“You have heard of flying with wings, but can you fly without wings?

You have heard of knowledge that knows, but can you practice the knowledge that doesn’t know?”


Tibetan symbol for the Life Force, called Lungta (Windhorse)


Awakening is waking up from the fundamental dualistic hang-over of “I, Me and Mine”as an isolated independed entity.

“Integrity lies in the balance of tension.”
Tensegrity basically means “mutual support.”
The term “Tensegrity” has been popularized  by an architect, inventor and philosopher, Buckminster Fuller, describing a structural system characterized by the interaction of discontinuous compression elements (in our bodies associated with bones) connected by a continuous tensional network (equivalent to connective tissues).
When unhindered, the information passing through the tensional continuum of the human body is faster then the speed of sound (about 700 mph), slower than light but definitely faster than the nervous system. However if there are deformations and compensations, anywhere along this plastic network, the  response may be measured in weeks, month and years.
Thomas Myers, the author of the Anatomy Trains , presents twelve or so major myofascial meridians that appear, forming clear lines, or tracks, that traverse the body, somewhat similar to the Chinese Qi meridians.
Understanding and applying the principle of bio-tensegrity brings a new light in the application of manual therapies and movement practices, helping us find, restore, and properly use our amazing locomotor system, cultivating easy, generous, poised movement and structural stability.
Applying this notion of bio-tensegrity in yoga asana (movement into and holding of yoga postures) is bringing to life, both somatically and kinesthetically, the pivotal teaching on posture described in  Patanjali sutra 2-46: “Sthiram Sukham Asanam” स्थिरसुखमासनम्.
Yoga postures (Asana) implies both – structural stability (Sthiram) as well as ease and joy of non-resistance (Sukham).
The “ripple” of this practice always applies to all the sheaths (pancha kosha), and expands from somatic to energetic, mental and emotional stability and ease, that is the prerequisite for the deep insight, clarity and wisdom (San. Jñāna).
Buddha means fully awake,  one who is embodying the ultimate nature of reality (Dharmakaya).
There are countless Buddhas of the past, present and future. The Buddha of our  times refers to the Shakyamuni or Gautama the Buddha (6 century B.C.)
As the notion of awakening exceeds beyond separateness of the phenomenal world, in the first 500 years after Buddhas’ life and teaching, Buddhas’ statues or pictures were not existing. In fact,  the images we see almost everywhere today represent not so much a divine presence as a profound sacred absence.
The word buddha represents the awakening from ignorance and embodiment of wisdom.
As it is ultimately the essence of our nature, this wakefulness, (San bodhi),  is available and accessible to all, in fact, it is our “birthright” . A Buddha is one who has transcended our ever-present discontent, often referred to as suffering (Pāli दुक्ख; Sanskrit दुःख duḥkha) and uncovered sacredness in everything and everywhere (beyond time and space).
DHARMA (Sanskrit धर्म ) and Yoga ( Sanskrit, Pāli: योग)
There are many interpretations of Dharma, depending on one’s orientation;  Sikh, Hindu,  Buddhist, Jain etc.
Buddha Dharma, that we offer in our school,  refers to the complete set of teachings meant to open practitioners mind to the “suchness” of things. it also refers to a way into the inquiry of “how to”recognize the innate  (Buddha) Nature of Awakenment (see above).
Shambhala Teachings, which is essentially Tibetan Buddhist teachings, similarly, points to the primordial, all-pervading, Basic Goodness.
In the teachings of both Yoga and Dharma from the relative perspective, body and mind are seen as different, having separate causes and conditions and yet are connected. The mind (manomaya kosha) is expressing itself though the  body and the body (anamaya kosha) is reflecting back into the mind. In both Yoga and Dharma, ones’ practice is working towards the cessation of any duality or  fragmentation. It is stated in Patanjali’s Sutras as:
Yogah Chitta Vritti Nirodhah” 1-2  (San. योगश्चित्तवृत्तिनिरोधः ॥२॥)- Yoga is a cessation of mental fragmentation (that causes a vail of ignorance ( San- avidya).
On the ultimate level (Dharmakaya), there never was, never is and never will be any separation. In this context, one can say, Yoga is the teaching and practice of non-separateness. Hatha Yoga, so-called tantric or left-handed path, uses the body as a vehicle of  “recognizing” that no things are isolated or separate in its essence (Shunyata).
In Dharma presented by Tibetan scholars and practitioners, there are three aspects or vehicles of practice (some schools elaborate nine yanas). The first two are working with taming the mind (shamatha) and cultivating the quality of pure seeing, insight  (vipassana), wrapped in the warmth of compassion and kindness, and  guided by the vision of ultimate non-separateness (shunyata).
1.  HINA-YANA-Is known as the school of Elders. Is the teaching that expresses the essence of one’s practice, discovering and recovering from our habituated state of body and mind. This leads to different stages of samadhi  (focus, clarity of the mind) and eventually to Nirvana, liberation (freedom) from any concepts, which transcends the idea of Self as separate from the totality. The main practice is sitting in meditation and training the mind. As one explores and “dissects” the mind, the more there is nothing or no one to find (San. anata- no self).
2. MAHA-YANA- It naturally emerges from the Hinayana path. As the idea of “Self”, “Me”, “Mine” and “I” as separate dissolves, everything and everyone around us is seen as sacred. As it is based on the teachings of the Prajñāpāramitā, on this level of the path even the idea of awakening (Nirvana) is abandoned or rather seen within the notion of shunyata, interconnectedness and equality of all phenomena. “Samsara and Nirvana are one”. It is known as a Bodhisattva path.
3. VAJRA-YANA- Sacred Teachings. Very different from the previous two, yet the teachings of Hina-Yana and Maha-Yana are the foundation of Vajrayana (also known as Tantra-yana or Mantra-yana). In this teaching, there is no notion of  “going towards” the state of non-duality. The practice itself implies and relies on non-duality. In this teaching, the body is used as much as the mind training. It is called Vajra vehicle (San. yana), meaning indestructible, non-dissectible.
These complex and profound teachings can only be transmitted orally by a highly qualified teacher who has undergone what is often a lifelong training in all aspects of body, speech and mind.
In Tibetan Dharma, which originates from India, the teachings on yoga are considered highest teachings, one can only begin practising after years of rigorous mental training and practising all of the above Yanas.
In Tibetan teachings there are three yogas; Maha, Anu (San. अनुयोग) and Ati Yoga (Dzogchen, Tibetan རྫོགས་ཆེན་).
((Hindi: ज्ञान [Gjaːnə], from Pali ñāna; Tib. Yeshe)sometimes translated as primordial wisdom.
It is beyond comprehension of our dualistic, thought directed, mind. It is beyond the duality of not- knowing (ignorance), and knowing (cognition).  Jnana reveals itself as an experience without “experiencer”, beyond subject or object.  In the highest  Tibetan Dharma teachings, there is a saying that “we can never see wisdom. It can only be seen by itself”.
In the teachings of  Yoga and Dharma there is another word for wisdom, Prajñā (San. प्रज्ञा) or paññā (Pāli),  defined as the precise discernment of all things and events. One cultivates the prajna through the practice of meditation but also as a life practice (of ten or six paramitas)


According to the Tibetan Dharma teaching, there are three (in some texts 5 bodies) of reality, representing the three aspects of the true nature of mind, but also the truth in everything. It is a full body of teaching with volumes of written text and spoken word, exploring the three (or five) kaya. In all respect to that complexity, simply put;

1.  (San.) NIRMANAKAYA, the body of Emanation,  is everything we perceive, the world of  phenomena, usually physical manifestation of  our essential nature, the Dharmakaya.

2.  (San.) SAMBHOGAKAYA , the perfect Resource or Mahasukha, the body or perfect resonance, the ultimate purity (sukha). It refers to the luminous, immaterial, unimpeded reflection- like forms of pure energy of the mind which becomes spontaneously present when the duality between subject and object dissolves, “self-arising” wisdom and compassion.

3.  (San.) DHARMAKAYA, Buddha Nature or body of Reality, is the inherent, ultimate nature or essence of reality. It is empty of inherent existence, naturally radiant, beyond duality and spacious as the sky. One cannot increase is or decrease it. It is ever present in everything, beyond form, time or space.

The teaching on the three kaya, like many other teachings in this tradition is transmitted in the presence of a fully qualified teacher who,  him or herself,  has undergone lifelong training and practice in all aspects of “body, speech and mind”.

 KOSHA (Sanskrit कोश)

According to yogic texts, there are five “sheaths” (pancha kosha) of human consciousness:

1. Ana-maya Kosha, the physical sheath of soma with its five senses.
2.  Prana-maya Kosha, the living matrix of the prana.
3.  Mana-maya Kosha, mind,  mental capacities including emotions.
4. Vijñāna-maya Kosha, unbiased awareness, wisdom consciousness.*
5. Anaanda-maya Kosha,  beyond concept, indescribable, beyond duality, inter-being, “bliss- emptiness”
These five sheaths are not layers. They actually interpenetrate with each other.  Ultimately these sheaths are illusory (San. Maya) as there is no separateness or time.
*Note that this is different than term Vijnana described as one of the five aggregates ( five skandhas).


The concept of  “Life Force” is found in most ancient cultures of the world. In India, it is called Prana, in Tibet, Lungta (wind-horse), in China, Qi, in Japan, Ki, for native Americans, the Great Spirit

For all these cultures, as well as many others, the notion of “life force” is and was central to their forms of healing as well as spirituality. 

Etymologically, it is curious to know that the English word  “breathe”, “inspire”,  as well as the word “spirit”, is derived from the same, Medieval Latin root word spirare (breath; blow; live), the breath of life.




“Within the Dynamic Stillness, we are healed without processor time.

From the Breath of Life, a new living matrix is created in each moment.

The Tide brings us the power of Life and “feeds” us.

The fluids respond, lawfully balancing the power of life

and skillfully “driving” the continuum

towards perfect proportion.”

James Jealous DO

Similarly to Yoga, biodynamic approach to anatomy is not looking at the soma (Zone A, Anamaya kosha) as influencing the health of the energy (Zone B, Pranamaya kosha), but it is rather the other way around.

It is the  Primary Respiration that facilitates the Breath of Life, and it does so within the Dynamic Stillness of the primary Midline (equivalent to  Shushumna Channel in Yoga), which is the primordial intelligence that in-formed our development from the time we were as big as a tear-drop. These embryological forces were, are, and will be present and alive all throughout our life as rhythmical fluid forces (tides), vital to our health and well-being,  far exceeding the bio-mechanical configuration of the soma.

From the point of view of the bio-dynamic approach to anatomy, a cell is not a ” thing”, it is an intelligent metabolic process, ever in flux, depending on its environment and therefore empty of independent existence. In fact, it is not a nucleus of the cell that carries the intelligence as we thought, the “brain” of the cell is actually in the function of the membrane.

Bio-dynamic approach to the human body is more relevant to the view of quantum physics, rather than the Newtonian mechanical look at the nature of reality. As David Bohm proposed, “our existence is, in reality, a higher plane of energy spread everywhere equally like hologram throughout the universe- a reality which we do not have the means to experience directly.  What we understand, said Bohm, is a sequence of momentary unfolding from essential reality which are not “real”, but this is the only reality we know.  He suggested that we should question our own observer reliability of what is real? What does really mean? It is only our interpretation. Is there really out there which we are unable to understand?”

(Anatomy of Potency, Nicholas Handoll)

“An individual is a disturbance in the energy of universe; When that disturbance is confused there is disease; When it is in harmony there is health.” (ibid)

“We are not typical of the universe. It appears that the matter of which we are made of comprises only some 10% of the universe. The remaining 90% of the  universe is made of something we do not understand” (ibid)


MIND TRAINING (Tibetan Lojong)

(Tib. Lojong). Fifty-nine or so proverbs, which are the base of the root text of the Mind Training practice, essentially the practice of the Bodhichita, are designed as a set of antidotes to undesired mental habits which cause struggle, dissatisfaction and suffering. These teaching were first given by  Atisha in 11 century and were kept secret until hundred years later Chekawa Yeshe Dorje  made them public. Some of the proverbs are,  “When everything goes wrong, treat disaster as a way to wake up” and, “Regard all Dharmas’ as a dream”.


PRANA ( San. प्राण), pronounced “praan” 

Prana is the essential life-sustaining force of living beings comparable to Chinese notions of “Qi”.  Most ancient texts state that there are 72,000  fine, subtle pranic channels in the body called nadis. The most subtle form of the prana we know is the breath. Prana itself is not visible to our eyes, and yet we know it’s there. Like electricity, we do not see it, but we know when it connected and when it is not. Poets like Rumi may define it as a “breath within the breath”.

On the subtle level (Pranamaya kosha), prana is a subtle breath, fluid body (primary respiration) that was allowing our formation in-utero. If we use the ocean as an example, our breath is like a wave on top of the ocean, and the prana would be equivalent to the ocean tides controlled by the gravitational forces of planets. Movement of the breath is fully dependent on the prana, yet the movement of the prana is independent from the breath. In a subtle practice we can use the breath to access the prana, yet in advanced practices, prana can be accessed directly.

According to Yoga,  there are  three main channels  (nadis) of the prana:  Ida, Pingala and the Sushumna. “Ida” relates to the right side of the brain and the left side of the body, terminating at the left nostril. “Pingala” relates to the left side of the brain and the right side of the body, terminating at the right nostril.  “Shushumna” is the midline, the central channel associated with the pure stillness (shuniata).

According to the  Ayurveda, the ancient yogic science of  life and healing, Prāṇa is further classified into subcategories, referred to as VAYUS  (San.  वायु, ) .  The vayus are the vital principles of basic energy and subtle faculties of an individual that sustain physiological processes. There are five  inner pranas or vital currents. Tibetan approach, simirarly, talkes about Inner Air  (Lung);

  1. Prāṇavayu : Responsible for the beating of the heart and breathing. On the physical level (Anamaya kosha), prana enters the body through the breath of air (thoracic respiration) and is sent to every cell through the circulatory system. 
  2. Apānavayu : Responsible for the elimination of waste products from the body through the lungs and excretory systems. It is also responsible for  mental and emotional integration. When the body feels tired or sluggish, it is the opening of the apana vayu that allows the expanding of other vayus.
  3. Uḍānavayu : Responsible for our major senses in the head, hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, producing sounds through the vocal apparatus, as in speaking, singing, laughing, and crying,. It also controls the work of the brain with all its complexity. It represents the conscious energy required to produce an action corresponding to ones’ intent.
  4. Samānavayu : Responsible for the digestion of food and cell metabolism  (i.e. the repair and manufacturing of new cells and their growth). Samana also includes the heat regulating processes of the body (San. Agni) which, according to yoga, has a healing power.
  5. Vyānavayu : Responsible for the expansion and contraction processes of the body, e.g. the voluntary muscular system and the connection to the life force around us. 

Practicing how to balance these vital currents in the body  is essential for  life and well-being.

Only by cultivating the subtle awareness of  all these currents of the breath, can one  repair and restore long held habituated postural, physiological and mental patterns.


Qi (Chinese 氣)
In Chinese wisdom tradition,  the force which circulates life (in our body, breath and fluids) is called “Qi”. With strong and full circulation of  Qi, the body is strong, healthy and vibrant. With weak circulation of  Qi, the body is weak or ill. Often referred to as a “subtle breath”, Qi  is not the breathing (thoracic respiration) , although the physical breath is used to forge a link between the mind and the Qi.
In advance practices such as nei-gung, the mind or awareness moves the Qi directly, with or without the assistance of the breathing.
One cannot be “in charge” of Qi. Like a skilled surfer on a wave, one has to  release the muscular effort and relax while maintaining stability, likewise one needs to be relaxed yet alert (Chinese notion of “Sang“), so  that Qi can flow throughout the sophisticated system of the body without obstructions.
These ancient teachings were initially discovered and developed by Taoist monks as they delved deeply into their body and mind during meditation. As they imply immense depth, they have been kept relatively secret for millennia.
In all respect to the depth of the teaching, simply put, the energy system of the body is based on the essential concept of  “Heaven, Earth and Man” (Tien, Di, Ren). Just like a simple battery, which has to be connected to two poles in order for it to work, so it is for the human body. In order for it  to be in balance, it has to be rooted into the earth (sinking Qi), as well as open to the sky. This concept differs from many other traditions,  often over emphasizing the connection to the upper energy flow (some practices of kundalini yoga for example).
Qi is the main idea behind Traditional Chinese Medicine and Accupunture, as well as  many profound practices of movement and marshal arts,  such as  Nei Gung, Qigung, Thai Chi, Hsing -I and Ba Gua.
SHUNYATA (San.  शून्यता)
The absence of inherent existence in all phenomena which was explained by the Buddha in the sutras of the second turning of the Wheel of Dharma, and further elaborated upon by the scholars and masters such as Nagarjuna and Chandrakirti.
Generally, all philosophies tend to fall into one of two extremes: ‘eternalism‘: believing in the existence or permanence of something, or ‘nihilism‘: believing in non-existence. Shunyata goes beyond both of these extremes, because it is neither permanent nor non-existing, and that is, ultimately, how things are.

For  lack of a better explanation, it can be described as pristine stillness, inter-being, interconnectedness, emptiness, fullness, the limitless expressive quality of reality, groundlessness,  clarity, equality of all phenomena. It is like space,  holding all that exists within it, yet itself is without the shape or color, without space or time. Shunyata refers to the experience of glimpsing this quality of mind and nature, as we progress towards an unimpeded immersion in this fundamental nature. We can never experience it with our fragmented mind.

Shunyata is the heart of the Mahayana teaching, known through Prajñāpāramitā ( San.  प्रज्ञापारमिताहृदय; Chinese; 般若波羅蜜多心經)  translated as the “Perfection of  (Transcended) Wisdom”,  elucidated and described in Prajñāpāramitā sūtras. Its mantra is: “Gate Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Boddhi Svaha” , San. गते गते पारगते पारसंगते बोधि स्वाहा (Gone, gone, gone beyond, beyond even beyond to full Awakening (Boddhi)”, the unsurpassable  state, that is beyond Samsara (mental and physical conditioning, suffering) but also beyond Nirvana (bliss of an awakened mind).
Vital Principles of Vijnana Yoga
(Source: © 2003 Vijñāna Yoga Practice Manual, Orit Sen-Gupta)
1. Relaxing the Body  
In the beginning, relax the body. Inhale and with the exhalation release tension. Inhale, and with the following exhalation scan the body from top to bottom and from bottom upwards. Wherever there is gripping or  tension- relax. With time one can observe tense areas releasing and embracing space. Thus the body becomes stable and quiet.

2. Quieting the Mind
When we position ourselves on the mat we distance ourselves from our responsibility to react to the world. The eyes look inward to catch the inner mood, the state of mind. Whether we are concentrated, dispersed or nervous; happy, sad or angry; whether we are afraid, tired or energetic – the eyes are positioned at the back of the head. We observe ourselves and our practice from an inner silence. With each inhalation the eyes sink deeper into the back of the head. With each exhalation there is an intensification of concentration. Empty Mind intensifies itself in practice.

3. Focusing through Intent
Now the body and mind are at ease and stable, quiet and concentrated. From this place we see our objective – Sitting, Pranayama, Asana – and direct ourselves towards it. The mind directs itself to the practice; the body awaits the practice; the heart embraces the practice with all its might. With each inhalation there is an intensification of intent, with each exhalation the sharpening of its direction. By visualizing ourselves sitting, breathing, moving, or by imagining another person in that practice we devote ourselves wholly to it. With each breath, with each pose we reaffirm our intent.

4. Rooting
The mind rests at the place where the body touches the earth. Let the weight of the body sink into this place – for example, the feet. Intensify the weight pressing down, as if the foot would like to sink into the earth, and then feel the power of that downward movement flowing through the body. As the roots of a tree deepen and widen into the earth, so the branches above expand into the sky. It is easy to understand the idea behind rooting, yet surprisingly difficult to execute it in every movement and posture. As rooting is mastered, the body becomes light and loose and moves without effort.

5. Connecting
Always be conscious of two opposite directions that are connected to each other. To go up, go down. To go forwards, shift into the back. Wishing for the left side, steady yourself on the right. Wishing to expand, come from the core. The first direction is the arrow, the second direction is the bow; the thread which binds them is Connecting. In each pose the farthest limb from the ground connects to that which is rooting into the ground. Every single body part in between is whole in itself, a distinct, functioning unit. All the parts are balanced and work together in harmony. Like a chain floating in space, the rings that make up the chain never touch each other. The more each part is distinct, the more the connection between them remains steady – the body in any situation moves in oneness.

6. Awareness of breath
Be aware of inhaling, of exhaling. Inhale – go deep within; exhale – connect to the world. Inhale – accept what is; exhale – give yourself to the earth. Inhale along the body, exhale and root. Inhale and connect the farthest parts, exhale and move into the final pose. While inhaling the body elongates and widens, while exhaling it steadies itself in rooting and connecting. At times the breath is sweet and soft, at times it is deep and long. Sometimes the exhalation lasts longer than the inhalation, sometimes it is short and decisive. At times only in the background, at times the source of action, breath is always present.

7. Expanding – Elongating and Widening
When there is rooting while exhaling, inhaling brings about elongation and widening. Or perhaps the elongating and widening, that occur as a result of rooting, allow for inhalation. When elongating and widening occur, not one ring touches another as the chain called body moves in space. Then there is no sagging into the joints, no effort in the muscles. The skeleton shields its coverings; the coverings create space for the skeleton. Thus the body moves about – relaxed and connected – one.

All the principles coexist and need to be applied at all times, yet it is difficult to oversee their functions simultaneously. In order to deepen our understanding of the principles, we need to choose one that attracts us and work with it constantly until it is mastered. Many times we can work with one or two principles for a few years until these penetrate and become second nature to us. This while remembering that it is only when all the principles coexist simultaneously in practice, that the practice is whole. Therefore when we practice yet feel “stuck” we need to look carefully and find which principle is neglected, and then revive it.



VIJNANA ; Vijñāna (San. विज्ञान, Tibetan རྣམ་པར་ཤེས་པ་,   pronounced viññāṇa

Great Vedantic scholar Sankara, defines Vijñāna as a deep understanding, clarity or wisdom when  reviled through experience.
The word Vijnana derives from Sanskrit Jñāna  ((Hindi: ज्ञान [Gjaːnə], from Pali ñāna; Tib. Yeshe)sometimes translated as primordial wisdom. This primordial wisdom is beyond  comprehension of our dualistic, thought directed, mind. It is beyond the duality of  not- knowing (ignorance), and knowing (cognition).  Jnana reveals itself as an experience  without “experiencer”, beyond subject or object.  In the highest  Tibetan Dharma teachings there is a saying that “we can never see wisdom. It can only be seen by itself”.
Because of the fact that the perception of wisdom ultimately does not have a perceiver,  in Dharma teachings Vijnana  is one of 5 aggregates, also known as 5 skandhas, translated as consciousness.

“Consciousness here refers to the consciousness of impressions from the five senses, and also consciousness of mental objects, like thoughts, ideas and emotions.

The consciousnesses of the five senses (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching) are non-conceptual. Then the information is fed to the mental consciousness, where concepts can enter in.

Visual consciousness registers only colours and shapes. It does not recognize particular colours, which is the function of the skandha of perception. Nor does it identify certain colours as pleasant, which is done by the feeling skandha.

The followers of the Mind Only school identified eight types of consciousness. In addition to the consciousnesses of the five senses and the mind, they spoke of a ‘defiled mental consciousness’ and the famous ‘all-ground consciousness’, or alaya vijñana.

The defiled mental consciousness is closely connected with the ego, and is where the notion of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ enters into experience. It is absent in the meditation of noble beings, but never ceases in the mind stream of an ordinary being. This seventh consciousness relates very closely to our ‘self-image’. After we receive data from the senses, and process them with the sixth consciousness, the defiled mental consciousness asks whether or not this experience fits with how we have come to think of ourselves – our ‘image’, in other words. This means there is a lot of judgment here, paving the way for attachment and aversion.

The alaya consciousness is described as ‘mere knowing, an unspecified apprehension, the object of which is general and uncircumscribed’. It is often likened to a storehouse, in which we keep all our habits and instincts, the imprints or ‘seeds’ of our actions which will ripen into future experiences.” (Rigpa)


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