Thank you to Edie K., teacher training graduate of the Dr. Bali Method, for contributing this piece.
All that was learned, experienced, felt throughout Dr. Bali’s training course, along with the drop-in classes, enabled me to develop a complete personal practice.
The bits and pieces gathered over the years, the threads of insight and strands of knowledge are now enriched with a means by which they can come together, intertwine, unite, and flower. Just like the roots of a plant.
Dr. Bali’s repetition of his aphorisms over the months became a part of me. There is no need for apology or explanation for the repetition. In a sense it is where the essence of the course is found. The aphorisms guide and continuously unfold as the feelings they represent manifest within. Like mantras, there is a centering and then an unfolding that leaves in its wake change received as a gift.
For me, the ever increasing trust in the philosophy and methodology has made all the difference in enabling a complete practice to develop. One of the first messages of Dr. Bali’s that resonated soundly with me was an expression of openness. No religions or methods were condemned as faulty or elevated as exclusively right. No special calling card was required: with practice liberation, “freedom from the known,” is available to all, whatever the circumstances. One simply had to lay down on a towel, listen, turn one’s senses inward, bring health into the body, relax, and observe.
For much of the time change is noticed most clearly in the body: its flexibility and strength increasing, general health improving. Over a much greater length of time, as stress subsides and sensations of trust and comfort take over, coincidences, occurring and recalled are recognized and remembered. The universe at work, observed within a pause. And because of these pauses, within these pauses, the universe shows its infinite nature. A knowing comes, that it is a fact that the universe is guiding, supporting, and protecting us all the time, and has always done so. It is in learning how to be still, relaxed and ready, that the teachings from the coursework and drop-in practices slip in.
Music and its vibrations: this is the one of the most spectacular insights that the course and time in the drop-in practices gave me. The music, the vibrations that are felt after the sound leaves the ears is a place to dwell. For me, being untrained and now happily so, music is nothing but abstraction. I have no words to attach to this or that sound so it enters my body without a label, and without analysis. Music is only feeling, and as medicine, it soothes and permeates. Through imagination I ride the vibrations out until the whole of the universe, as small or as large as I may feel it at that moment in time, is encompassed. As Dr. Bali often said the universe without is the universe within, feel it.
Practice, practice, practice – and evolve. By the end of the course we know that there is no other way.
“However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.” -Stanley Kubrick
And so, most importantly, through the study and engagement of the totality of Dr. Bali’s method, I have been given a complete practice, showing the way, with surprise, toward further evolvement. A means to supply my own light.
How the Dr.Bali Method of Yoga can help to manage everyday stress & induce the relaxation response
The routine invites us to focus attention within the body, giving us somewhere to place our concentration and thus the opportunity to settle emerges. The routine decongests, stress releases as the body responds, reorganizes, relaxes, engages health. As space is created in the body with the asanas, the mind as it sits within each cell follows, becoming more spacious. We let the mind’s created images arise and dissipate. As we stop following the thoughts and giving them energy, the shift from thinking to feeling occurs – we allow our mind to release as best it can from the “tyranny of its thoughts.” We conserve our energy, grow less tired, younger. With eyes closed our senses can withdraw from much of the surrounding external stimulus and our focus moves to inward spaciousness. Comfort settles in. Citta vritti nirodhah begins.
Our inner foundation becomes strong with the emphasis on strengthening and decongesting our core. Molecular biology tells us that DNA is a code that requires context. Our cells are in constant dialogue with our environment providing feedback to our DNA. We are constantly being modified. Plasticity is the very source of our freedom. In an enriched environment we can thrive. The brain has been shown to be in a constant state of upheaval. High levels of stress decreases the number of new cells and so mutes our being, stagnates it. By engaging the practice and embracing the whole of hatha yoga, by allowing the simple act of a pause to change how time feels, deep relaxation occurs. Healing permeates. The ability to choose where I want to place my attention becomes stronger, context is chosen. The cracks where stress creeps in are managed if ever so lightly.
How to evolve into higher levels of awareness for health, happiness, healing and wholeness
For me, I engage practice by observing, feeling from the neck down. To begin the search by entering the body, and becoming aware of all its nuances, sensations, idiosyncrasies. And to feel my mind in each cell of my body, knowing that the brain is not the mind, releasing from the rational. Practicing fosters knowledge and then a feeling, each of which deepens the mind/body connection. A fluidity from the tip of my head to the tip of my toes emerges. The energy is alive, moving yet the feeling is one of being calm, focused, fully relaxed. It is then that I heal, rejuvenate, experience, and learn to just be without judgment, without analysis.
The witness, the watcher, the source: are these different words for pure awareness? I ask myself questions. Is our essence untarnished awareness? Is this awareness the ever-present presence, what is meant by being in the moment, what is when the pause is entered and time changes? Does compassion then find its place within this awareness? Is this what comes when release from ego-centric awareness happens? When there is a switch from believing that I am a turmoil of energy and information, a bioplasmic machine, a conglomerate of learned/socialized/evolved habits and patterns, a highly energized sleep, to knowing (by thinking) even if not recognizing (by feeling) that these beliefs are not who I am. Nor am I found in the body, mind, personality, feelings, thoughts, habits, heredity. There is too much transience in all this. So, now I have a practice, a complete practice, one without a veneer of religiosity with which to grabble in an effort to tease out essence. So hum.