Sherlock wrote:All types of yoga are "difficult" to learn without a teacher.
If there is a Dzogchen Community center near your area it's really worthwhile to learn the basics of yantra yoga, after that, you can just practice at home following the book and/or the DVDs. I don't think any other Vajrayana system of yoga is taught so openly, and yantra is usually taught along with the proper breathings and pranayama which I think are lacking in most hatha yoga courses.
KonchokZoepa wrote:i would think raja yoga comes the closest. it actually aids you to develop samadhi but you need to follow all the 8 branches of the system. swami sivananda has a good book about it.
if your just looking for fitness i would recommend just hatha or kundalini yoga exercises and not get fully into a system. but if you want a complete yoga system to practice then it would be raja yoga i think, at least that is one of the most compatible systems alongside with buddhism In my opinion, and can be a big help in developing deep meditation.
The eight limbs of ashtanga yoga are:
Yama – code of conduct, self-restraint
Niyama – religious observances, commitments to practice, such as study and devotion
Āsana – integration of mind and body through physical activity
Prāṇāyāma – regulation of breath leading to integration of mind and body
Pratyāhāra – abstraction of the senses, withdrawal of the senses of perception from their objects
Dhāraṇā – concentration, one-pointedness of mind
Dhyāna – meditation (quiet activity that leads to samadhi)
Samādhi – the quiet state of blissful awareness, superconscious state.
pensum wrote:If you can't learn in a class setting, then The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga by Swami Vishnudevananda is excellent. Straightforward, traditional hatha yoga with the postures clearly explained and illustrated, as well as graded programs to follow as you develop. Another is Integral Yoga by Swami Satchidananda. Just be advised that unless you are already comfortable doing headstands, it is best to wait to learn from someone who is qualified so as to avoid potential injury either by falling or not placing your head in the proper position which can easily lead to neck injury. Otherwise if you go slow and steady and prudently stay within your limits, you should be able to learn the basics and benefit accordingly.
But if you want to get in shape and keep it within the Buddhist context then just start your ngondro (or another if you have already completed one), i guarantee that knocking out a 110,000 full prostrations will get you fit both physically and spiritually.
True. But from most of my experience, in the West, the emphasis is on the physical practicesKonchokZoepa wrote:..but in western language when we refer to ashtanga yoga we are talking about the 3rd or 4th branch of raja yoga, but ashtanga means 8 limbed/limbs.
Sherab Dorje wrote:For physical health Hatha yoga and derivatives (astangha...) are better. Raja yoga tends to emphasise meditative practices. A complete yoga system is going to be a complete "Hindu" yoga system. This may impact somewhat on your Buddhist practice (both positively and negatively).
KonchokZoepa wrote:if someone has a problem with you practicing a (''hindu'') yoga system then i wouldn't listen to them, as long as you don't take some worldly hindu god as your refuge then you are fine according to refuge rules or principles.
well the negative side of following a hindu yoga system that you change it for buddhism wether that is really negative or not its up to you. but the philosophy is completely different and receiving too much of that influence mixes and confuses and is harmful for buddhist understanding of what wisdom is. but if you don't follow either system dogmatically i think then you its up to your skills to make it a good combination.
I can definitely see a benefit in following raja or ashtanga yoga.
first and second branch of raja yoga enhances your moral and ethical way of living which is of course a plus to buddhist practice.
and the other branches will lead you to a deeper state of meditation which is of course conducive to meditation practice, not necessarily buddhism…
If you want to stick with buddhism but follow a complete hindu system for example raja/ashtanga yoga you should hold on to buddhist meditation and wisdom instructions and use raja yoga to enable you to access deeper meditation levels. the practice can definitely be made into a fruitful sadhana practice, no doubt about it. Swami Sivananda suggest you to wake up at 3 or 4 am to meditate for 2-3 hours in his raja yoga book if i remember correctly. its not the easiest path and requires a lot of diligence, willingness and willpower.
but to summarize this, as long as you stay away from hindu meditation techniques or what they view as the goal of meditation and stick with the buddhist understanding of emptiness, no-self and interdependent origination and also buddhist meditation techniques then i think from a buddhist perspective it is safe to combine those two methods.
philji wrote:You may want to check out the excellent book by Rose Taylor Goldfield, a long time student of Khenpo Tsultrim Gyatso who has modified and presented the Tibetan Lujong system of body work in a simplfied way.
Her book is called Training the wisdom body.
Here is a You Tube clip of Rose demonstrating the system.
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