Kalu Rinpoche Podcast – Episode 6 – February 3, 2021 (23 min) – Yoga 1 – breathing exercise
Hello everyone, this is Kalu Rinpoche’s podcast, and thank you for being here with me again.
This episode is going to be about yoga practice, and I think I have to explain to you a bit and also I’m going to guide you and practice together. So I’m going to explain to you the purpose and the method itself and the benefit that I believe.
The origin of this one comes from the Niguma. She’s an enlightened being that is existed, that she existed thousand years ago in North of India, Kashmir. And she had given these teachings to our tradition and has been passing for generations to generations, and I’m the current lineage holder of the Shangpa tradition, Shangpa Kagyu tradition, or Shangpa lineage, we call it. And I just want to share my personal experience and personal method based on what I have accumulated in terms of experience, that I practice about the Niguma and I’m going to give this method to all of you.
And I’m really bad at branding. There’s many organization out there, they are really good with marketing and PR and all these social media appearance, I’m not good with that.
My only intention is to give the truth out there, give the method out there, and hopefully that you will practice and preserve it, and cherish it, and respect it, with a pure mindset, with a humble mindset, and a pure mindset and a gentle attitude, all inseparably combined together, and increasing the wisdom and the quality of mind over the time, and having more loving kindness to all the sentient beings as your positive quality develops over time.
This method is going to be a breathing exercise and also a mind training and yoga, all together.
I think the most important you need to understand, is about our air. The air that we breathe. If your air is stable, your mind is more stable itself, by itself. If your air is stable, and calm, your mind is naturally stable. It is interrelated as all the external appearance is also interrelated, therefore the body and mind is interrelated. Two of these are not one nor separate, but it’s interrelated.
With this foundation that we have as interrelated, we have to use to our own advantage, not with arrogance, not with a competitive attitude, not with aggressive attitude, not with hatred or jealousy or insecurity. Rather joyfully and sense of passion, and sense of content mindset together.
And you might be thinking that ‘Maybe I have to do lot of practice to get this? Do I have to receive transmission, have to receive guideline?’ Well, I’m going to give you guideline. I’m going to adapt according to our time, that as you are listening to my podcast. In the past we say, in the traditional text we say that ‘if you haven’t met a master, or teacher, or method to do practice, then you are unfortunate, with a lack of positive karma’. But these days I don’t think there’s a lack of positive karma anymore. Because all of you can listen, hear, with so many spiritual guideline, all around the world for free. So therefore I think in regarding in that level, I think we are all fortunate to have all these access of information regarding a spiritual journey and a spiritual method.
So coming back to the simple method that I have put together with my own personal experience, that brings a calmness to my mind. When there is a calmness to your mind, there is a calmness to your body and the state of the body itself.
So therefore our first step is going to be whether you’re sitting on the chair, whether you’re sitting as a meditation posture, whether you are sitting with a crossed legged, whatever your posture you may be, whatever your posture may be the most important is you need to keep your back straight, but not a military attitude straight. Because that is not straight anymore, that is stiff. I’m not asking you to be stiff straight. I’m asking you to be relaxed straight. That’s the difference.
Many people when I go and see the temple, I’ve seen people when they are told to do a meditation and their body is always very stiff. Some of them are completely relaxed with absolutely no inner discipline, no external discipline, completely chaotic. Or there’s the other group of people who are very extremely stiff. And none of these two are very useful at the moment. So I’m not recommending any of these two, because these two are not a method at all.
So therefore in this method, I’m going to ask you to keep your back straight, and with a gentle posture, not a stiffness. Anything opposite of stiffness is good. Because if you have a stiffness in your body, in your mind, then you have this spiritual journey as an obligation, not as a free choice, not as open minded, not as a free mind. Your mind is squeezed and told what to think and what to believe. Your mind is not free. Your mind is polluted. Polluted by the media, polluted by so many religious ideas, environmental ideas, social media ideas, family ideas, relationship ideas, health ideas, life ideas, future ideas, fearful ideas, pride ideas, hatred ideas, jealousy ideas. So many ideas, our mind is polluted with.
In every level in our life, it has its own truth. It has its own version of truth, it has its own limit of its own capacity and capability. But in this moment, I need you to focus without stiffness, without a pollution in mind. And you may ask, “How to be less polluted in our mind?” It’s not about how you think, and somehow you got so lucky that the way you think and you found this magical method. That is not what I’m asking you to do. What I’m asking you to do, what I’m telling you to do if you feel like it in this very moment, as you keep your back straight, and then you keep your two hand on your kneecap, whether you’re sitting posture on the chair, or in the bed, or in the meditation posture, basically not laying down or asleep but if you have no other choice, if that is your physical issue, then you may do, you may do that, that’s not an issue.
Opposite of stiffness, opposite of laziness, when there’s a lack of laziness, and then your mind is clear. When there’s a less obligation and stiffness, and then your mind is more free and relaxed by itself. Before we reach to the idea of talking freedom and total content, you must be free from the sensation of obligation. And to be free from sensation of obligation, you must recognize whether we are doing a spiritual practice with stiffness, stiffness in our mind and body. If your mind is combined with a stiffness in your method, or in your practice, or in your belief, or in your physical discipline, then your mind is not free, not relaxed. So understanding the details before and after is very important method that we need to keep in mind.
We often think about “Our emotion is bad. Attachment is bad”. We just see it as a negative. And we don’t analyze it. And we just simply say “that’s bad”. And we expect that to go away, just because we see it as bad. But in reality, just like human beings that we do not like, doesn’t disappear just because we don’t like it. Just like that, our emotions exist exactly the same, just because we recognize that is negative, or harmful, does not mean that it will disappear by itself. So you have to understand that.
We have to understand the very existence of the emotions, it cannot be cut until you change your habit, until you change your mindset, until you change your way of thinking about the practice, without stiffness.
So, this is the guideline I’m about to teach you. As you are in meditation posture, or any posture that makes your mind calm and clear, without cloudiness. The first method is simply, be straight without stiffness. And then keeping your mouth closed, then you breathe out from your nose, with the fullest length. When you breathe out from your nose, relax your finger. And then when you are breathing in, bring your finger back under your palm.
The most important is that when you are breathing out, breathe out completely gently. No need to go anything out of urgency. When you breathe in, breathe in slowly, gently. And we do like this seven times, and I will show you how. [YOGA PRACTICE]
Seven times, or until you feel it’s good, but not more than ten.
And then the next step is, you clean your hand, you make a gesture of cleaning hand, like if you put a soap between two hands, just think about cleaning hand, and think that all the negativity that we have accumulated, all been dissolved, all been left behind. And then you bring back your hand on your kneecap, and then you breathe out again, same. Slowly, gently.
And this time, when you breathe out and breathe in, bring the air into your stomach, to the lower part of your stomach. Try strengthen from the bottom of your stomach and try to press from the top of the stomach, and try to keep the gentle air in between, and make a clockwise, seven times. Your back will be moving, your front of your chest will be, and front of the stomach will be moving. Just make a soft, clockwise seven times. And then after seven times, then you make an opposite, anticlockwise, the other way around, seven times. Then you breathe out. You do it like this, three times. You turn around your stomach area, not all the way, not too much. Just make a small gesture, small movement, and make sure that your mind is calm, and do it with me. [YOGA PRACTICE]
You breathe out, then you relax your mind.
And that’s the small yoga that I was talking about from the beginning. So this is a small simple method, that you should do it probably in the morning, before any meal. Just simply sit down, offer incense, offer candle, if you have it, if you don’t, it can be a piece of flower, put in front of the shrine, or the Buddha, or any spiritual enlightened being that you believe. And then do this practice, what I taught you.
I want to tell you again. First you breathe out, and breathe in, seven times. Like this [YOGA PRACTICE] and then after that, is gently for few seconds, cleaning your hand. And then after that bringing back your hand to your knee cap again. And then breathe out, and then breathe in gently, not too much, and then make a stomach turn little bit, and little bit. Not all the way, just little bit. Make a small body movement together, your shoulder will move along with it. Your stomach will move along with it. Just make a gentle move, not too fast, not too slow. Seven times clockwise. And then after that, anticlockwise seven times. I will demonstrate with you, and I will show you the linked example. [YOGA PRACTICE].
At the end you tell yourself “Everything is impermanence, I dedicate this, all this positive and peaceful moment to all the sentient beings, so let them one day have opportunity to be in the state of happiness and content”.
And the conclusion and the summary of this, is that when you keep your breath in, the third one. The first one is breathing in and out seven times, gently, slowly, all the way. Second is cleaning your hand, thinking that cleaning all the negativities, and the third is turning your body clockwise seven times, while you’re being seated, obviously, and then after seven times, and then anticlockwise another seven times on the other side. And that’s what you have to do. And the most important is that, the key point here is that when you breathe in, when you keeping the air, do not keep the air in your head. Keep the air in your stomach. And then try to pull it up from the beneath of your body and try to suppress slightly, gently from the upper part of your body. And that’s the most important. If you do it wrong, and then you will have a headache. So then you can understand by yourself, at least, what, whether you are doing right or wrong.
So that’s it for this time. And it’s probably quite long. I will see you next time then. I’m wishing you all the best. Thank you for listening, bye for now.