” . . . I thought, well I could have a mid-life crisis and just bore everybody to death by going on about, what’s it all about, what does it all mean? Or I could sort of just go spectacularly mad, which would at least be more entertaining for those around me. And more worrying. And that’s good as well. Because I’ve started to run out of ways of worrying people. You should have seen the look on their faces when I said, I think I’ll become a magician. Half of them were frightened because they thought id probably gone mad, and the other half were frightened in case I hadn’t.” – Alan Moore
For EternallyBlissfulYoga Super Magazine
A new phenomenon is developing within the American Yoga world; the rise of Fundamentalist Yogis. These practitioners have started appearing at Yoga studios a little over a year ago and have become a distraction according to Yoga studio owners, teachers and students.
The Fundamentalist Yogis (they refer to themselves as True Yogis) apparently grew out of a reaction to the overly commercialized and trivialized contemporary Yoga scene today. These Yogis have not only taken on the beliefs and dress of the sadhus of India but are also doing Yoga according to the first recorded ancient text of Yoga, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. They have begun appearing in Yoga studios sometimes wearing nothing more then loin cloths and carrying tridents. They feel that the pastel colored Yoga mats and expensive chi-chi Yoga clothing is an abomination of the practice of Yoga. Some of these Yogis have an ashen tone to their skin from the ashes that cover their bodies which they claim are the ashes of the dead. When one of the Fundamentalist Yogis was asked if the ashes were from humans, that Yogi only smiled.
Cathy Freeman, a yoga student, whose yoga class has been visited by a Fundamentalist Yogi commented, “The ashes are weird but the trident he was carrying gave me the creeps.” She added, “He did have a nice ass though”. Jasmine-ji, the owner of the Laughing Buddha Yoga studio which has also been visited by Fundamentalist Yogis said, “I know, as Yogis, we are suppose to be accepting of all Yogis, but these guys are freaking my customer out. It’s bad enough that they don’t bring Yoga mats to practice on, but the fact that they leave all those ashes all over the studio floor has become a nightmare to clean up after. Plus”, she added, “they’re kind of smelly”.
An interesting take on posture and stance, adds a whole new level to stance training. Find entire article @ Voodoo Who Do
Shamanic Trance Postures – A Visionary Path To Esctastic Experience
By Howard G Charing
Shamanism offers a way for people to become aware of their potential, and begin to explore their spiritual relationship to the universe, to other forms of life, and to each other. The experiences which come from shamanism help a person to evolve a deeper bond and respect for all of creation, and from this perspective you are likely to lead a life which is vibrant and full in harmony and balance, and which encourages understanding and optimism. The Shamanic path is a way to experience this expanded view of universe.
One of the central practices of shamanism has been defined as the Spirit or Trance journey. One of the ways to embark on this experience of expanded consciousness is what is called ‘the shamanic journey’. In this Journey the shaman journeys to the Spirit world, (commonly referred to as Upper & Lower Worlds), to directly commune with the spirits who reside in the other realities. This is done for many reasons, for example to receive guidance for healing, maintaining both our own and by extension our communities spiritual wholeness.
|There are a number of ways to embark on a Spirit journey; these can be through dance, dream, using teacher plants, and by assuming certain specific physical postures. The latter is known as Shamanic Trance Postures, and are a method for achieving ecstatic trance and entering that place of both personal and collective vision.|
The word ecstasy and ecstatic is used in its original meaning, which is based on the Greek ex-stasis, meaning ‘outside of yourself’, outside of the everyday world. The ecstatic trance brings with it a shift in our perception, a way of becoming aware of a reality outside of the world of the ordinary, and the mundane. The trance makes us able to perceive the continuum of life, from what has been called non-ordinary reality, a reality which has been known to co-exist with our physical reality throughout time. Black Elk, the Lakota medicine man and great visionary whose life was recorded by John Neihardt in the 1930’s, tells of “the world where there is nothing but the spirits of all things. This is the real world that is behind this one, and everything we see here is something like a shadow from that world”.
There are certain works of ancient art, glyphs, carvings, rock paintings which are more than creative expressions of their culture. They are visual teachings for a specific ritual. These paintings and statues from the ancients depict people adopting distinct bodily postures. Many of these bodily postures are ways to an altered state of consciousness, visionary experiences, and a way to embark on a spirit journey. There is an extensive geographic distribution of the Trance Postures, and indications are that they belong to all cultures and traditions. These postures have been rediscovered by Dr Felicitas Goodman after years of extensive research, and a full account has been documented in her truly outstanding and remarkable book ‘Where the Spirits Ride the Wind’.
When a person adopts a specific posture as shown in one of the ancient artefacts, with an accompanying rhythmic sound e.g. Rattle or drum, the person may experience a vision which although is personal , is also specific to the posture. It is as if, however personal the vision, it will conform within a consistent framework.
Ritual has great power in this reality; it is a way of combining, the heart, mind, spirit, and body in a single physical action and intention. Religions from all over the world have long recognised the importance of ritual. Ritual is a means of communication between the Spirits and ourselves, it is a way that the Spirits can cross over from their world into ours. In Western society we have forgotten that the ordinary and other reality belong together, they are two halves of one whole.
Ritual is a way to empower and enhance the trance state, and is a gateway to contain, translate, and safely guide an altered state of consciousness into a spiritual experience. Another way of saying this would be that a ritual carries an innate intention, a purpose.
Each of the Shamanic Trance Postures is in itself a ritual, and it is a ritual with such intrinsic qualities of exactness and power, that its objective is achieved outside the original cultural setting. This means that we in contemporary Western society can also successfully participate in the Shamanic Trance Postures. To understand the Shamanic Trance Postures they should be directly experienced, no amount of words can compensate for this. The best place to experience the ecstatic trance states is in a workshop environment. This brings with it the guidance and support of the workshop facilitator, and the collective energies of the group. The power of the group is important in that it helps in terms of the focus of the ritual, and provides indirect and direct feedback. Feedback is the way to obtain the ineffable quality of trust. Trust is one of the pillars of this work, and the group provides validation of your own experience. Another important factor is that the power of the trance postures is magnified, as each person supports and is a part of the collective visionary experience.
Be sure to revisit earlier posts on stance training in light of this post . . .
Hlwong Pi Pant Sak Yant
Sak Yant Tattoo Samnak Ajarn Noo