Yama in Asana & Pranayama
1. [Whereas] morality and ethics [pertain] to a social frame of mind, you are supposed to be unto yourself in yoga. There is no question of how you must behave. You don’t behave within yourself… in the same way that you behave with others in society.
Although we behave differently… with different people, here one is [seeking the] eternal, subjective [self] by working on, with, by, and in oneself. The moral and ethical principles of normative [ethics] can’t be applied here. It’s a totally different realm.
2. There is a unique morality and ethics when working within oneself…. [Although] while doing asana most of us are involved and integrated within ourselves, while in Savasana we become restless, and are not really in Savasana…. We don’t get as involved in pranayama, japa, or dhyana as much as asana….
When we are not as integrated, or tend to digress, in these subtle practices of pranayama, japa, and dhyana, it shows that we lack ethical and moral [fiber]. We [possess] a stronger [disposition] to do asana…, but… lack the integration of an ethical and moral fabric within.
[When] we lack that fabric of integration in the higher aspects of yoga, we have to force ourselves to practice them. We need to develop that ethical and moral fabric to do our pranayama, japa, and dhyana, as much as asana.
3. The niti dharma (ethico-religious principles and practices) is totally different when working on, within, or by oneself. These are not moral-ethical principles because we are working within ourselves….
When our souls can evolve, then perhaps we will get more integrated while doing pranayama, japa, meditation, or dhyana. The lack of that integration in subtle practices [signifies] the insufficient moral development. Even if you consider that these are moral – ethical practices, they totally differ from that which is part of normative [ethics].
4. We need integration in practice…. Some people are integrated in backbends, but not forward bends, and vice versa. They are more disposed in some poses, thus better integrated, and less disposed in other asanas.
There is some kind of disparity in the fabric of our involvement… and integration. Wherever there is ratification of that [disparity], it means we lack sattva. We lack morality. We lack the [necessary] ethics to do that.
5. What we call himsa (harm) in asana will differ… from what we call himsa (harm) in pranayama.
Ponder how morality and ethics are a totally different idea in the internal realm.
6. Dharma is similar. You will have greater dharma, religiosity, in certain aspects of practice, and lesser religiosity in other parts of practice. Identify and reform where religiosity is lacking.
Satya (truthfulness) — wherever we are not integrated, there is no truthfulness. Wherever we are better integrated, there is a greater chance that we are doing it more truthfully. If you are not disposed to certain practices, or certain levels of practice, it means we are not adhering to satya…, being truthful. Ponder what truthfulness means in the internal realm, truthfulness in asana, truthfulness in pranayama, and truthfulness in other practices of yoga.
A-brahmacharya is a dissipated condition of mind. If you compromise with purity, piety, and sanctity, that is a-brahmacharya (lack of conservation of energy). Are we sanctified [holy] in all asanas…, or only in some…? That purity and sanctity of mind, and of consciousness, differs [between] asanas…, between asana and pranayama, and between asana, pranayama, and dhyana, etc….
Dynamics of Thought in Asana +11.10
1. When [we hear Guruji’s description of asana as] dynamic meditation, we usually relate dynamism to the body. But some people have a dynamic mind. So, dynamic meditation does not necessarily mean that your body should be dynamic. It is the dynamic mode of your thought process…, and your mind function.
2. [Regarding] thought, thinker, and thinking, [requires] we identify that there is a thought in asana. Are we practicing asana thoughtlessly? Should we do asana thoughtlessly? We don’t want to do asana thoughtlessly. If there has to be a thought, then it should be a compatible thought, a suitable thought, a noble thought…. [Also] consider the thinker… and thinking in asana. Understand this triad.
3. There are two processes in the basic structure of asana — activity and thought. [Because] we have mistaken yoga for something very active…, all instruction refers to activity of body, mind, and breath…. Instruction usually pertains to the body. That is a travesty. We think of activity only in reference to the body.
Asana is a weave of the activity process and the thought process. When you have sensitivity…, and awareness in asana, you can’t say that you don’t have a thought. There will certainly be a thought when you are aware and when you are sensitive….
4. The thought process is not just having a thought. [Although] it is not possible to just have a thought, the common layman is not aware of that…. We are only aware of our thoughts in the business activity of life.
When there is a thought, invariably there is a thinker. When there is a thought and thinker, there is thinking, as well.
5. Decipher the dynamics of our conscious, and the dynamics of our mind functions, because the mind has thought, is thinking, and is a thinker. The mind rotates in these three spheres,
[If] the mind is the thinker, you can’t say that the mind differs from the thinker. The mind itself becomes the thinker…. The thinking is in the mind. The thought is in the mind.
Try to understand these three profiles of the mind — as a thought, thinking, and a thinker. We have these dynamics… of the mind in the thought process. These are the dynamics of the mind.
For meditation and meditativity, it is always perfectly right to go bya dynamic meditation process.
6. When you are a proficient yogi, you will go past that [to]… a different realm. Now, we, in the business activity of life, are not used to certain thoughts…. We are familiar with certain thoughts related to worldliness — the material world, and worldly phenomena. That’s why sometimes we pause and think, “What is my thought? What is this thought all about?”
We might assess… and objectify our thoughts, but we don’t objectify the thinker…, and the thinking within us. The thought about thought, thinking, and thinker… is not facilitated in the worldly realm. But in yoga we have been given the wonderful field of asana and pranayama to distinctly identify and understand their interactions…, and interplay.
7. Listen to this carefully. It can be quite confounding…, and confusing as well. When consciousness is quite settled and serene in the state of yoga, then you can identify the thought of the thought. There can be thought about the thought. There can be an investigation about the thought.
What is this thought? Where has the thought come from? Is the thought worthwhile…? Should we get away from this thought? So, the thought will be under scrutiny in the yoga process…. because we all want to have a right and good thought…. We try to wean ourselves away from bad thought….
8. Similarly, there is thought about our thinking, the investigation and assessment of our very thinking. Is the thinking based on memory? Is the thinking based on perception? Cognition? Sensation? Experience…?
9. There is a thought about the thinker as well… because we are more settled in our subjective entity in the yogic state. Therefore, we are able to have a clear reflection of the thinker.
We oscillate between different moods in the worldly realm… [such as] when we confront either unwanted, or wanted, people…. There is a lot of oscillation going on in the profile of the thinker. The condition of the subjective entity [i.e., the thinker] changes when you have an ally in front of you [versus] when you have an alien in front of you…. That influences our subjective entity.
We don’t get so many of these oscillations in the yogic process….Moreover, it is a more settled [i.e., stable] condition, and the profile of the subjective entity, the thinker will be steadier and more consistent, and less alternating.
Therefore there can be a thought about the thinker. The thought about thought, thinking, and thinker are the aspects of dynamics in meditation.
Thought Worthy of Meditation +22.00
1. [Although] there are certain subjects where we can have a meditative thought process, certain… thoughts do not qualify or entail the meditative thought process. All thought cannot be meditative thought….
In the preparatory [stages] of yoga, we come across Satsanga (being in the company of truth; spiritual lectures), wherein many thoughts are worthy of meditation… that can take us towards a meditative plane of mind. So there will be meditative thoughts if you are in Satsanga (amongst truth seekers).
2. But in the worldly turmoil of rajo-sangha and tamo-sangha (company of rajas and tamas), you will not identify thoughts that have meditative potential. We must develop our thought process in a realm that worldly people… don’t [consider — not just] the things and people around us in [daily] life…. One definition of living is relating to the people and things around you, [while] other people and things around you relate to you…. The condition of relating is called life….
If a person is comatose, we don’t’ call that living because that person doesn’t relate to anything around him….
3. So not all thought material qualifies for a higher faculty function of the mind…. We must develop an association with matters that transcend worldly material conditions — such as philosophy. Philosophical subjects have a lot of potential for meditation. [They need] to be trans-personal, trans-mundane, and trans-worldly… to be meditated upon.
4. These days it has become fashionable [to meditate]. Even doctors are advising [patients] to take recourse to meditation. They say that it would be good if everyone meditates 5-10 minutes per day.
But, then, how could you have meditation if there were no association with meditative objects, meditative subject matter, and meditative thought content?
5. Therefore, satsanga is so important. You will get a lot of meditative material in satsanga, sadhana-sangha, and shastra-sangha — adhyatmika-shastra, moksha-shastra, dharma-shastra, yoga-shastra, karma-shastra…. We have to increase our association with such matters to be meditative….
If you advise someone involved in money, finance, or wealth to meditate, he will meditate on [that] subject matter [most] haunting his mind… wealth. Such highly materialistic people are not at all [concerned with] thought matter. Therefore, if that man were advised to meditate, he would have to improve his support system of meditative thought.
If there is a scarcity of meditative thought, what will you meditate on? As seekers of yoga we have to increase our access to subject matters worthy of meditation… to meditate. You are opened out to this in yoga.
The internal realm is trans-material. There is s lot of subject matter to meditate on — how body, mind, and breath interact with each other…, how they act as benefactors to and beneficiaries of each other….
6. In exoteric physiology there is no meditative potential in the functions of the kidney, liver, and stomach…. If you look in an anatomy book, it is not worth meditating on how the liver and kidneys function.
If we go beyond that, then we understand how our bodies are a marvel. Try to understand how the kidney is a marvelous idea. The common man has no idea that there are a million filters in such a small [organ]. [Although] it is remarkable how the heart functions, the common man just knows… that the heart beats. He doesn’t have the slightest [curiosity] of how… it works incessantly without respite. It works for many decades without a holiday, Sunday, or casual leave…. We have to go a little beyond the mechanical view of the body.
7. Try to understand the liver or kidneys working for the body-mind organs…. The kidneys are not just nephrological organs, the liver a digestive organ. What they do within themselves is just incredible and unexplored…, [but] no anatomy book will tell you what it does [with the mind]. It will only say that it is a psychosomatic disease of the liver, stomach, kidney, or bladder. But, within themselves, they work totally differently as a family. [This] esoteric anatomy is opened up through yoga….
8. There is a lot of such matter to meditate upon…. There must be matter that you can develop to reflect and meditate on…. [This is better than] merely advising to meditate for 5-10 minutes per day. That’s why dynamic meditation is so important prior to the final meditation found in Classical Yoga.
9. This is what I wanted to [explain] about Guruji’s dynamic meditation. His yoga had dynamic meditativity, whereas we are all just involved in the activity of yoga asana, “Have I done this… or that…?”
Every asana became a mirror for him. The mirror reflecting thought…, thinking…, and the thinker. He would [place] them on the anvil, shape them, carve them, sculpt them, culture them, and season them. That is what has to happen in essential yoga.
Whereas his yoga was a process of dynamic meditation, we try to do right Sirsasana, correct Sirsasana, perfect Sirsasana, precise Sirsasana. we try to do the right Sirsasana, correct Sirsasana, perfect Sirsasana, precise Sirsasana. We try to do it as a posture, and sincerely struggle, striving to see that our posture is right, correct, perfect, and precise. We don’t [look] for clues to recognize what posture does to our subjective entity (self), instrumental entities (organs of action and sense), mind, consciousness, psyche.
10 More than you doing asana, asana is doing a lot on you. Who is you? You [is] the thinker, thinking, and locus of thought. That is svadhyaya (self-study).
We need to [learn] to learn from Guruji’s yoga how to make our yoga similar to his dynamic meditation [instead of] just trying to perfect a posture. Go beyond that in yoga asana to carve and sculpt. That’s why I’ve been telling you that posture and asanas differ.
11 In the next session [I’ll talk about] how asanas become yoga. The postures are not yoga. Postures have to become asanas, and asanas have to become yoga…. How can there be yoga in our yoga asanas…?
 [Whereas] morality and ethics [pertain] to a social frame of mind, you are supposed to be [within] yourself in yoga…. The moral and ethical principles of normative [ethics] can’t be applied here. It’s a totally different realm: This continues the theme began in Lesson 4, Yama and Niyama — Ethico-Religious Practice 4-19-20 <https://yogastlouis.us/yama-niyama-ethico-religious-practice/> where Prashant described ashtanga yoga as dharma niti (moral code of conduct) beyond the normative (derived from norms) ethics of society.
 [When] we lack that fabric of integration in the higher aspects of yoga, we have to force ourselves to practice: Prashant’s fabric metaphor has come up in different ways. See “The Fabric of Classical Yoga—Body, Mind, & Breath” under Body, Mind, & Breath in Yogic Immunity 4-8-20 <https://yogastlouis.us/body-mind-breath-yogic-immunity/>; “Dharma and karma are [mutually] related, like the warp and weft of woven cloth.” under Yama & Niyama – Ethico-Religious Practice <https://yogastlouis.us/yama-niyama-ethico-religious-practice/>.
 [Regarding] thought, thinker, and thinking, [requires] we identify that there is a thought in asana: See “What is Meditation?” under Dynamic Meditation 4-25-20 <https://yogastlouis.us/dynamic-meditation/>
 When consciousness is quite settled and serene in the state of yoga, then you can identify the thought of the thought: When chitta is stable, and no longer colored by external thought arising from the senses, thought can become objectified, divorced from its attachment to the thinker.
 meditative material in satsanga, sadhana-sangha, and shastra-sangha — adhyatmika-shastra, moksha-shastra, dharma-shastra, yoga-shastra, karma-shastra: sangha means in the company of, or, as Prashant has just translated, associated with. Sadhana = practice. Shastra = scripture, of which can be adhyatmika (pertaining to atman, self), moksha (liberation), dharma (ethical codes), yoga, karma (actions, deeds).