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. To sign up for our newsletter please go to http://www.8limbs.com/contact-us/

The End of the Guru Part 2

Could it be that in order to develop your highest potential you have to blaze your own trail? Whether we find that to be true or not I believe that this world is in a deep spiritual crisis and spiritual teachers are in demand as never before. On the other hand the current trajectory of gurus being debunked one after the other for sexual abuse, manipulation, psycho-terror, accumulation of massive wealth, etc. deeply mars the prospects of spirituality to revolutionize our society and propel our evolution. And this despite the fact that this evolution and revolution is absolutely urgent and imperative as it can turn us away from the chasm of ecocide (destruction of our biosphere).
Let me propose a few ideas, which may enable spiritual development such as yoga to take on this role. These ideas are intended to create an ecology (relationship of organisms towards each other) and hygiene of the student/ teacher relationship. I propose that what we need are teachers that know, in Ram Dass’ words, that they are just ‘showing’ the path but that they ‘are’ not the path.

Sparing Your Spine Off The Mat

We give a lot of attention to what we do on our mat, precision, alignment, conscious movement, etc. However, it is what we do most that matters the most and most of this time is off our mat! The relatively short time we spend doing our yoga practice can never compensate for what we do for the other 22 hours of the day. The greatest stress for most people is the static monotonous postures that we adopt. That spells out as lack of movement being the greatest problem.

The End of the Guru, Part 1

A reader asked: “What are your thoughts on the need of a guru? Ramana Maharshi said that the guru and the self are the same so it seems that a guru could be unnecessary?” Nowadays a lot of people say that they teach in the Ramana Maharshi lineage. However, Ramana himself repeatedly observed, “I did not have a guru and I will not have disciples”. Although he himself is often cited as the sadguru (teachers teacher) he refused to be classified in this way.

As already hinted at in my previous post on “Personality Cults and Charlatans”, gurus are making poor headlines in recent years.

Hypermobility – A Blessing or A Curse

Many talented yogis seem to be blessed with bodies that are able to perform a myriad of different and for others seemingly impossible yoga postures. However, after more than 30 years of teaching my observation and personal experience is that it is often these ‘talented’ very flexible yogis who are much more vulnerable to injury and thereby have more physical problems than their stiffer colleagues.

Not surprisingly yoga attracts these flexible bodies. Often this natural flexibility is in fact joint hypermobility due to a generalised laxity in connective tissue.

Pranayama versus Jnana Yoga

One of my readers posted the following question: Is it absolutely necessary to practice asana and pranayama to evolve to the highest human level or is it possible to do so by exclusively following the path of Jnana Yoga as taught by the likes of Ramana Maharshi or Nisargadatta Maharaj?
First I would like to point out that Ramana and Nisargadatta are in Western countries very differently portrayed than in India […]

Why overheating the yoga room is not a good idea

In this post I’m challenging the notion that excess sweating is good for your health and that yogis in India liked to practice in heat. While slightly heating the room might be reasonable, on a deeper level yoga requires igniting your agni (inner fire). Read how this is related to converting metabolic fire into fire of intelligence and how heating your yoga room less could contribute to a reduction of greenhouse emissions.

Personality Cults and Charlatans in Yoga

In the wake of Australia’s own Satyananda-lineage scandal (and many other scandals that went before it) I was asked to air my “thoughts on the problems associated with personality cults and yoga and how people affected can return to an authentic practice which inspired them at the beginning but got waylaid by charlatans who have […]

How to deal with Hallux Valgus (Bunions)

Unfortunately I can give a first hand description of bunion formation. Having a personal interest I have thoroughly researched this deformity. Hallux is Latin for our big toe and valgus is a deformity that describes a movement of a bone towards the mid-line of the body. This is the same deformity that occurs in ‘knock-kneed’ when the shin bone […]

What is Authentic Yoga?

I was asked this question by quite a few readers after my recent ‘Zealot’ post, which raised the issue that yoga, which reduces itself to posture might not be true yoga after all. The reason why I hold this position comes from the fact that I am approaching yoga very much from what the ancient yogic texts say. For me they are the authority on what is yoga and what isn’t.

In todays society we are very much used to the fact that what is valid today, has no more meaning tomorrow and we often smirk at our ancestors and look at them somehow as primitive. Well, think again!