YOGA SUTRAS OF
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THE YOGA SUTRAS OF PATAÑJALI WORKSHOP
(TALK AND PRACTICE)
This workshop will explore the meaning of yoga according to the Yoga Sutras of Patañjali and Samkhya philosophy. The first 45 minutes will consist of a talk exploring the nature of consciousness and the manifestation of our perceived reality according to Patañjali. We will look at Vyasa's commentaries (earliest commentaries of the yoga sutras) which unpack the Sutras in more detail. We will also look at how the mind functions according to this teaching by exploring the 3 gunas (aspects of manifest reality or prakṛti) and puruṣa (pure, untouched, enlightened consciousness).
We will look at how the practice of the eight limbs of yoga has a direct effect on the gunas and we will explore in detail how, through certain practices, one is able to still mind or chitta in order to invite deeper stages of samadhi or concentration. We will also look at the potential of the mind or siddhi in samyama, a combination of dhāraṇā (concentration), dhyāna (meditation) and samādhi (union). Lastly, we will examine what final liberation or kaivalya means in Yoga.
Following the talk and discussion, we will work our way through the eight limbs of yoga as described in the sutras. We will start by reflecting on the Yama (behaviour which promotes a harmonious mind and life) and Niyama (personal attitudes conducive to subtle states of mind) in a personalised manner.
We will work through a series of Asana or yoga postures to relax the muscles and soothe the nervous system followed by pranayama to awaken more subtle awareness as described in the Vyasabhasya (early commentary on the yoga sutras). We will then explore a series of guided meditations with an object progressing through to objectless meditation. There will be elements of devotional practices and mantra woven into the practice.
THE BUDDHIST MATRIX
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The Buddhist Matrix - TALK
Is this reality we live in an illusion? If so, is there a way out of this mind matrix?
In this talk, we will be looking at what the Buddha discovered under the Bodhi tree which lead to his radical freedom from suffering. We will be exploring the different types of deep absorption or Jhanic states and how these states are experienced in the mind-body. To frame these phenomena, we will look at the direct experiences of long term meditators and Buddhist monks. We will look at how the Buddhas’ different states of absorption lead to insight into the workings of this mind matrix. As a result of this insight, he found a way out of suffering.
This talk will explore the metaphysical relationship between mind and matter in the Buddhist context based on Abhidharma manuscripts. We will look at techniques of freedom discovered by the Buddha in detail based on the Pali Canon and early Buddhist literature. Most importantly we will be exploring the meaning of freedom from suffering and how to attain it.
Buddhism and Meditation - TALK
This talk is about how the mind creates this illusion and the self in alignment with Buddhist thought. We will talk about what the Buddha discovered during his enlightenment under the Bodhi tree and how he came to discover these truths.
We will talk about the nature of causality and dependent origination as well as the mechanisms behind various Buddhist meditation practices. The talk will be based on Scripture and the recorded experiences of Monks and long term meditators. Hopefully, the talk will give context to why we meditate and what is meditating for. These ideas frame Buddhist cosmology and psychology as well as the path to radical freedom.
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The Subtle Body and Yoga Metaphysics - TALK
In this talk, we will look closely at the subtle body and how it is used in practices of yoga and meditation within Indian traditions. We will look at the manifestation of matter and its relationship with consciousness from the perspective of Samkhya and Tantric metaphysical philosophy.
We will discuss how the contemplation of this beautifully unified matrix is a form of yoga in itself as well as supporting the mechanics behind most yoga and meditation practices from Indian traditions. This journey will take us through the uses of mantra in Tantric ritual and practice, dissolution of the self in Laya Yoga and the inner subtle hydraulics which lead to blissful states according to certain yogic texts such as the Amritasiddhi and the Siva Samhita.
The talk will be supported with slides and images and will end in questions and a discussion. All the content of the talk will reference poignant manuscripts and careful research from scholars and renowned practitioners. Although the content of this talk is carefully researched it will not by any means be too dry or academic.
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Kundalini, Shakti, the Subtle Body and Initiation - TALK
In this talk, we will explore the extraordinary spectrum of energetic experiences and the potential these insights can offer to our human evolution. There are countless examples of such phenomena across the world in different cultures and we will explore a few of them. To frame these experiences we will look at the Kundalini phenomena in the context of the Yogic and Tantric systems of India and Tibet.
We will explore will how Kundalini can alter the physiology of the body and the various psychic phenomena that can arise as a result. We will account Vajrayana Tantric, Hatha Yogic and Shaiva Tantric texts as well as anecdotal experiences of advanced practitioners to navigate our way around the illuminating experiences and what they allude to. Our exploration will take us to different systems of the subtle body and in the Tantric, Yogic and Theosophical corpus.
We will delve into the rituals and practices which may under the right conditions arouse this coiled serpent and we will also look at the various means by which this energy can be transferred between two people or a group of people through initiation or śaktipāt.
Lastly, we will look at how this experience is received by western psychiatry and how we can allow Kundalini to follow her natural course to reach her final destination such as the different types of Samadhi or blissful absorption and eventual liberation.