1-2-3-2-1 – Insights into Thai and Ashtanga Yoga

In the Thai Yoga tradition there is a technique, a path toward understating.

It is not the Way, but a path to discover a direction in which the Way follows, a simple technique.

Technique is needed.

Even Van Gogh needed technique.

But the technique is not the message. It is only a tool for one to discover the Way.

The Thai technique I will describe is very simple. It has been taught for centuries, and the entire Thai Yoga Massage modality is gaining a huge popularity in the West because it is so simple, so effective. Almost like archery. Something so simple. An action so simple, yet also complex. But action that are simple, it creates many participants, many archers, individuals shooting at targets.

I must admit I am just like all other archers.

My teacher, Pichest, though is more like PO-HUN WU-JEN, the great Japanese Zen archery master. I will tell you the story of PO-HUN WU-JEN in a little bit. But first it is important to mention that I was no different than one of these archers. I sat next to my master for many days, sometimes months, but it was not until today that I understood. I always knew that ‘one, two, three, two, one’ was a great technique. I have had my insight on how it is an incredible technique to discover the beginning, the middle and the end. But today I realized that it was a return. It was a full circle remission, to the place where one begins, and where everything lies.

We make so much more of things. I made so much more of the technique.

But that is the nature of technique. You must practice it before you can surrender to it. Without practicing it, without moving into it there is no chance of discovering how to be in it without doing anything. Effortless effort one can say.

1-2-3-2-1 is how it is written in most Thai Massage manuals. When you look at it this way it is even easier to escape its subtle beauty.

That is the problem with the Way, It is so simple, so evident, it is so easy to miss it.

How else can one explain the elusiveness of experience?

Elusiveness, yes. Because if it was evident, we would be living in a different human existence, an existence of the kingdom of Heaven, to paraphrase the words of Buddha, of Jesus, of Mahavira, of Van Gogh.

1-2-3-2-1. Everything has a beginning, a middle and an end, and to return we must go through the middle before we get back to the beginning. We believe we traveled far, and yet we are back where we began.

The Zen tradition, where PO-HUN WU-JEN belongs to, is grounded in the Way. It is very simple, and yet very challenging. In Zen there is a saying: ‘before Zen, mountains were just mountains, rivers were just rivers. When one meets Zen suddenly Mountains seem more than mountains, rivers seem more than rivers. When one attains Zen, mountains return to mountains, rivers return to rivers.

Get it?

Things ARE always, and STAY always.

Confused?

Let’s me share a story with PO-HUN WU-JEN. Maybe one day you will find the discourse Osho gave on this story. It will serve you while you empty your bowels. Did I say bowels?

Maybe I should say bowl.

Yeah, your bowl, your cup, it is so full, you can’t even see how full it is, yet you try and stuff it with more.

More information.

More understanding.

More, more, more.

My teacher, Pichest, is also so simple.

He just wants you to become aware of your back pack. Of how much you carry, In the simple act of awarness, you will let go of it.

He is Thai, Yet so very Zen. Then again, also very Buddha. Also very Hanuman. Hanuman dropped his thinking. He did not think ‘what should I do?” when he got to the Himalayas and could not identify a single plant in a search for a healing herb that will cure Rama’s brother. He did not think, and thus he did not hesitate. He simply picked up the whole mountains and brought it Sri Lanka, and those who know, those who could distinguish, they found the plant. They saved Rama’s brother. But it was Hanuman’s selfless act that allowed it. So he gets remembered.

It will be easy for you to learn the names of plants, what they look like, what they do. Like it is easy to learn techniques for yoga and Thai Massage.It will be harder for you to stop thinking and begin trusting.

Here, let’s see if this story will help you:

LIEH-TZU EXHIBITED HIS SKILL IN ARCHERY TO PO-HUN WU-JEN. WHEN THE BOW WAS DRAWN TO ITS FULL LENGTH, A CUP OF WATER WAS PLACED ON HIS ELBOW AND HE BEGAN TO SHOOT.

AS SOON AS THE FIRST ARROW WAS LET FLY, A SECOND WAS ALREADY ON THE STRING, AND THEN A THIRD ONE FOLLOWED. IN THE MEANTIME HE STOOD UNMOVED LIKE A STATUE.

PO-HUN WU-JEN SAID: ‘THE TECHNIQUE OF SHOOTING IS FINE, BUT IT IS NOT THE TECHNIQUE OF NON-SHOOTING. LET US GO UP TO A HIGH MOUNTAIN AND STAND ON A PROJECTING ROCK, AND THEN YOU TRY AND SHOOT.’

THEY CLIMBED UP A MOUNTAIN. STANDING ON A ROCK THAT PROJECTED OVER A PRECIPICE TEN THOUSAND FEET HIGH, PO-HUN WU-JEN MOVED BACKWARDS UNTIL ONE THIRD OF HIS FEET WERE OVERHANGING THE EDGE. HE THEN MOTIONED LIEH-TZU TO COME FORWARD.

LIEH-TZU FELL DOWN ON THE GROUND WITH PERSPIRATION FLOWING DOWN TO HIS HEELS. SAID PO-HUN WU-JEN: ‘THE PERFECT MAN SOARS UP ABOVE THE BLUE SKY, OR DIVES DOWN TO THE YELLOW SPRINGS, OR WANDERS ALL OVER THE EIGHT LIMITS OF THE WORLD, YET SHOWS NO SIGN OF CHANGE IN HIS SPIRIT. BUT YOU BETRAY A SIGN OF TREPIDATION, AND YOUR EYES ARE DAZED. HOW CAN YOU EXPECT TO HIT THE TARGET?’

My trip to Europe had a Beginning. I went to see my friend Howard. I trusted that I needed to see my friend. A friend is someone you can sit with and laugh at the comic existence of this experience we call Life. Howard and I had not shared a common laugh in almost two years, ever since our evening sessions in Croatia. It was not planned that laughter would fill our space. Laughter can never be planned. It is a matter of explosion. Of spontaneity. That is why a joke works. When it works. It has a beginning that seems to make sense. That fits into your paradigm of living, when suddenly it takes a drastic shift and it is that shift that is hilarious.

A bear and a rabbit are taking a shit in the forest, when the bear looks down at the rabbit and asks: ‘Rabbit, do you have a problem with shit sticking to your fur?” The rabbit looked up at the bear and said: “no.” So the bear wiped his ass with the rabbit.

A drastic shift, and then the absurdity creates a clarity, and you are absorbed in it.

That is the Way.

You have to absorb yourself into it.

So I decided to absorb myself. And it happened. A beginning happened.

I landed and on the that evening Howard’s Irish Yoga class was held that evening.

Yoga is also another technique. Like archery. It is a technique.

Today there are plenty LIEH-TZU yogis. They can perform. They are great performers. They have perfected the art of effort. You can see them in magazines. You can see them teaching yoga classes all over the world. But they are not PO-HUN WU-JEN. They are not moving from the place of NO-EFFORT. What Patanjali calls ‘effortless.’ The few that are effortless, it is hard to see them in magazines. In my three and a half months in Europe most practitioners I have met never met them, never saw them practice, but many of the same practitioners are more than happy to follow these other doers.

After all, they are doing it better than them.

Remember, you must have technique, thus going to someone to learn technique becomes the goal, as opposed to allowing the technique to show you the Way, which has no goal.

How can you expect to hit the target if your eyes are dazed?

Irish Yoga is not about dazing you.

It is about showing you how fun it is to be connected.

And no one can tell you anything about it. You have to experience. You have to walk with PO-HUN WU-JEN high to the mountain.

Mallorca was the Beginning, and I met some amazing souls in that beginning. David Lurey, who opened up his heart and connected me to a studio he works with, for me to share my creations. I met Alexandra, who owns the studio, and was honored by the appreciation to my Art. Yoga poses are only poses. I simply only hope to put them on the canvas of existence, to show humanity the beauty that is constantly reflected. At some point in the Middle, and we will get to the Middle, these words right now, they are like a pebble thrown out toward that Middle dimension. At some point, I found myself at the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, and a mini epiphany occurred while I was reading some of his written words. Van Gogh wrote that he simply attempted to put on canvas the beautiful reality he saw unveiled before him. He was so connected to this moment, that all he cared for was to express the Way. That was his Art. Of course he knew the technique of colors and brushes. But it was not the technique that mattered. It was the expression. The connection. The understanding, which is reflected so clearly in his master pieces.

My Beginning was Irish Yoga. It is important to understand when the Beginning happens, and I needed to get to the End to really appreciate the Beginning.

The Beginning was not when I got on my flight to Mallorca. That is far too simple, and I have taken many flights in my years, so just getting on a plane could not be a Beginning. If you have never been on a plane, that will be your Beginning. If you have never traveled over a large body of water, that will be your Beginning. If you have never been to Asia or India, that will be your Beginning. It could have happened that my Beginning would have came many days later, and who knows, maybe not at all, and thus I would not be talking about the Thai tradition. Yet it happened, and my Beginning was Irish Yoga.

The Middle happened in Berlin. From Mallorca I went to Poland where the two Beatas who own the dance/yoga studio organized a retreat in the mountains with 22 incredible beings, diving fully into connection. You must practice a technique so you can reach understanding. Though even after understanding, you will still be practicing. But then your whole being will be doing it differently.

It is the same remember that.

The practice is the same, yet YOU will be completely transformed.

Another ancient Zen teaching comes to my mind. ‘Before enlightment – Chop wood. After enlightment – chop wood.’

So we practiced.

And then I flew to Hong Kong to watch how others practiced.

It was an amazing event.

The Yoga-Gala of Master Dickson was an opportunity to participate with others, to be inspired by people who prepared for the competition for many weeks and months. But that was still part of the Beginning.The technique in Thai Yoga Massage is ‘1(beginning) – 2(middle) – 3(end) – 2(middle) – 1(beginning).’

You have a Beginning. It is where you first put your hand or your foot, or sometimes a smaller point like your thumb. You start at the Beginning, yet you still cover a rather large area. The second point should have a distinct difference. Thus the first point is the tendon, the Middle point is the muscle. They have a very distinct flavor, texture, feeling.

Irish Yoga was not trying to be a show. It wanted practitioners to experience their existence. That is what yoga poses are trying to do. And when they are put together in a sequences, they are trying to create a whole. Like Hops coming together with Water and Sugar to make Beer, which was the highlight of Irish Yoga. When you put things together, that is called: VinYasa. Irish Yoga transformed you in the end. It brought you closer to that which you are, not allowing you to stay in the perpiphery of who you were when you first started. It was a subtle, small transformation. Easily escaped by the mind, though discovered again with beer and community. It was subtle, but it was there. When students are rather new to yoga, the surrender is close to being complete. They must surrender. They have no idea what they are doing. You can only act in such moments from a place of utter surrender. When we are born, we surrender to the existence that lives us. It takes a few years before we decide that we are better than existence, and we start to lead our own lives. Zen constantly tries to bring you back to your childhood state. Beginning, Middle, End, Middle, Beginning. 1-2-3-2-1. But the Zen technique is not like the Thai. It is not a trajectory. It is a shatter, and BAM you are back to the state you came from. Thai is willing to walk with you through the Middle before it sets you in the Beginning again. And because you were not paying attention, it starts all over again with a new limb. True, if you are getting the experience you just think that you are getting the best massage in the world. They are touching parts of your body that hardly ever get pressure. Especially your Beginnings and Ends. Your tendons. In Massage they work your muscle. Western massage works your Middle. Thai works your peripheries. Your Beginning and your End. Pichest is often reminding us, Energy is in the tendon.

So Hong Kong was still part of the beginning. Part of the travel tendon. I can only appreciate it now, at the time I doubt I would have made the connection to Thai. But right now it is inescapable. It reflects a deeper meaning in the Thai intelligence. No wonder Thai Yoga Massage is called Nuad Boran in Pali. Only the Western need for limitation and for boxing things into neatly placed experiences that it is called ‘Thai Massage.’ It is really called Nuad Boran – ‘ancient healing.’ Inherent in the name is a deeper intelligence, an understanding of something larger. After all, it was eveloped by a Yoga and Ayurvedic master, a man name Kumar Baccha, who happened to be the personal physician to the Buddha.

Hong Kong was part of the Beginning. Even the Thai Massage training in Leipzig, at Stefan Peters studio was still part of the Beginning. Though closer to the middle. Joshua Scoggins who was joining me for a few weeks when the Thai course began, could have marked the Middle, but that was not the Middle.

While he was here for the same workshop last year, I teach my workshops in a very different way every year. Why recycle information when the information expands? Of course the practice stays the same, it is Nuad Boran. But the way the technique is explained, that must be a process of growth. You can’t paint the same painting twice, and you can not go into the same river twice. So why try to be the same in life? Why teach the same thing, in the same way? Especially when you have returning students?

So, Josh’s arrival was part of the Beginning.

From a Thai relfection point of view. this is not surprising at all. Imagine a small thigh, like the upper thigh of a Thai lady. Then imagine that the foot of the therapist belongs to a large Western male. His foot covers a rather large area, threatening to attempt doing all three segments with one go. But then, that would not be Thai. That would just be pressure. Thai is 1-2-3-2-1. Beginning, Middle, End, Middle,Beginning. Even with a large foot on a smaller thigh.

So, Josh showing up and participating in Leipzig was still part of the Beginning.

The Middle was when we got to Berlin.

This was a true difference.

For one, I have never been here.

Second, it was a full 10 day immersion into my gift for the yoga world. My Bikyasa, a style connecting hot and flow, silence and music.

Thirdly, between the amazing students of Sun Yoga, and the energy of a student from Poland, Karolina, who was to share the yoga studio with Josh and I, these 10 days were to be drastically different than anything i had done to this point.Indeed the immersion had an intensity that was rich, as much as the muscle is rich with blood, rich with information, practice, and laughter. Rich with new friends, direction and opportunities for the future. Where the tendon connects muscle to bone, something that constantly changes with something that is stable, Berlin awakened the senses for the adventure that was about to continue across Western and Eastern Europe.

The Middle continued well past the 10 day in Berlin.

It had many incredible moments, from driving with Hanes and Christian to Amsterdam, where I was to meet Sonia, a Thai Massage enthusiast who found my work through my videos and writing and had invited me to come to Central America in the Winter. Amsterdam is the home of a friend I made many years ago in India through teaching Yin Yoga at my apartment in Mysore, Michael who this summer was opening a new fitness center (if you live in Amsterdam you must find Evolve Fitness Center). Michael helped connect me with other students who were inspired by my daily Mysore Yin Yoga practices. The Middle is connected, the Beginning is established. We were defeinately in the Middle portion of interactions and transformations.

Josh and I then traveled by train to Paris to visit my mother and her incredibly artistic and joyful husband, Yoram. After 2 days of laughter, movies, and tons of tourist walks (Josh has never really seen the city itself, I have been here enough times to appreciate the tourist experiences and act as a guide) we headed back toward the East, connecting with Antwerp where I was to teach Yin at the wonderful Antwerp Yoga studio. Even though it was never shared in practice format, Bikyasa left an interesting buzz, and I am looking foreard to be back in the Winter. Thanks to Ryan Air cheap fligts, Josh and I headed from Brussels to Venice (12EU tickets….can’t beat that with Harry Potter’s wand even). We soaked in the hot Italian sun on the island of Lido and the hills above Lake Garda.

While Josh stayed in the bossom of Italy, I headed to Zurich, where Nicky, a close friend had worked hard to put together a weekend workshops. For the students who showed up, we created a new sense of energy, both through chanting, trough touching and laughing. Yes, laughing. It was Osho who left me with the awareness that ‘laughter is the language of the gods.’

Luck would have it, and Josh and I landed with 10 minutes apart at the Krakow airport, where Agnieska picked us yup to go to the Tatra Mountains in southern Poland. My friend Alex is credited here for the insight to create a Thai and Yin Yoga retreat in this prestine beauty. While the week suffered with unexceptionally cold weather, the warmth of the participants, and the excitement of hanging out with anther joyous soul that I met in Croatia made up for the low temperature outside.

On the body, the Middle is the muscular section of the whole. But this crude simplificaton is enhanced when we appreciate the larger context of the Middle. Muscles change constantly, are composed of hundreds if not thousands cells who atemp to work together. In life, the Middle is composed of many experiences that are trying to work toegethr toward the result of positive action. As the Tatra experience was coming to an end, I was overwhelmed with Roland’s appreciation to my work, and discovered that he is a translator and is connected with publishing companies in Poland. Experiences that work together toward positive action.

In lieu of requests from Finland to come and share Bikyasa, a result of Outi’s efforts to take her Berlin intensive experience and bring it together with the studio and students in Studio Yin in Helsinki, as well as requests from Julia and Christoph to return to Berlin and share Bikram Yoga ideas with existing teachers along with the new teaher training students, I changed my itinerary and extended my return home in a couple of weeks.

This action allowed for a long overdue visit to Israel.

Where Josh’s arrival did not mark the Middle way, but rather the tail end of the Beginning, when we parted ways after seeing my family in Vienna, marked the beginning of the End.

The Middle is a different texture than either the Beginning or the End. In the human body, the Beginning and the End has a similar texture. The muscle is held on either end by a tendon. The Middle is connected through its two dimension of Beginning and End. Thus the End would have a textural similarity to the Beginning. Arriving in Berlin, to share insights into the power of a good dialogue with the teachers of Sun Yoga was a return to the texture from which the trip began, months prior. There was also a distinct feeling when we all said goodbye at the Vienna airport. Not just because we were saying goodbye, but because energetically things were now shifting. They must shift. Asking for energy to never transform is asking too much of the reality our bodies occupy. Lerning to be sensitive to the changes is the only thing we should focus on. That is Practice. Be in the moment, be here right now, and you will always feel the changing nature of existence. No need to interpert. Just be aware. Be awake.

When they asked the Buddha: ‘are you a God?’

The Buddha said: ‘No.’

‘Are you a saint?’The Buddha said: ‘No.’

‘What are you?’ they asked.

‘I am awake.’

The 10 days of Bikyasa left Julia and Christoph awakened to new ways of looking at the power of Hot Yoga, and I was honored to explore my insights on how we allow students to go beyond their thinking and into their bodies. It was a short and fun filled 36 hours, before I boarded a 10 hour train to Katowice, Poland, where thanks to Renata, a student who in last year’s Worclow ‘Yin to Thai thru Ashthaga’ found my work inspiring, and asked if me to come to her home town to share it again. Workshops are never the same, at least not for me. And even for those who came to this year same titled workshops in Worclow, the experience was different. And suddenly I found myself moving through my return in a pace that was faster. Where in a relaxing experience for Thai Massage one would move from the Beginning, to the Middle, to the End, returning to the Middle, finishing at the End is a rhythm that is of the same beat, in therapeutic momenets, when Pichest is actually “working” and not demonstrating, when the Master is trying to affect a positive result, the pace has no such controlled rythm. The rythm is set by the effects of the action. Sometimes Pichest would spend a long duration in the end before moving through the middle and to the beginnig quickly. Sometimes he would spend most of his time in the middle, and just touching the beginning and the end. No one can teach this intelligence to you. No two bodies are the same, and thus no two bodies need the same therapeuic experience. Relaxation techniques are the same for us all. Because the part of us that we are looking to bring out in relaxation is the SAME in all of us. But that which blocks us, that which keeps us resistant and fighting, that is unique to each of us. I was not on a relaxing vacation throughout Europe. And I am only aware of the therapeutic transformation of what I went through due to some insights that are coming from another dimension. All I am trying to do is write them down as clearly as the clarity I was left with. The insight took seconds. Hence I share Zen stories with you. Zen is knows that things can happen in a flash. They happen in a Flash. All we need to do is be awake to see it.

A man comes to the Zen master inquires about enlightment.

‘You want to be enlightened?’ asks the Master.

‘Yes, with all my heart,’ replies the student.

Suddenly the Master grabbed the student and ran with him across the living room, jumping out the window. Three stories down on the ground, both of them bleeding, the master looks at the student and asks: ‘do you get it?’

Did you get it?

Things happen in a flash. When there is silence in the mind. Such silence that is achieved when you are falling from a window three stories high.

The return through the Middle and the arrival to the Beginning happened rather fast in time, but as we just explored it, in the dimension of Energy, of Light, of Love, of discovering the Source, this is normal.

Zen was born in Japan, the child of Indian and Chinese thought evolution. Where India is filled with its rituals, and China is filled with its scientific rules, Zen is filled with Art, filled with the recognition that in every act the availability to discover our non-doing, non-shooting state is right there.

It happened as I was practicing, the same ashtanga practice I do every day. As so, it happened as I was practicing that a sudden awakening came over me.

In Katowice, one of the students challenged the Ashtanga technique of moving to the right leg first and then the left leg saying: “I don’t think it has to be the right that leads. The right side is masculine, connected with men, and I like starting with the left leg. I think for women it is better to start with the left leg.” Her words were very convincing to the room, and conceptually they have deep meaning. Since the right side is masculine, then yes, one can interpert that starting with the “guy” and finsing as a “girl”, can seem challenging, especially if we come to the practice in a woman’s body.

I could feel where she was coming from, but the philosophical can take a long time to dissect. Technique you can show in an instant. We were lerning techniqe, especially the issue of keeping the leg straight in triangle and the position of the back foot in relation to the front one. But the philosophical ws preventing the technique, so I said: “I am here to share the technique of Ashtanga Yoga as taught to Krishnamachrya by his teacher, and how he taught it to his student and my teacher, Sri K Pattabhi jois.”  It was important to make sure that we are clear about the technique. The technique must be done well, otherwise it is much harder to gain insight into the formless. How can you know the formless if you are not aware of the from?

he was not challenging ME, I was only sharing, the chalenge was to the practice itself. Albeit an interesting challene, a scientific begnning, something to go an create experiements from, it is also a rather useless challenge. I for one know all about useless challenges. Asking useles questions, that only have their answer in the Formless. Questions like: ‘why are there 365 days in a year? how come not 300? or 413?’ ‘how to make love stay?’ Her challenge was a challenge I had asked many times before, and until today I was satisfied with the answer that Masculine/Right is connected with effort, and the Feminine/Left is connected with effortless and thus we start with the right and end with the left. We start with efoort and we finish with effortless. I shared this idea with the rom, but I could feel that she was not satisfied, and when we had a chance to talk in private after the session I suggested she act like a scientist. That she practice daily and feel the difference between starting with the left foot, which is pointed toward the front of the mat, and then turning back to the right foot. I had done a similar experiment many years ago for a few months, and there discvered that there is a subtle difference.

Today, in practice, the formless actually spoke, and what was probably said many years ago, was actually heard. That is why Bikyasa, which is a dialogue based yoga class has incredible transfromations. It teaches teachers about the causal formless that has no words, and yet is contantly communicating. A wordless communication is achiveed through a clarity in your dialogue. But that is a different topic. That was the topic that began the End.

Today, as I enetred into Trikonasa, the posture that had brought up the issues in Katowice, as I was turning to the right, and entering Triangle on the right side, I ‘understood.’

It happens like that. Understanding just descends. Like the understanding that comes over you when you hear a Zen story, or when you listen to a joke. We have to listen, we have to practice, and as a result of our effort something happens.

The leg choice in ashtanga has nothing to do with gender, man or woman, masculine or faminine.

The choice to move to the back as oppose to face the front is the core principle. The decision in standing postures has to do with past and future ideas.

In ashtanga you are going to the back leg first because it is pointed to the back of the mat. It is pointing to that which is behind you. You move to what is behind you, what you should have left already, and then you move to what is in front of you, before you come back to the center. Whether you are looking at the past, facing the future, or trying to be at the center, you are urged to be HERE all the time. If you are HERE, then there is no past, there is no future, there is no center. All there is, is this moment. This is the Way.

If you want to start on the left foot, fine, just open to the left though, so that your left foot points to the back. I don’t know if you need to do that, your left side is more relaxed, so opening to that side will feel challenging, and why challenge your practice more, but technically, with this new found realization, go for it.

Today it is Wednesday, Irish Yoga day in Mallorca.

I first landed in Mallorca on a Wednesday.

It is also the day I am leaving.

1-2-3-2-1. Beginning, Middle, End, Middle, Beginning.

In the return to the Middle, like when you press on the muscle the second time, there was a refreshing of the things that were stirred.

Whether it was Michal who tried to create a yoga workshop in Israel, or connecting with my friend of 10 years Vanessa in my home country.
I met Vanessa 10 years ago this year.

It is important that we appreciate this Middle way again.

10 is a powerful number.

There are 10 steps in the first sun salutation in Ashtanga.

The first meditation the Buddha taught was a 10 breath experience he called ‘the golden 10.’ Focus on your breath. When you inhale say ‘one’ when you exhale say ‘om.’ If you can make it to 10 without thoughts disturbing you, you will know enlightment. Notice what is said: ‘you will know.’ They Way is something we know, not something we learn or achieve. But if thoughts enter your meditation, you must start all over again with number 1.

Thus it was rather incredible to see my friend on a 10 year “anniversary.”
This had no planning to it at all. A week after I arrived she left, thus I could have not met her at all.

Not being in Israel for 12 years also marked the feeling of an End. Whose texture is so similar to the Beginning. Muscle is attached on two ends to a tendon. Thus the feeling has a similarity to it. A familiarity to the touch.

I also got to see my best friend Yossi. I saw him the first full day I was back, and it was Yossi who would kick start the numerlogical understading that is shared here. When we were sharing with Dvori, my father’s wife, how long we have known each other, Yossi said: ‘since 3 years old, since we were in the same kindergarden.” At the time it escaped me. The final wrap that my consciousness was putting me through. I was in the texture of the End, and as I expand about it now I am aware of the magic it left.

3 is also a most powerful number.

Obvious in Thai, we go 1-2-3. Why not 1-2-3-4? Why not 5 like they do in ashtanga? How come only 3?

Because there is only 3 dimensions that can be talked about. Beginning, Middle and End.

Even Lao Tzu joked about it: ‘One gives birth to Two. Two gives birth to Three, and Three give birth to all other things.’

Some powerful words.

Though he is not credted with coming up with the concept.

The concept predates him by thousands of years.

The concept was first brouhgt to human vocabulary through the Indian’s scriptures knows as ‘Vedas,’ of ‘knowledge.’ These writings talk about a phenomenon.

What else can we call it in English?

Phenomenon has no words, and yet phenomenon continues. But we want words, as we discovered in katowice, other people need words.

Zen is of no words. It understands that no word can shed light on the phenomenon. It can only be experienced. It is an ocean, not a painting. You can not exprience an ocean by looking at a painting. You must go to the ocean to have an understading of it.

Zen is the child of India and China. Children have very little words.

Vedas, which means ‘knowledge’ needs words. A few words at least.

So the Vedas share words about THE phenomenon.

Albert Einstein described the same phenomenon, with almost the same words. Can you believe it? I don’t even know if he was familiar with the ancient Vedas. I know that he said that there was a BANG, and that this BANG sent things into the motion that they are expressing now. The motion continues. There was a BANG.

Let me tell you what the Vedas say:

Brhaman has a thought of himself. BANG. He thought of himself. Up until that point he was merged with all existence. But suddenly, no one know how it happened. How it happened is of no consequence. The BANG of thinking of himself started a chain of events that continues in motion. If you think of yourself, you immediately give birth to two: yourself, and that which looks at yourself. To think of yourself you create TWO. Something that is SEEN. Something that SEES. It does not end there.

Einstein stopped there, and he was always confused, because suddenly things could not be boxed any more. The birth of existential physics happened. And existential physics and relativity physics still argue today. And they should. Because existence can not be limited to ideas and boxes.

TWO give birth to THREE.

If there is someone who SEES, and someone being SEEN, then now there is also an ACTION. The action of SEEING. If you have a witness, and it sees itself, then that is an action.

A rain drop can watch itself fall, but then it merges. It becomes part of the ocean. Now it is no longer a rain drop, the witness is no longer looking at the rain drop of itself. That has merged and become the ocean. The witness now looks at iteslf as the ocean, but that is not our point. The rain drop merged. Can no longer be separated in reality, only in your mind.

The texture of the End brought with it numerology, the numbers 10 and 3. Connecting with individuals who left imprints in my being.

From Israel, the country of my birth, I traveled to Helsinki.

I was now returning to the Middle.

Thanks to Outi who encouraged Annukka to invite me to her Studio Yin Yoga this trip was possible. It was a return to the Middle, but no Middle is the same. Throughout the Middle, on the way to the End, various business decisions were coming up. Finding myself at the Middle, I had met Tero, Annukka’s husband, and he and I shared ideas and talked about business strategies in a manner that was different from what I had been accustomed to before.
The Middle is a place you have been already.

But it different.

Can you sense the difference?

That is what Thai is trying to teach you.

Be in the moment.

You were here, but it is not the same.

What has changed? What is not moving?

This was a different Middle way.

All through the Middle the Euro-Cup was playing on large screens and constantly in the background of Europe. In this Middle, I found myself sitting with Tero and watching a live football game.
On a Wednesday (and if this does not convince you of the conciousness moving along a path, I hope you choose to read this whole thing again in a few days) Tero told me we had tickets to the sold out Finland-Scotland game. Finland lost, but that is beside the point.

In the Beginning, on my first weekend in Mallorca I got to see the Deva Premal concert. It was exactly three days after I arrived. Suddenly, three days before I was leaving, Tero had tickets to the Madonna concert. The day after I flew to Berlin. And suddenly I was back in the Beginning.

Before Berlin was the Middle, but now Berlin was the Beginning.

I woke up to practice after the long travel day to Berlin, after teaching the new group of teacher trainers about discovering that which truly lives us, the causal body that is the same in all of us. Talking to the new teachers that in order to teach yoga, you must first speak to that universal body. That is the power of Bikyasa Yoga. It teaches you how to invite others to their own experience of how much they think, and how little they listen. If I can hear, I can only be here. There is no thought. There is only the ear, that can hear, and I am here. Now Here, otherwise you are No Where. It has to be.

And thus I woke up on Tuesday, and reality smacked me across the head.

It illuminated what was in the shadows before.

You move in ashtanga to the back first. It so happens that the right moves back first, because you tend to think you are right, so why not start there? Why not start with that which wants to assert itself? Let your Masculine part lead. Consciousness, the Masculine, DOES lead, but only in your mind, which creates a seperation. In reality consciousness and light are merged. Feminine and Masculine are the same. But you are split. I am split. We have two legs. We have both the Masculine and the Feminie inside of us. Let the right lead, so it can help you guide the rest of the day. The Feminine is coming right along. If you are awre of both your Masculine AND your Feminie, then if the leader is off, the followers can quickly bring them back on track. To follow is not a passive experience. In fact to follow is even more active than to lead. Why would you want your following energy to lead? Why cause the Feminine such disharmony? Hafiz once sang: ‘After all these years the Sun does not go to the Earth and say: ‘you owe me.’’ Earth welcomes the Sun. It is not trying to replace it. It is not fighting with it. Hafiz sang: ‘After all these years the Sun does not go to the Earth and say: ‘you owe me.’ Look at a power of such a Love. It lights up the entire Universe!.’

You are trying to light up your universe.

That is what you are doing in Ashtanga. You are igniting your flame. And you have to clear the past before you face the future.

If you start with the left, looking to the future, and then turn back to the right, to deal with your past, you will be dragging the past into the next pose. As opposed to clear both the past and the future and return to the center. To the moment. To the Here and Now.

Ashtanga was the basis behind Thai. Ashtanga wanted you to go to the beginning, then the middle, then the end. The beginning is BEHIND you, the middle is the point between what is in FRONT of you. 1-2-3-2-1. Beginning, middle, end, back to the middle, back to the beginning.

My beginning did not start when I got on the plane, nor did I get back to the beginning when I arrived to the airport. “When the effort to do the pose becoems effortless, then you are doing a yoga pose.” When you disappear, and your client disappears, and through the technique you both come to the center, then you are doing Nuad Boran. That is why I call it Thai Yoga. And I borrowed this term from Pichest. He does nothing. Mostly prays. Mostly disappears. But everything is happening. ACTION NEEDS SKILL. But no-action also needs skill. The skill of action is just on the surface; the skill of no-action is at the very core of your being. The skill of action can be learned easily; it can be borrowed; you can be educated in it because it is nothing but technique. It is not your being, it is just an art.

But the technique, or the skill, of no-action is not technique at all. You cannot learn it from somebody else, it cannot be taught; it grows as you grow. It grows with your inner growth, it is a flowering. From the outside, nothing can be done to it; something has to evolve from the inside.

Thank you Europe, Hong Kong and the USA, students, friends, and family for helping me to grow, to water my inner flower.

The Flower is the same in you as it is in me, and as long as we focus on the Flower, it will blossom, for all of us.

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