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  #11  
Old 03-15-2013
haschu33 haschu33 is offline
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Since we talk about it, this got my attention:

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Originally Posted by terry View Post
It's also because I'm a goal-oriented person and know that goals work best when they are SMART
Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Relevant
Time-Bound
...
Also agreement here. I am very goal oriented, and my goal is that what Luisa said about the goal of Yoga: complete (spiritual) liberation (although Yoga is not my main spiritual practice).
This goal is:
Specific - it is liberation, so free from restraints, and complete, so free from all of them
Measurable - all limitations and conceptualizations will eventually display itself and can be overcome subsequently
Attainable - there are human beings who have attained
Relevant - there is nothing more relevant than the ultimate goal
Time-bound - on a conventional level, yes, it will happen according to time

So, long live the goals that keep us out of boredom - and ignorance


Hang on in there...

Last edited by haschu33 : 03-15-2013 at 04:00 AM.
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  #12  
Old 03-15-2013
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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I enjoy yoga because it stretches my hip flexors and lumbar spine in a way nothing else can. That's the only reason I need. I feel good during and after...and worse when I miss it.
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  #13  
Old 03-15-2013
terry terry is offline
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I don't see 'spirituality' in swimming but neither do I see it in yoga. In fact I avoid taking classes with teachers who emphasize that aspect overly. I do yoga -- and combine it with swimming -- for one primary reason. It makes me feel better in body and mind. And I anticipate the combination will do more than anything else I know of to increase my chances of being strong, supple, mobile and agile at 85+.

Others do yoga more for the spiritual aspects -- and I recognize it arose as a spiritual practice. To each his, or her, own.
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  #14  
Old 03-15-2013
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachSuzanne View Post
I enjoy yoga because it stretches my hip flexors and lumbar spine in a way nothing else can.
Ditto, but for me also its core strengthening and stabilizing effect that seems completely integrated with what it does to improve and maintain overall freedom of movement. So important as we age.
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  #15  
Old 03-15-2013
haschu33 haschu33 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
I don't see 'spirituality' in swimming but neither do I see it in yoga. In fact I avoid taking classes with teachers who emphasize that aspect overly. I do yoga -- and combine it with swimming -- for one primary reason. It makes me feel better in body and mind.
So what is spirituality then?
I find it puzzling that people discover the benefiting effects of being mindful, being aware, maintaining a focus and seeing the state of mind changing from that, but don't get interested into taking this further, starting a journey of discovery in the own mind.
I find discovering and working with the own mind the most exiting and fascinating endeavor ever.
And you can do it anywhere at any time :-)

But as you are saying:
Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
Others do yoga more for the spiritual aspects -- and I recognize it arose as a spiritual practice. To each his, or her, own.
Thus it is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachSuzanne View Post
I enjoy yoga because it stretches my hip flexors and lumbar spine in a way nothing else can. That's the only reason I need. I feel good during and after...and worse when I miss it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
Ditto, but for me also its core strengthening and stabilizing effect that seems completely integrated with what it does to improve and maintain overall freedom of movement. So important as we age.
It's the other way round with me. My hip flexibility is still quite good, I did several years of karate and Taekwondo when I was young and still beat most others in my yoga class with this.
But my shoulder flexibility is really poor.

And, sorry for being slightly obtrusive here, isn't mental freedom and mobility more important than physical freedom, aka mobility? A happy mind is a happy mind no matter in what body it abides, isn't it?
There is a story of a Tibetan Buddhist master who spent several years in Chinese prison, which is not a particular nice place to stay. He said about that time: " I had more freedom in my mind than most people who are living in freedom".
And, referring to the signature of swimust the great, if one can do it I can do it.


Hang on in there...
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  #16  
Old 03-15-2013
Grant Grant is offline
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There is a story of a Tibetan Buddhist master who spent several years in Chinese prison, which is not a particular nice place to stay. He said about that time: " I had more freedom in my mind than most people who are living in freedom".
And, referring to the signature of swimust the great, if one can do it I can do it.
Quoted from Haschu

There is another story that Buddhist monks were put in solitary confinement for some reason. This was considered a punishment.
Also I would put out there that everything in our lives has a spiritual aspect imbedded in it.
As well there are many people who are not physically in good health who practice so called "spiritual" methodologies with satisfying results and a achieve an experience of oneness.

This has been one of my favorite threads. It is in the midst of my favorite swim site. Does life get any better than this? I said this to a friend some time ago and his answer was "not right now it dosnt". :0)
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  #17  
Old 03-15-2013
CoachLuisaFonseca CoachLuisaFonseca is offline
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Spiritual liberation and physical and mental health are not mutually exclusive goals.

Yoga is a system for the development of the manking on the physical, mental, and spiritual levels. You aim what what you aim. You may "only" aim for physical and mental health. If you aim for higher spiritual levels, it doesn't mean you don't aim for the other two, because the other two are necessary for spiritual development (yes, like haschu said - they're by-products, but not "just" by products).

I don't practice "more" for the spiritual aspects of yoga. If I wake up with back pain, I'll practice to deal with that problem. An approach like "oh no, but I only practice for the spiritual aspects, so I won't really deal with it, I may destroy my back, but I'll evolve spiritually" doesn't make much sense to me.
If you aim for mental and physical health, that's what you aim for, maybe it's not the goal of yoga, but they are side benefits of yoga that you should enjoy.

A yoga teacher may aim for spiritual liberation, but if a student has a back pain, or anxiety, those are things that need to be dealt with - they may be looking for spiritual liberation or not, but either way, they should practice to relieve or cure those issues. As a teacher, I should help them do that. Maybe I also want to put them in a spiritual path, but I still have to teach them how to practice for them to cure their back pain or deal with their anxiety. Otherwise, how can I talk about spirituality?

Stories like that of the Buddhist master or the fasting Buddha, starving himslef to death tying to reach nirvana - I may believe them, but I don't think that route is for me - or for 99.999999999 per cent of all humans. Starving myself? I'd be miserable. Staying in a cell for years? I'd be miserable. Pretty sure.
And of course there are people who don't have great health and achieve spiritual progress through other spiritual methodologies. But I don't have any experience or knowledge on other "methodologies". I chose yoga.

I may be aiming for spiritual liberation or simply for enjoyment of life - basically, I aim for improvement as a human being – but I practice yoga because, as a system that integrates body, mind and soul, I believe it is the route for me to achieve whatever improvement I may be searching for.

Now, one thing is for someone to use yoga “only” aiming to feel better in body and mind. But that doesn’t mean that just because something makes you feel better in body and mind, it is yoga. Going for a jog with headphones on your ears can make you feel better in body and mind. But it’s not yoga. Using yoga accordingly to what you aim is one thing, a completely different thing is this popular tendency nowadays to “change” or “adapt” yoga to fit whoever’s desires or needs (or business aspirations ;-) ) Like the "improved" yogas out there haschu mentioned.
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  #18  
Old 03-16-2013
haschu33 haschu33 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachLuisaFonseca View Post
...

Stories like that of the Buddhist master or the fasting Buddha, starving himslef to death tying to reach nirvana - I may believe them, but I don't think that route is for me - or for 99.999999999 per cent of all humans. Starving myself? I'd be miserable. Staying in a cell for years? I'd be miserable. Pretty sure.
I'd be miserable, too :-(( But I would still aim for this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachLuisaFonseca View Post
...
basically, I aim for improvement as a human being ...
But I think there is a misconception or misunderstanding here. The historical Buddha himself practiced austerity or asceticism for several years. Then he stopped and declared that this is not the right way. He declared that neither indulging nor refraining is the way, but to stay in the middle. It is said that he attained enlightenment by meditating under the Bodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya, India.
If you are interested in a good headache I recommend a study of the Tibetan Buddhist Madhyamika School, the school of The Middle Way.
To my knowledge there is no Buddhist tradition that practices aceticism, on the contrary, a good health and long life is very much recommended and being striven for.
There are some religious/spiritual traditions that practice austerity though.

The point why I mentioned that Buddhist master in prison is not to point to asceticism but to point to the fact that the mind is the ruling factor and when we achieve stability in our minds then we are far less effected by outer circumstances. That was my point, and that is why I believe the most important is to care about our minds and our mind states, particularly when we want to improve as human beings - or to strive for complete liberation.
And that is something that 99.999999999 per cent of all humans can do.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachLuisaFonseca View Post
...
... Using yoga accordingly to what you aim is one thing, a completely different thing is this popular tendency nowadays to “change” or “adapt” yoga to fit whoever’s desires or needs (or business aspirations ;-) ) Like the "improved" yogas out there haschu mentioned.
Again a good way to put it. In my opinion there is a demarcation line about being on a spiritual path or not. As long as I try to adapt 'spirituality' to my life, I am not. When I start to change my life to fit it to spirituality I am.



I have a feeling that I am kind of alone with these points. So if I am just getting on everybody's nerves I can refrain from it and just talk about swimming - just tell me.
In fact it is all Terry's fault ;-) he constantly points to meta-physics and mental and spiritual aspects. But once you open a can of worms it's open, I'm afraid.

When you find yourself in a situation where someone makes you angry and you cannot control your emotion anymore, don't you get a desire to free yourself from this? When your mind produces a disturbing thought and it makes you miserable and unhappy, don't you get the desire to gain control over your mind? When there is someone close to you who is in great emotional difficulties and you want to help but cannot because it affects you too much, don't you have a strong urge to be free from your own stories and more skillful to help others?
Don't you have this burning desire for freedom and peace in you?
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  #19  
Old 03-16-2013
CoachLuisaFonseca CoachLuisaFonseca is offline
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Hey! :)

Na, at least on my nerves you're not getting.. it's just that I'm usually very assertive when I communicate, no matter who I'm talking to :)






Quote:
Originally Posted by haschu33 View Post
I'd be miserable, too :-(( But I would still aim for this:


But I think there is a misconception or misunderstanding here. The historical Buddha himself practiced austerity or asceticism for several years. Then he stopped and declared that this is not the right way. He declared that neither indulging nor refraining is the way, but to stay in the middle. It is said that he attained enlightenment by meditating under the Bodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya, India.
If you are interested in a good headache I recommend a study of the Tibetan Buddhist Madhyamika School, the school of The Middle Way.
To my knowledge there is no Buddhist tradition that practices aceticism, on the contrary, a good health and long life is very much recommended and being striven for.
There are some religious/spiritual traditions that practice austerity though.

The point why I mentioned that Buddhist master in prison is not to point to asceticism but to point to the fact that the mind is the ruling factor and when we achieve stability in our minds then we are far less effected by outer circumstances. That was my point, and that is why I believe the most important is to care about our minds and our mind states, particularly when we want to improve as human beings - or to strive for complete liberation.
And that is something that 99.999999999 per cent of all humans can do.


Again a good way to put it. In my opinion there is a demarcation line about being on a spiritual path or not. As long as I try to adapt 'spirituality' to my life, I am not. When I start to change my life to fit it to spirituality I am.



I have a feeling that I am kind of alone with these points. So if I am just getting on everybody's nerves I can refrain from it and just talk about swimming - just tell me.
In fact it is all Terry's fault ;-) he constantly points to meta-physics and mental and spiritual aspects. But once you open a can of worms it's open, I'm afraid.

When you find yourself in a situation where someone makes you angry and you cannot control your emotion anymore, don't you get a desire to free yourself from this? When your mind produces a disturbing thought and it makes you miserable and unhappy, don't you get the desire to gain control over your mind? When there is someone close to you who is in great emotional difficulties and you want to help but cannot because it affects you too much, don't you have a strong urge to be free from your own stories and more skillful to help others?
Don't you have this burning desire for freedom and peace in you?
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  #20  
Old 03-16-2013
terry terry is offline
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Like Grant, I love this discussion. I also love the fact that it will surprise no one, nor seem in any way out of place, to include 'spirited' discussions of spiritual health on a site that is nominally about swimming.
A book that has had great influence on me is The Life We Are Given, co-authored by our old friend George Leonard (who wrote Mastery) and Michael Murphy, the founder of the Esalen Institute. It's a guide to practice, which it defines (I'm paraphrasing here) as "a set of thoughtful purposeful actions pursued to create enduring positive change in body, mind and spirit."

It's quite non-controversial to speak to mixed audiences - say a triathlon club or conference -- about pursuing physical and mental health (as opposed to only bottom-line goals like faster splits) but when introducing the goal of spiritual strength or health, I may not use the term 'spirit' -- or if I do I give specific examples, such as feeling a clarity of purpose or having confidence in your choices. In doing this, I'm seeking to avoid a reflexive rejection (by some) of the openness of thought I'm trying to promote, and move such an audience toward consideration that having a healthy spirit is something they can relate to and, having opened that door, they may explore further.

What I said earlier about avoiding yoga classes that more overtly inject spirituality refers to switching from a center where they start and end classes with prolonged chanting in Sanskrit, to one where the teacher walks in and says "Okay, let's begin in mountain pose." This is mainly because I prefer to find my own spiritual path, not have one imposed on me.
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