After practicing yoga for over thirty years down in the big smoke we felt called to move back into nature into an environment ideal to go deeper into the higher limbs of yoga practice. The Vedas suggest that when one comes to the middle of ones life (around 50) to change ones mode of life and spend more time on spiritual practice in nature. This mode of life is called vanaprashtha (forest dweller). This same mode of life is suggested in many yogic texts. We took that quite literally and live now on a mountaintop surrounded by ancient rainforest. Living in nature inspires our practice greatly, which we can then share when we come back into the cities to teach workshops or retreats.

This blog will give you updates of what we are currently working on and it will give us the opportunity to stay in contact with the many people and students we have worked with throughout the last few decades. Of course if you want to post any questions, your mountaintop yogis will do their best to answer them.

What is Yoga Asana?

With yoga in they eyes of many modern practitioners reduced to posture (asana) a timely revisit to what Patanjali, the ancient codifier of yoga, said about the third limb. Here is the first part Patanjali’s definition, which he gives in sutra II.46.

What is the Most Important Part of Yoga?

I recently received a lot of inquiries for technical support in regards to intricacies of asana, pranayama and meditation practice. How to do it right, what needs to be changed in times of trouble? How to react to setbacks, injuries and how to fit it all in with an increasingly demanding life, time constraints, job difficulties, health-, mental health-, family-, and financial issues.

What happens after liberation?

I received the following question: “I have read the sutras by Edwin Bryant and there is a concept that I don’t get. How can the individual soul, atman, be differentiated from another one, if the two beings were both illuminated? It seems to me that souls are distinguishable because of the imprints (karmasaya) they carry from life to life. Do the souls of jivanmukta “blend” together in some kind of cosmic Soul?”

Samadhi, Conditioning and Finding ones Life’s Purpose

A video in which Gregor talks about the relationship between asana, pranayama and meditation on one hand, and objective and objectless samadhi on the other. He puts this in context with the panchakosha doctrine of the Upanishads and the concepts of conditioning and subconscious imprint as described in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. Discussed is also the influence of mind and ego on transformative states.

Bound Half Lotus Forward Bend

Today unfortunately many students hurt their knees when performing postures and as the main culprit often the lotus and half-lotus postures are singled out. These postures, however, are completely safe as long as two things are observed:

They are attempted only if the student is well-prepared through the performance of other postures in which she is to become proficient first (ideally assessed by a capable teacher).
When lotus and half-lotus postures are performed scrupulous attention is paid to minor details concerning the way in which the leg is placed in and taken out of half-lotus.

Why neither asana nor meditation are enough

Have you ever noticed how even exulted meditative experiences can quickly decay into tamasic (dull) or rajasic (frantic) states of mind? This is because your predominant conditioning (vasana) consisting of millions of subconscious imprints (samskaras) does not simply go away by you thinking good thoughts or superimposing a layer of meditative experiences onto it.

Forward Bending/ Pashimottanasana

I still find that the basics of forward bending are often poorly understood. Especially the importance of sacrum nutation and active release in forward bending are frequently ignored. Let’s have another look at Pashimottanasana: