also important to find joy in the necessary activities of life (and in those we enjoy doing), but equally important to feel good and joyful when left alone with ourselves.

    I found the point about the true benefits of yoga to be the most interesting part of this reading. Flexibility and physical health are the main benefits society associates with yoga, but to true yogis these are only side effects. The true benefits of yoga are found in our consciousness and mind.

    Anneliese Treitmeier-McCarthy

  2. The audio clip was quite relaxing and the “Secret of the Yamas”, explains our relationships with diversions that overlaps ourselves practicing self-exploration. With yoga, it has opened a new lense to see through for myself, that I haven’t seen before. Social media has been a distraction for myself for most of my life because my generation grew with developing technology. Recently, with yoga and practicing IK in my dorm room, it has stimulated my mind to look within myself and become more self aware of the environments surrounding me. This past weekend, my phone reset and all my information, photos, apps, and contacts all deleted. I was so stressed about the malfunction, but I practice IK and I took the time to realize that I shouldn’t respond in anger because my life on social media doesn’t reflect my true self in real life. I realized technology is not benefiting my physical or mental health and since I haven’t used my phone for 2 days, I’ve had extra time to organize my schedule and do all my work, which I would often push until the day it’s due. I want to achieve a life without superficial media and develop a deeper understanding of myself.
    Melenie Warner

  3. I definitely understand why people can get caught up in attempting to self-explore. People often try to find meaning where there is none. We have the tendency to hide from things we don’t’ like, as well as only gravitating toward what we do. as we explore this convoluted mess that is our lives i is important to remember what you discuss in the audio file. that Yoga is simply a means towards self-healing. when we understand these simple truths it allows users to open up different avenues of self-healing that we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to see. yoga is a very interesting practice in that it allows us to understand our bodies in a way seems to completely overshadow modern medicine in its precise understanding of how the human body works.

  4. This reading is very captivating for me personally, as I have within the past few years been taking the journey inward very seriously. My mentality is very important to me and I often think in terms of emotion and cause and effect when communicating. I definitely am in agreement with the belief that the general population is thinking too much in terms of consumption, instant gratification, and the external world over the internal. I believe personally that these external aspects of life are of equal importance to the internal, and especially in the past year have been trying to find a balance between the two that best suits my mental well-being.

  5. As a person with a passion for theatre, the ideas of self-exploration and the discoveries of meaning behind people’s actions and emotions are definitely interesting to me. Some of the practices in theatre, such as acting, are geared toward understanding yourself and others. In the audio reading of “The Secret of Yamas,” John McAfee mentions the question of “why do we feel discomfort when all distractions have ceased and we are left with nothing but ourselves?” The distractions we face daily, such as books, TV, and cellphones, are often embedded into our everyday lives and we hardly ever take the time to reflect inward. I have noticed that in my study of theatre and literature, the same question McAfee mentions is often brought up. Along with that question are more inquiries into the human condition. I believe that the ideas of self-discovery and self-consciousness can be found in threads among many other disciplines besides yoga.

    I think that learning how to access my consciousness and “control” my mind through yoga can not only benefit myself but also improve my understanding of other disciplines. I only knew of the external benefits of yoga before coming into this class. Like many others I was under the impression that the poses in yoga were the main part of the practice, which McAfee proves to be wrong. Now that I’ve listened to the audio reading and read the other posts about yoga, I am beginning to understand the crucial importance of looking internally and asking myself the hard questions that McAfee refers to. I hope as the semester progresses that my understanding of yoga and its ideologies continues to deepen.

  6. In “The Secrets of the Yamas”, McAfee explores the deeper meaning of yoga. He talks about electronics, books, or any other objects or persons that distracts us from ourselves. McAfee brings up the question of “What will we do with ourselves when all those objects or persons are taken away from us?”. All we have is ourselves in the end and we have to truly understand who we are. It gives people the idea to discover who they are through yoga, which is a discipline that helps with self-realization. It is scary to be by yourself, facing your fears but yoga helps with the process. Furthermore, McAfee made a point that people need to take the initiative of self-realization instead of waiting to be stripped of their distractions.

    Yoga is slowly becoming a part of my life. I am trying to incorporate yoga into my daily schedule without feeling forced to do because its required. I noticed when I am doing Isha Kriya, it is the only time where I am by myself. I’m alone and I have little to no distracts. I focus on myself and try to relax my mind.


  7. The quest of self conscouness and reflection is a mature thing to do. Gotama Buddha answers that suffering comes from impermanence. He also, like the yogis, tried to tame the “monkey mind” through Jhana, or breathing meditation. McAfee is right to say that external gradification is a distraction, the first of three hinderences I will document. When one is trying to either subconsciously or consciously not self reflect, they distract themselves through various types of procrastination. The second hinderence is denial. One will deny their flaws or the root of their suffering or rationalize them away. The final hinderence is despair. This comes when someone feels helpless once they recognize the problem instead of doing something proactive to change it(like, let’s say howabout, meditate).

  8. The audio reading from John McAfee opened my eyes about the mechanisms we use in everyday life to ignore the bigger questions of the self. Our society has a working knowledge of scientific progress but we are almost completely unaware of our inner motives. We have a knowledge of understanding in mankind but we do not have a working knowledge of self awareness. I have experienced a certain chaos which comes about from this world of ever modifying technology. I enjoy the easiness and convenient nature of having my phone, laptop, and television, but i know these are all distractions: distractions from self revelation, or distractions from my schoolwork. The fastness which helps me also makes it incredibly hard to slow down, to focus on ones selfhood instead of focusing inward. We throw ourselves into our technologies and look for so many activities to do to distract our minds from the self. This is easy in a society where so many items of distraction are possible to experience.

    We must address this problem of technology and the self. Yoga is an attempt to answer to this question of how to truly address ourselves. This self revelation breeds a true understanding through self awareness. We must gain control through our own mind and nurture the practice of yoga. Yoga is not only to increase one’s physical prowess, it is misinterpreted as purely a physical act- when really it gains a true understanding and helps answer these difficult questions. I know that my experience of self and especially ‘fastness’ has been modified because of yoga. I have become a little more aware of what I need and what my body needs. Yoga has aided in my ability to listen intently to my body.

  9. I really enjoyed listening to the audio clip. It was very informative because it explains how people can lose their way in life trying to look for something that wasn’t part of their destiny and it is just desired that restrict our freedom. I think it is important to find who you are as a person so you know what type of person you are but it shouldn’t lead into the wrong path thinking things like, seek large entertainments, and jump from one relationship to another, one idea to another, and if none of these things are happening people shouldn’t feel discomfort and feel left with only their thoughts. What I got from this audio file was that everyone goes through these reasons as listed because instead of looking for themselves inside them they look for it in distractions and short-term comfort. Self-exploration I feel from experience is better to find once you start taking care of yourself and your health for your benefit and not the people around you; as in the audio clip it asked why people seek large groups and entertainments, at least for me, I feel people do that in order to feel to be a part of something even if they don’t know anyone there to vice versa. Because, being in a specific group automatically, in society, groups you into what type of person you are instead of yourself as an individual. In regards to yoga, this audio clip helps with the concentration part because with a clear mind an not worrying about the decisions you think you need to make to be a certain person you can feel the mind wander off only healthy thoughts.

  10. I found this reading very interesting, mainly due to the fact that it questioned the reasons why we as human beings in this day and age are so obsessive over finding every way that we can to escape being quiet and intimate with ourselves. I know it did not say this in the passage, however, I feel that we as people rely on these methods as a means of escapism, just as those we refer to as, “drug addicts” rely on substances to escape their reality. Even as we practice Yoga, as stated in the text, we still do not use it for what it was meant to be used for, that being to sit and become familiar with ourselves, something we are constantly encouraged to do the opposite of in this society, being that it is so heavily media flooded. This does encourage me to further look within myself when practicing yoga, I must admit it is a frightening thing to face all that is held within oneself, especially in front of other people. This is something that I find I would feel more comfortable doing in my spare time.

  11. The audio clip discusses how yoga is used as a path to self-reflection, self-discovery and mindfulness. The chapter cites our technological and media centered world as reasons we have left these practices by the wayside. The author specifically cites television, social media and scientific discovery as distraction from the introspective self discovery that yoga practice can provide. The ideas presented state that one can look inside oneself to discover the roots of their own fear, jealousy, and desires. This is cited to be the main focus of yoga practice, the physical aspects of increased health, and strength are said by McAfee, to just be side effects of the practice.

    In other classes that I’ve taken, particularly philosophy classes, the discussion of how the discovery of the self and questions relating to being has become almost obsolete in contemporary intellectual discussion. It seems that the focus on the self has been overtaken by the logos of scientific discovery. However, I am a strongly in favor of using self-reflection and self discovery, although anxiety inducing explorations for many (including myself), to bring further mindfulness to ones life. Using yoga as a healing tool and exploratory tool is important, and has been proven to work.

  12. The excerpt from McAfee’s book was very thought-provoking. Indeed there seems to be a very stark duality between the external (physical) world versus the internal (spiritual) world. Worldly things—hobbies/activities; entertainment such as television, music, video games; drugs and alcohol; socialization; carnal things like food and sex—often these things serve as distractions from achieving our inner balance. While that is not to say that all of these things are inherently bad, they often serve as distractions and are used as a crutch when we are emotionally or mentally unbalanced. Personally I am as guilty as the next person of abusing these external stimuli. Further, though it is true that many of these things have legitimately helped me find peace when I was distressed or anxious, I would agree that it is important to have the inner balance to find that peace, to approach the external world consciously and deliberately rather than from a position of desperation, because there may come a time when I do not have such things to help me rebalance myself. In that sense freeing oneself from the yoke of worldly distractions is a form of spiritual liberation.

  13. This audio clip truly opened my eyes to just how humans divert their attention from seeking inner truth. Some diversions I know I myself participate in are constant cell phone usage, checking my email literally every 10 minutes, watching television in the background of spending time on my own, etc. The average person touches their phone 2,617 times a day ( and I know I probably touch mine more than just the average person due to my age range and needing to be connected at all times as a musician.

    I also think that I delve into self exploration and spend more time being mindful in the present than the average person as well. I spend a lot of time writing in my journal, doing yoga, practicing the Isha Kriya, and praying, etc. to calm my mind and reach within. I have observed that this gets increasingly more difficult when the challenges I’m facing grow in number and difficulty — like right now! Trying to find time to squeeze in meditation takes the fun away from finding calm to begin with. Hoping that two and a half hours in class will bring me back to a peaceful state. Namaste.

  14. I liked this reading from The Secret of the Yamas. It is true that most people are (and purposely keep themselves) perpetually busy. We have this planned journey in the external world to avoid facing ourselves. We jump from one thing to another, anything to keep us occupied. Many people are very uncomfortable by themselves, with no distractions. Personally, I think it is easier to keep physically busy and finding things to keep your mind occupied, rather than beginning a journey of self-discovery. I am perfectly happy spending time by myself (and quite enjoy it now that I am an empty nester), but upon further reflection, I do realize that I always have to be doing something, or have some background noise going, when I am by myself. So truly, I am not “alone” with my mind and my thoughts. I think this is the part of hatha yoga that I will find challenging, actually beginning a journey of self-reflection and self-discovery.

  15. This audio clip really stuck with me. I notice that I typically look externally for guidance when I could look into myself. Many people tend to find solace in what is around them instead of what is within themselves. Yoga and meditation steer you into looking into yourself. Looking into what is going on within, where things ache and calming certain tensions within the body.

  16. “The Secrets of the Yamas” was very interesting to listen to and was enlightening to diversions that stops you from looking inward. Recently society has put an importance on the use of social media and technology. There is a certain expectation as an individual to partake in social media and to evolve around using technology like TV. As a person you are expected to have social media and the use of it pressures you to get more followers or more likes. It always begs more of you making the user feel insignificant. This also makes it so you always feel like you need to be using it, making people feel uncomfortable when they are left with themselves like the reading said. I look at social media as a platform to display my art and to connect with artists instead of a social expectation and that outlook has helped me to release myself of the burden it can be.

  17. Listening to the audio “Secret of the Yamas” by John McAfee gave me clarification between the outer world and my inner self. People often focus on the outer world instead of self discovery. Humans invest nearly all their time and energy on learning about scientific discovery and theories about the world. Humans have made massive strides, learning more and more each day. People have unraveled all sorts of mysteries regarding geography, genetics, subatomic particles, oceans, and solar systems. However, what is equally or more important is self discovery, learning about our relation to the world, who we are, and why we do things. Without inner knowledge, we lack peace, and this leads to contempt. Unless we search within ourselves, we can never truly live, and our lives can become meaningless and chaotic. For instance, Shakespeare blamed the chaos around King Leer on his lack of inner knowledge. Despite this necessity for self-understanding, worldly distractions prevent in-depth discovery. We are constantly occupied by social media, hobbies, and the growing variety of entertainment. We busy ourselves by watching short, pointless videos or by throwing ourselves into hobbies, not making time for self reflection. The moment most people are left alone, they become uncomfortable. Focusing on oneself scares humans because it means confronting the source of desires, emotional mechanism and the restrictions we impose upon ourselves. We do not want to face these things because it means facing our flaws. However, as stated in the audio, “The union of the various parts of the mind is gained through control of the mind and then the perceiver comes to consciousness of himself.” Yoga is a means which allows us to become conscious of ourselves. A meaningful yoga experience allows us to reflect on our actions and analyze ourselves.

  18. After listening to this audio it brought me to the realization of how much yoga is overlooked and that causes many individuals do not appreciate the practice. The practice allows individual peace which is important for everyone but instead of focusing on internal aspects for balance often everyone continues to worry about the world and everything else that has to be dealt with on a daily basis. Many also don’t realize the balance that is needed for a healthy lifestyle along with the ideas that yoga can create this balance like said in the audio many think of yoga for the development of strength. I believe that perception of yoga is just automatically thought of from society; before I knew the advances and importance of the practice I thought the same as everyone else does. The thought of how many people cannot function once entertainment, the internet, etc is taken away is scary. Following that is because we have started to depend on it so much. All of the mass media draws us even further from the practice of yoga and from the practice of becoming a more balanced well being. The idea of not having peace from outside situations is normal because that is simply life, but not being able to give your own body its own internal peace is not good. Coming to the realization of the benefits of yoga has given me more motivation to continue the practice.

  19. While listening to the voice audio of “The Secrets of the Yamas”, I came to the realization and understanding on the power and capabilities yoga/meditation has on a human’s inner consciousness. With the society we as human beings live in this very day can most definitely be stressful, overwhelming (especially violent and cruel), many people can’t step away from the fact that there always are answers to things we’re concerned or confused about, but many people tend to stray away from those solutions (mainly for the reason being that they themselves are fearful/scared in doing so). Furthermore, as discussed throughout the audio, if we want to take actions in loving others and showcasing the things that make each and every one of us unique, then we need to do so first by loving ourselves.
    Since early human existence (with that being the Delphic Oracle of Greek Mythology, to the modern day focus and study of self awareness/understanding), many different cultures and groups of people have traveled and taken their own self-journeys to the inner world of relaxation and the conscience knowledge of one’s own self. This as well shapes back to Shakespear using “the absence of self-knowledge to explain the chaos that surrounded King Lear, along with the idea that he has ever so slightly known himself”; including religion’s practice and advice for the human kind to venture inward. As we as humans continue to grow with one another, we tend to use our relationships for distraction and methods of escapism. Accompanying the previous statement, people have searched for other reliefs from that of self-focus/awareness, through an individuals driven attention to entertainment (other methods of reverie).

  20. While Self awareness and mindfulness is something I personally have been focusing on in the last year it is good to be reminded to refocus. It is easy to become distracted by events in your life and lose sight of your inner light. I feel the journey to self discovery is something that every person is working towards, though as an artist there is an added external pressure to “figure it out”. It can easily become more about the work and how that self discovery is reflected in it than it is about the actual process of self exploration. It feels like it can go by too fast and you’re missing things which is where external distractions come in to play like books and T.V, it is easier to experience a fictional character’s journey than it is to focus on your own. In the last year I’ve come to really understand that the space of self awareness can come from nowhere other than your unique set of experiences and how important it is to go at the pace that you need to, not faster or even slower as both can become toxic for your inner light. Through yoga and meditation I hoped, and still very much do, a connection between my body ,mind , and inner self.

  21. Listening to McAfee’s “Secret of the Yamas” it became clear to me that the human race spends its time attempting to manufacture this idea of a false fulfillment through avoiding the inner self. We, as a species cram our lives full of hobbies, outer relations, and material objects to fill this nonexistent void all the while distracting ourselves from actually finding an inner peace because we are too afraid or uncomfortable to get to know ourselves. We exist as strangers to our own being because of this denial of self. Instead we focus on the outer and material world, throwing our lives off balance, constantly wanting more; more friends, hobbies, electronics, etc. We begin to obsess over what we do not have and become habitually alienated from our natural selves. Yet this does not mean that we are lost. Although the entirety of the human attention has shifted to the physical, we still have the means to re balance the scales and begin to regain focus on self reflection and the spiritual aspect of life like who we are, what we truly desire and why we desire it, and how we fit in to the grand scheme of existence. These depths of ourselves we fear and do not wish to confront, but it is necessary in order to lead an enriched and wholesome life to its fullest extent. We can unlock our biggest mysteries through different techniques such as yoga and meditation which allow us to let go of the grasp on the outside world and disperse the worries and stresses of the day. We find ourselves staring at our own truths and are able to acknowledge and accept them as we fall deeper in.

  22. As I listened to this I’ve notice that I need to start looking within myself. I need not to look for comfort from another but from me. Listening to this brought me closer to my thought, brought me to be able to find out what I want. The yoga and meditation that’s goes on helps guide us towards the tension in our body and is able to help heal the pain.

  23. The audio clip brings up interesting points about a person’s “inner” self and “outer” self. People have become so focused on the outer world – surrounding ourselves with constant distractions and achieving feats that once seemed impossible to comprehend – that they forget about their finding themselves. When given even a moment’s rest from the outside world, people start to get uncomfortable with being left alone with their thoughts for too long, never mind trying to concentrate on “finding themselves”. Even if they try, their own mind and thoughts can distract them. In a way, it can be thought of as a way for someone to block themselves from discovering what truly are their fears, desires, flaws, and other aspects of oneself. Even when using a guide for finding inner peace, such as meditation or yoga, people are still rushing, as if to find “inner peace” as quickly as possible, without understanding what inner peace really is.

    Yoga and meditation are often seen as the “solution” to getting away from the hectic outside world. Yoga is a means, not an end. Yoga does provide benefits for one’s physical health, but it cannot be the one thing that finds inner peace, if the person is not willing to find it.

  24. This reading was very interesting and enlightening. I found not that surprising that we as humans know everything about the outside universe and nothing about ourselves. We are constantly trying to gain more and more knowledge about our physical world. We are taught in school all of the muscles and bones in our bodies. We are alerted when there is a new planet or asteroid discovered in space. Man has taken steps on the moon and sent robots to mars. We know everything there is to know about the things we can see and touch and even our eveloutionary timeline.
    So to this, it does not surprise me that people are constantly looking for ways to distract themselves from the knowledge of self awareness. I believe this is one of the most frightening things for humans. There is so much exploration that needs to be done inside everyday by each of us. Yoga has even lost its way a bit in the translation of what it is. We can reap physical benifits from it like fitness, or

  25. “The Secret of The Yamas” brings up a good point on what we focus what knowledge we attain. Looking towards the sky and space in search of answers on our place in the universe before looking inward. We often look towards other outside forces to try and give us an understanding of our purpose. We are constantly bombarded with information both useful and trivial every day, barely even giving ourselves enough time to process what we are given before moving on to the next. It is easy to lose ourselves in this especially in this modern world. Yoga gives us a chance to remove ourselves from outside distractions, and in doing so we are forced to explore inward, hopefully finding some truth about ourselves.

  26. Three diversions from self discovery that people tend to often suffer from are technology and electronics, social media, the market and material things, all these things keep us moving at an incredible fast speed. Making it harder for people to slow down and take in the world around them, and more importantly what is going on inside of them. Many do not take the time, let alone think about the emotions and actions we go through on a daily basis, never self reflecting, discovering, and acknowledging the negative desires that are rooted within our very being. Without acknowledging these things we let them run our lives cycling us through their tendencies never actually trying to expel them from our character. They may be a part of us but we don’t have to stay this way forever, and becoming aware that change is meant to happen within ourselves and not only outside of the body is a huge step to moving yourself toward initiating the larger change that is meant to happen. And I believe the relationships we crave and the material objects we desire, we attempt to filter through these negative tendencies we are experiencing, but while obtaining these desires we become attached and forget the main purpose of obtaining it in the first place. So we end up holding on so fighting because we are afraid to let go once again. There is pain that comes with change but it is nature. Then there is greater suffering that comes from allowing ourselves to keep disregarding ourselves. I found it so pleasing to learn that we can speak intellectually and hear things all about a concept and think we understand it, but until we find the answer within ourselves and really feel that the concept is true, it is only a formula of words. I’ve experienced this many times before and it’s all a part of the process to becoming more deeply aware of myself. I believe a lot of the time humans try so hard to gain control of external objects and forces and it wastes a lot of energy. Until we realize that the only thing you have the ability to control is your mind and your self, we will continue to create a much greater resistance to our lives. All though some find it easier to be ignorant and unaware, I do not. I’ve found pleasure in thinking deeply and feeling deeply because it has allowed me to reach the point I am at today. I would much rather not just turn my head and pretend something didn’t happen. Awareness is always the first step and taking the second step can be hard, but until then you have already begun the path by being aware of the path at all. I’ve read different books that have helped me along the way, there include, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz , and The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer. Those are the only two I can think of off the top of my head that have helped me a great amount in coming to terms with my inner-self as much as I have. Yoga for a few years has also helped me to become more whole but I am still unaware of a lot that my body contains.

  27. This was useful because I know I get distracted easily and that’s one of the things I want to work on. Three diversions I can think of are T.V., books, and, music. I thought it was kind of strange to see “companionship” listed with the other distractions, because I don’t usually associate other people with things like T.V., but it makes sense that it’s important to be alone sometimes to have time to self reflect and look inwards. I thought it was interesting to hear about how so many different people from lots of different place and at lots of times in history talked about how self reflection is important. It was also helpful to hear all those examples of people who talked about this. The passage was very informative.

  28. The reading of “The Secrets of the Yamas” was hard for me to comprehend. I am a visual learner and have a much harder time comprehending audio. Even after listening to the clip multiple times I think I may have misunderstood a bit of what was being said.
    However, I was able to understand the clarification between the difference between the inner self and the dependence on the outer world. I found that the portion near the four-minute mark when the mention of yoga’s benefits of flexibility and physical strength particularly interesting. When I first thought about taking Hatha Yoga, these arbitrary thoughts were my main focus. I had been told my whole life that this was what yoga mainly was – the arbitrary parts. However, in the few weeks that we have been meeting, I have been astonished by the effects it has had on my inner self. I have started to recognize issues that had been buried in my mind and have been able to address them as a direct result of my time in yoga. I have been able to take time out of my day to realize what is important and what is not so that I can focus my energy on the right things. Prior to taking hatha yoga, I had been unable to do that. I believe that this audio clip was exactly right in saying that yes, flexibility and other things are side effects of the practice, but that is not the important parts. The inner self-exploration I have been able to achieve as a direct result of my yoga practice has been extremely beneficial.

    One other part of the clip that I was able to comprehend and stuck with me starts around the two minutes and thirty-second mark. Specifically, the question “Why do we feel discomfort when all distractions are ceased and we are left with ourselves?” I have found that my personal answer to this question is that there is a lot of things within myself that I have chosen to leave untouched, and when the distractions are not there they begin to surface. I tend to use things like social media, television, and music to create distractions so that my mind will not run free. I think this is common with many people I know – sometimes my friends and I will sit and do homework together, but we cannot do it in silence. Even when we are working on homework, we have to have music playing so that our minds will not wander to things we would rather not think about. When my mind runs free, I begin to see the things that are going wrong or my anxiety begins to run rampant. That idea used to – and still does, sometimes – stress me out. However, I have found that in the practice of my Isha Kriya I have been able to better assess and begin to address these repressed things.

    • Thanks for your well written​ essay and for taking the time to explore the meaning behind the information in the audio file. Your ability to go deeper within at this point in the semester is remarkable and your own personal growth is commendable. Stay on the Path for more benefits to blossom, OM

  29. Though it may be important that we unravel the mysteries of the surrounding universe, the answers we find are really to no avail if we have no basis onto which we build this knowledge. If we are not truly familiar with our selves, who can we say is finding answers at all? What is their purpose? The restrictions we impose upon ourselves and others for the sake of material gain, an “improvement” of status, or a superficial standard of simply being all serve to do nothing for what makes one truly “healthy,” as health can more acutely be defined (if it must be defined) as the natural uninterrupted interplay of mind, body, and spirit. When we occupy our time with manufactured concerns, this interplay cannot flow like gently and with purpose, like water.

  30. Individuals often avoid quiet time by allowing themselves to become distracted by entertainment devices be that the television, the tables, or the phone; they search for external content so as to avoid internal content and may feel uncomfortable when these devices are unavailable. Individuals may avoid conscious self exploration by engaging in social activities that take them out of their own mind; for some, that may mean endless nights of “happy hour.” Another diversion that individuals may use to avoid conscious self exploration is over scheduling, whether that be back to back social engagements or dedicating an inordinate amount of time to work.

    I do understand that reading can be a diversion, as mentioned in this passage, but I believe that reading, as it is a silent activity, does allow the mind to relax into a space that allows for self-reflection. For me, this will often prompt thoughtful journal entries which I do believe lie in the realm of conscious self exploration. If I am lucky, a journal entry may inspire creativity and I will find the urge to express myself in a poem. I often feel that these moments are cathartic. I also keep a journal, called the “Dear Lady” journal, in which I write to the Lady, presumably myself, to offer comfort and support. Mostly these entries tell the Lady that I love her and that she needs to rest. I have no idea how I came up with the idea to keep this journal (as I keep another personal journal) but it has been a loving experience of communication.

    It is very true that the purpose of yoga has been lost. Prior to beginning this course, I had no idea that meditation was such a large part of the practice. In popular culture, all you ever see are people doing yoga poses or perhaps you may see a bumper sticker with the word namaste. A friend of mine became a yoga instructor and she only teaches poses. It is a shame that the full practice is not taught.

    As I had recently been trying to incorporate meditation into my life without knowing how to go about doing so, this class has been a gift. My journey to self awareness began by removing mind-altering distractions from my lifestyle. Without altering the mind, I was left with my unfiltered self. My unfiltered self tried to use studies as a distraction. I then had to set a limit with studies so that I disengage at a certain time each evening. There are very limited circumstances under which I will allow myself to study beyond 8. I feel that this has cleared my mind. I do get anxious about what I am not doing but I have to let myself sit with that. The Isha Kriya has been a powerful tool for releasing that anxiety. Class is an amazing release. I find myself having emotional experiences. Yoga is a gift. I am so glad to be in a class that goes beyond the poses and is giving me the tools to help me on my journey of self awareness.

  31. After hearing this reading, I found most important the part of the benefits of Yoga. I like how the physical benefits you get are stated as side effects because that is true. We are so focused on how we are going to look in the public eye or to each other that we aren’t mindful of the way it helps you internally and spiritually. Humans tend to instead of having a goal to reach self- realization, they make goals for how they look to the outside world. Your mental health comes before what others think of you.

    We get very distracted by outside sources like technology that we don’t sit to reflect on what’s going on around or within us. Technology has become a powerful source that is taking over people’s minds. This again connects back to the idea that we use social media to prove a point or impress our followers when the only people you should impress is yourself. You should look for that self- worth within yourself, not through other people. Everyone has a different goal and only you know your goals and of course you can receive help but with the practice of Yoga, doing it on your own won’t scare you. Once you reach self- realization, you are okay with being alone because of all of the tools you have accumulated to overcome any obstacles.

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