Words on the Ego (The Mirror of Yoga)

I would like to share with you today some notes on the ego from an excellent book called “The Mirror of Yoga” by Richard Freeman in which the author gives an enlightening overview of the many teachings, practices and scriptures that serve as the basis for all the schools of yoga – hatha, bhakti, jnana, karma, tantra and others. 

In the quote below, Richard describes the reasons for and the dangers of the Ego: 

“…the elusive ego is fed by a need for certainty; thus even within a well-intentioned yoga practice the ego can easily surface if we transform any aspect of the practice into a formula we know.

 

The ego desperately wants to do this because its entire function is to reduce everything, including the whole yoga tradition, to a formula that it can grasp and know definitively in order to say, “I know it! That way I don’t have to do it. I’ve been there, done that. What’s next” It wants to reduce the truth; it even wants to diminish God to a simple idol in order to be able to say, “i got it!” In this way the ego can reign supreme over all creation.

 

This, of course, is a perverse extension of what the healthy, beneficial process of ego actually is, which is to give us a reference point from which to begin observation and to maintain the health of the body and mind in relationship with the environment. But with the blink of an eye, the distorted ego is ready to lord over the body, the mind, all others, and eventually all of creation, which is the ultimate goal of every ego run amuck and which, as history has shown us time and again, can become a bit of a problem.” 

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Yoga, the mind and breath connection

Found this photo on google, obviously not mine, but just thought it was breathtaking so had to share it. Meanwhile I have been reading “The Mirror of Yoga” by Richard Freeman and thought Id share a few words from that to accompany the photo:

“It is said that the mind and the inner breath move together like two fish swimming in tandem; when the mind moves in a particular pattern, the fish of the inner breath moves along with it through the core of the body, hitting deep sensations and feelings as it moves. Likewise, if that inner fish of the breath moves in a certain way, it stimulates or wakes up association patterns of thought or imagination within the mind. The connection between these two fish forms a basic axiom that we use for yoga practice: the joining of opposites. One fish is called prana, the inner breath. Prana is the way we pattern sensations and feelings into recognizable forms. The other fish is called citta, or the mind. It is said that when either prana or citta vibrates, the other does so equally. If we are able to become aware of the vibrations of either prana or citta, or better yet if we can control one of them, then we can have a handle on the other one. This relationship between the mind and the breath is the most elemental trick, the “secret”, of the deep, bodily oriented practice called hatha yoga because by shaping and stretching and thereby freeing the breath we can liberate the mind.”