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Yoga | Spiritual Influences in Coaching Part 4

This episode is a continuation of the series we are doing on Spiritual Influences in Coaching. In this episode we share:

  • What is Yoga: The Path of Knowledge; The Karmic Wheel; The Heart on Fire; The Nectar of Immortality. Yoga was designed to accelerate the evolutionary process.
  • How has it influenced coaching psychology: The study of consciousness, the mind-body problem, East-West synthesis.
  • Moving forward: Reconceptualizing the bodymind for physical and mental health. Addressing the “life-style” diseases that kill most people in the West.

Watch the next Soul Session in this series on our YouTube Channel.

Yoga Philosophy in Coaching

Transcript

Debra Maldonado  00:02

Hello.

Robert Maldonado  00:03

Welcome back.

Debra Maldonado  00:04

Welcome to another wonderful episode of Soul Sessions with CreativeMind.

Robert Maldonado  00:10

We’ve been doing a series on spiritual influences in coaching. And last time we talked about Rumi, which is one of my favorites. So cool. But we wanted to do one particularly on yoga, because yoga has been such a big influence.

Debra Maldonado  00:28

So popular in the US, all around the world.

Robert Maldonado  00:32

Yeah, I was looking at some of the stats, so 36 million Americans practice yoga.

Debra Maldonado  00:38

Wow.

Robert Maldonado  00:40

And worldwide, it’s about 2 billion people.

Debra Maldonado  00:45

And you’re talking about yoga, like taking yoga classes or—

Robert Maldonado  00:49

Pretty much, yeah, all kinds of yoga is but yeah, what we know in California—

Debra Maldonado  00:56

There’s a yoga center on every corner.

Robert Maldonado  00:58

That’s right. And we love it. The health benefits are remarkable. And there’s really good research now that shows what the benefits are. So things like arthritis, heart disease, high blood pressure, including mood disorders, anxiety, depression, all this stuff is improved by practicing yoga.

Debra Maldonado  01:27

Wonderful.

Robert Maldonado  01:29

So we should teach this stuff in kindergarten basically.

Debra Maldonado  01:33

Yes, let’s do yoga in the kindergarten. That’s right.

Robert Maldonado  01:35

Because if you think about what ails Western societies, it’s primarily lifestyle diseases, like heart disease and obesity, it’s about changing our lifestyle. And yoga is definitely about working, you know, with your mind body so that you’re actively focusing on generating your own health, not waiting to get sick, and then going to the doctor to get fixed, but saying “How can I stay healthy and focused?”

Debra Maldonado  02:12

And so one of the things that we’re trying to do is talk about coaching, and how yoga specifically fits with Jungian coaching.

Robert Maldonado  02:26

Yes, an interesting connection, right?

Debra Maldonado  02:28

So let’s just before we go into the yoga and deeper into that, let’s just define what Jungian coaching is, for those people that don’t know. A lot of people have learned about Jungian theory, psychology, they think of it as more analyst, you know, the psychoanalysts. And the shadow work, a lot of people are familiar with that term. And it’s been kind of taken into more of a therapy mode. And what we’ve done is we created a method of working with Jungian theory in a coaching model. And so how would you describe Jungian coaching? What is a person experience in Jungian coaching? What’s the goal?

Robert Maldonado  03:11

Yeah, so if you read his collected works, which is a huge collection of volumes, but in there Jung is talking about individual development throughout the lifespan. And he was particularly interested in what happens after you reach adulthood, and you’re ready to really create meaning in your life.

Debra Maldonado  03:39

That’s interesting, because a lot of focus in therapy is about your childhood development, with the stages of meeting. Meeting is part of it, but how those early life experiences impact our life. And so a lot of it is looking at the developmental stages early on. And Jung saw a very incredible part of our life is midlife when we are in this stage of individuation

Robert Maldonado  04:10

So individuation is the key to understanding Jung’s work from the coaching model. Because most people have heard about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The very top is need for self actualization. So we can think of Jung work predating that idea. His idea was, we have a need for individuation, which is self actualization, but at a deeper level.

Debra Maldonado  04:46

So the way I would describe it is that early in life, we’re conditioned by our ego. And we have these patterns we all know, those of us who do — personal development is knowing about your patterns and your habits and unconscious drives, and then at midlife, we get a chance to basically have a do over and break away from those old patterns. And what’s different with Jungian coaching is that we’re not rewiring those patterns or making it better patterns or building up the ego, we’re actually creating something completely new, we’re really going deeper within ourselves into working with the unconscious to basically have more connection to our deeper selves, which is already there within us, but we’re not conscious of it. We’re making that conscious. And then we can have a different life and different choices and different experiences.

Robert Maldonado  05:37

And what’s great about the coaching model is that you don’t have to wait to be depressed or anxious, that you can apply this model of transformation when you’re ready to do it, when you’re ready to go to the next level in your life. And it’s a great way to work because, you know, it’s not necessarily that there’s anything wrong with you, you’re not broken, you don’t need fixing. You simply want to express the fullness of your potential.

Debra Maldonado  06:08

Yes. So it’s a potential-based program that actually works with the unconscious, but in a positive, potential-based way versus a “I need to heal what’s in there.” We’re full, nothing in us is broken. We just learn to do things maybe that’s not aligned with our adult life, and it’s time we all should do it. I mean, it’s a natural process everyone goes through. But if you have a coach to help you, guide you, you’re really working in a bigger way to basically expedite that process and be more of yourself.

Robert Maldonado  06:45

Absolutely. So what does that have to do with yoga? Well, Jung was very much influenced by Eastern philosophy. If you read his works, you see throughout [inaudible], Eastern documents, Eastern literature, the classics, as well as the Upanishads, the Gita, the incredible absorption of ancient philosophy, and then putting it into work because what he recognized in Eastern philosophy was very sophisticated way of understanding the mind body.

Debra Maldonado  07:34

What I think I want to say too about yoga, which is the same thing with the Jungian, is that we’re coming from that coaching model versus therapy model. But in yoga too, I see that in the Western culture a lot of it is medicalized. And you know, used as a kind of healing, and yoga really is about the potential as well. It’s about that we have these tools of our mind that we can use.

Robert Maldonado  08:04

Yeah, I thought we’d focus on Iyengar’s work, B.K.S. Iyengar, because he’s been really the main person that brought Hatha Yoga to the West. And you recognize his work in all these yoga studios around us that we see here in California — and worldwide, of course. One point to remember as we go through these ideas in yoga, their point of view was very different than the point of view that we have now, the body and the mind. So in the West, we have basically a materialistic perspective or philosophy on the mind-body that we believe. Well, we are this physical body and the physical body is existing in a physical universe. And then the mind is kind of in our brain, looking out through our eyes and sensing the world. Nothing wrong with that model, works really well. As you can see, we’ve created great things in the West. But the ancient seers, and especially Patanjali, who wrote the Yoga Sutras, his perspective and their perspective was that it’s a conscious universe. Everything is rising out of a primal awareness. And then we experience our mind body within that primal awareness. So it’s very different. And so if you want to understand what were the yoga sutras talking about, and what does yoga mean, you have to take that perspective. So we invite you to shift that perspective and think about everything as being alive, everything as being consciousness, emerging or existing in this primal consciousness, this primal awareness. So it’s an aware universe assumption.

Debra Maldonado  10:11

And that’s what we teach in our work, in our method — everything’s consciousness. So what we’re seeing in the world is in us, and it actually makes things so much easier as a coach because you’re not trying to chase something externally or rearrange the furniture out in the world. All you need to do is shift inside, and the experience changes. So what would you say? How do they see this kind of the body and yoga?

Robert Maldonado  10:44

But Patanjali was writing in the year 250 of the Common Era, which is relatively recent. You know, compared to the Upanishads, which go back a few more thousand years before that. So it’s really what is now called Raja Yoga, or Ashtanga Yoga. And Iyengar codifies it as the eight limbs of yoga. Many studios now teach this Ashtanga Yoga also as the eight limbs of yoga. So I figured, we talked about that, and you can go through each kind of principle, each limb of the yoga. And then we can have a conversation about it.

Debra Maldonado  11:42

Sounds good. Eight limbs. 

Robert Maldonado  11:44

The eight limbs of yoga, yes. It begins with this principle of Yama. So Yama, we can think about it as the moral code. So you want to prepare yourself for yoga by living a good life. And some of the moral codes are non-steal, non-violence, non-coveting. Sounds very familiar, right, to the 10 commandments. Non-stealing, telling the truth, meaning not lying, in other words, don’t be a bad person.

Debra Maldonado  12:30

Don’t be a liar or murder and steal from people. Yes, that’s a pretty good set of rules.

Robert Maldonado  12:36

It’s a good set of rules.

Debra Maldonado  12:39

It’s like a compassion for all living things.

Robert Maldonado  12:43

And we know from philosophy that, let’s say, morality is not the same as spirituality. But you have to start with being a moral person in order to develop your spirituality.

Debra Maldonado  13:01

You can’t be— well, you see people that even have had crimes, and then they feel that kind of guilt. And then they have the dedication “Now I’m going to be a good person.” So they have to start off with the first “I’m going to dedicate and commit to be a good person.” I also think from a consciousness standpoint, if we’re all one consciousness, to steal, hurt others, harm others, or to lie, we’re really just harming ourselves if we see ourselves as one with everything. So from a consciousness standpoint, it makes a lot of sense not to create harm in others because we’re really hurting ourselves.

Robert Maldonado  13:40

Yeah, that’s a good point that this moral code helps us get along in society.

Debra Maldonado  13:47

And then also, just from a spiritual perspective, you’re having the right understanding.

Robert Maldonado  13:53

You’re putting yourself on the right track, and you’re setting the intention “I’m going to follow the righteous path.” Absolutely. Then the second limb is Niyama. So if the first one is Yama, this is Niyama, and the difference is that this is more individual. So you stop doing the bad things. You stop lying, stop cheating — not that you’re doing those—, but you want to consciously make an effort. But then you start to cultivate the good things. You start to cultivate purity, contentment.

Debra Maldonado  14:34

That’s a hard one for a lot of people, just to be content. Because the mind is always looking for things to be dissatisfied with. And so to have that contentment is something that we almost have to intentionally— we are waiting for contentment to happen but we have to basically intend to be content.

Robert Maldonado  14:51

That’s right. That’s definitely in the eastern philosophies that it sees us as definitely having these great qualities but that you have to cultivate them, they’re not going to come out just naturally. Our basic base instincts are very primal, meaning it’s about us and it’s about impression and competition and that if you want to follow this spiritual path, you have to cultivate this. So purity, contentment, austerity, study, meaning study of the higher knowledge and devotion, dedication, meaning, discipline.

Debra Maldonado  15:38

And I love that discipline too that you’re taking on the discipline of practice. I think too much in the coaching industry right now, personal development industry, it’s all about quick fix, I want to, you know, just fix my life in 90 days, and I think just in our culture, we just want that quick satisfaction. And we’ve lost that sense of commitment to our own path and our own practice, and that it’s a lifelong practice, not just “I only could do these things when I’m feeling bad”, you know, that kind of “I’m gonna pick up my yoga or meditation when I’m stressed out, but then when everything’s going well with my life I’m going to drop it”, or “I’m only going to read when I’m in a spiritual crisis. And then when everything’s going well, oh, yeah, let’s plan our vacation to the Bahamas and not worry about it.” So it’s that I think we all have to make a commitment to Niyama. 

Robert Maldonado  16:42

Yama and niyama, yes. So now imagine that’s only the preparation for the asanas. And the asanas are the positions, the actual physical practice of yoga. The primary aim of asanas, or the practice of asana is to make the body flexible, make sure all the organs and systems are working optimally. Strengthen the body, make it strong enough for real focus and dedication that’s going to come later.

Debra Maldonado  17:23

And it’s important because if you don’t have a body, and it’s not healthy, where’s your soul going to live? How are you going to experience this life if your body is— I mean, you need a healthy body. And also for meditation practice, if you have illness, it’s harder to focus and work with your mind, if you’re in pain, or suffering or all those things. So the healthier you are, the easier it is to reach higher states.

Robert Maldonado  17:49

Absolutely. And we know from research, like we were saying, it helps with anxiety and depression. So what it does, it stabilizes the nervous system, this practice of asanas. And of course, the more practice along with the moral codes, you’re living a more pure life, in other words the pure nature in our mind is beginning to shine forth, to come to the surface. So alignment of the body and that mental stability, all this is done by the practice of the asana.

Debra Maldonado  18:31

Yeah, the breathing, focusing, also coordination and kind of the mind and body are starting to connect. Just focus, you know, the balance and all those things. It’s like you’re preparing that physical body to be balanced, and then we’re going to go to this level, but we need that. It warms you up because it’s a very tangible place. Where do you place your breathing, you know, where’s your body. For me, when I do yoga, I’m fully in my body, I can feel every muscle and every thing, even the midsection we don’t pay much attention to but doing the twists, and you’re feeling the lungs go in and out. It just is a beautiful practice to focus and center. And I think there’s a love to the body too, you’re honoring your body, this beautiful vessel that you get to live in.

Robert Maldonado  19:28

Yeah, it’s a very different approach from a lot of spiritual systems that denigrate the body. They see the body as a burden, as something to castigate, to mortify. And here we’re saying, or this philosophy is saying “No, the body should be respected. It’s part of the spiritual experience of being a human being, and as such you should take care of it. And you should use your intelligence to look out for it and to bring it to its full flowering.” And so you mentioned breathing, but this is the next stage, Pranayama. It’s working with the breath to direct the vital energy in our body.

Debra Maldonado  20:24

So it’s that subtle energy between the body and the mind, that energetic breath. And even if you do the breath work, you feel the breath going through every cell, like it’s part of you. And it’s energetic.

Robert Maldonado  20:39

Very powerful. And we know from research and from psychology, the psychology of emotions, breathing is tied to the unconscious emotional life in us.

Debra Maldonado  20:58

It’s also tied to when you breathe and you’re in pain, breathing actually helps lower the pain toll, or lower the pain in your body. Like if you have cramps, or I used to do a lot of hypnosis for childbirth in my early career. That’s really, really—

Robert Maldonado  21:20

Did you do the Lamaze breathing?

Debra Maldonado  21:24

I didn’t do the Lamaze, but I did more [inaudible]. But breathing is a part of that. And then if you’re feeling stressed, or any kind of stress, that is— someone’s posting that they have some heart palpitations, this is not about heal a medical— we’re not gonna addressing medical issues. So I would say I would speak to a medical professional about that.

Robert Maldonado  21:47

Yeah, absolutely. In time you’re going to begin a practice of yoga, you should check with your medical doctor and get it checked off.

Debra Maldonado  21:59

We’re talking about the yoga philosophy, not treating something. So definitely get in touch with a professional if you have anything physical showing up.

Robert Maldonado  22:10

Yes, but the research shows that it does help with heart problems. So there’s some research even that it looked at reversing actual heart disease, which is an incredible idea to actually—

Debra Maldonado  22:27

Or diabetes and all those— arthritis.

Robert Maldonado  22:33

So it’s a very powerful way of working with your mind body. But definitely you want to start on the right track by getting your doctor on board and then finding a good teacher to practice with. So pranayama is about the breath. But it’s more than that again, because remember, Patanjali, the developer, or he was really the codifier who brought in a lot of the information available at that time on different yogas, has put it all together in his book, The Sutras, the Yoga Sutras. He was talking more about a conscious universe, again, a conscious mind body, not a physical body separated by— or that the mind was separate from the body, but that what we call the body or what we experience in or as our body is a conscious manifestation. It is the physical appearance of the mind in essence. So the prana is more like the life force. Not only the oxygen, not only the oxygen circulating in our system, but it is the life force that animates the body. So that’s the fourth limb. The fifth limb is pratyahara. Now here we’re starting to get into more what looks like meditation.

Debra Maldonado  24:20

So first, we’re setting the intention to be good. We’re letting go the bad moral, setting the intention for higher knowledge and study and growth. And then the third is we’re working with the body and the [inadubile], and then the fourth is working with the breath. And now we’re getting to the mind.

Robert Maldonado  24:43

Yes. Pratyahara means drawing in our senses. I love one of the analogies they use that it’s like a turtle drawing in its limbs, its head, and its tail into its shell. Because if you look at the way we live in the world, our senses are always directed outward, we’re always looking at objects, looking at things out there. We’re always after the stuff out there. So in meditation and this kind of yoga we’re drawing them in, we’re taking them back in, it’s beginning that self inquiry process of looking inward. In the Upanishads it says that what we want to do is turn this big ship of sensing inward, turn the spotlight inward into our own mind. And so this stage is actually a stage of practice, meaning, once you master enough of your body through asana work, through breath work, now you start to focus on the mind and turn it inward.

Debra Maldonado  26:04

And I think, if we don’t do the initial setting up, it’s really hard to focus because you’re still anxious about what’s going on in the world. Now on our channel, there is a third eye meditation, where you do just that, where you practice pulling the mind in. So it’s another video in our channel, if you want to check that out. Rob did a beautiful job of pulling the senses inward. If you want to have that experience.

Robert Maldonado  26:32

And you start to see then what is the real purpose of yoga. And it definitely has all these side benefits of health and wellness and the steadiness of the nerves and all that. But really the ultimate goal is a lot different. It’s self realization. It is the word yoga, right. It’s related to yoking, it’s yoking our individual essence with the divine essence, with the Universal Mind. After the fifth, after you start to pull everything in, and you’re able to do this consistently, then the sixth limb of yoga is called dharana, making your mind one-pointed. So it’s essentially what we think of as concentration. But of course, because now you’re working with your inner mind, it’s not concentrating on an external object, it’s concentrating on an internal object. So an internal object can be a great idea.

Debra Maldonado  27:59

There’s a practice of a virtual object, to hold an image of a symbol, a light, a candle, focusing on that, to have that one point in mind. And the end, I remember when we used to do a lot of meditations and different places we would go, Zen, and Buddhists, and Vedanta, that some of them were about focusing just on a spot on the wall, you just pick a spot on the wall and just focus, and you’re letting your mind just everything fall away. And there’s something incredible, like your focus on nothing basically, except that one point, and then it’s like an emptying of the mind, it’s like unburdening of all the worries and concerns of the waking world. And you’re just kind of going into that silence, which is very beautiful. And the reason why I want to add in, what does this have to do with coaching is that we work with the mind in coaching, and if the client doesn’t know how to focus, if they’re constantly chasing objects in the world, and they don’t know how to settle their mind, they’re not going to have the transformation they need, to have the patience and the commitment to actually get the transformation because their mind is so unsettled. I find that the more people can focus, the more effective they are with their visualizations, with working with active imagination, with being able to be grounded. When things in the world are getting a little chaotic, they’re not sucked in so easily. And they’re able to basically easily extract themselves from that ego reaction and start to really pull in these higher principles of their mind. It’s almost like the yoga gives us a practice to work. Get the mind basically as a tool, fine tuning us, so that we can do the individuation process.

Robert Maldonado  30:02

I love also the analogy of a chariot with five horses. And the horses, of course, are the senses. And the chariot is our body, we have to be able to take the reins, otherwise the horses— one is pulling one way and another one is pulling another way, or they’re taking you down the path of conditioning, meaning your past experiences. Yoga was designed to help you take the reins of the chariot, so you were able to drive it consciously, very different experience than letting your senses simply run amok. So that ability to focus, to say “This is where I want you to stay.” It’s like when you train a dog and you tell it stay.

Debra Maldonado  31:04

Put a biscuit on its nose, staying there. That’s one-pointed focus. And so if you can do that, it’s like an instrument, the mind is that instrument that we’re having an experience in this world. If it’s all over the place, and it doesn’t matter if you can feel good feelings, or run away from bad feelings, but if your mind is not disciplined, it’s gonna be hard to really have momentum in your personal growth, in your spiritual growth because your mind is still like a monkey mind, pulling you in all directions. So these practices are very, very important as part of a whole system versus just quick fix.

Robert Maldonado  31:48

And a lot of us resist discipline. Because we think it’s the opposite of freedom. But it’s actually the only way to have freedom. If you are not disciplined or you don’t discipline your mind, it won’t do what you ask it to do, it will do what it wants to do. Like an untrained dog, or a horse that just kind of carries you.

Debra Maldonado  32:21

Or a cat who does whatever it wants. To watch cat videos, they’re all over the place.

Robert Maldonado  32:26

One of the best movies we saw a while back was Life of Pi where he’s stuck with a tiger. It’s a metaphor of working with a mind. If you don’t tame it, it will eat up your time, it will eat up your energy.

Debra Maldonado  32:45

You’ll be afraid of it, you’ll be afraid of life.

Robert Maldonado  32:46

But if you take the time to discipline and train that tiger, then you can coexist with it. And it gives you meaning, it gives you power, all that good stuff. So that’s only the sixth limb so we still have a couple of limbs to go.

Debra Maldonado  33:07

What’s the next limb?

Robert Maldonado  33:08

So once we practice the asanas, meaning we’ve created or started to create a healthy mind body, then we’re able to work with our breath in order to really steady the mind and create states of mind that are beneficial and energetic. Then we start to focus the mind— oh, to draw in the senses, and then to focus them wherever we want to. For example, if we’re studying higher knowledge, we can think of a great idea or something, some great insight that we learn from that higher knowledge, and concentrate on it.

Debra Maldonado  33:53

So if you have, let’s say, Jung, until you make the unconscious conscious, this will direct your life. And you’ll think it is fate, to meditate on that idea, for example, or meditate on the idea that we’re all one, we’re one with everything or everything is consciousness. It gives your mind a place to focus and then it arises, the wisdom will arise through that focus.

Robert Maldonado  34:18

Then you get to the seventh limb, which is dhyana, that is what the ancients called meditation. So we see that preparation for this deeper meditation, this training of the mind body in a very systematic way.

Debra Maldonado  34:46

And that’s why we do that dosana after yoga, after you do the exercise. You go into that meditative state because you’ve worked with all the other limbs, setting the intention, “We’re good people”, you get out all those things. And then we’re working with the body, working with the breath, focusing one-pointed. And then we relax into that state.

Robert Maldonado  35:10

Yes, I think there’s a little bit different, this would be done in that full lotus position. But there are many variations, of course, and there are many different schools. This is just based on Iyengar.

Debra Maldonado  35:29

So you would go to yoga, you do the yoga, and then you would sit up and do the concentration, which actually I think is different than the laying back, it’s more of a letting go. But the concentration you’re talking about is with the straight back and all those things, it’s not fully comfortable, it’s more of an awakened state of meditation, where you’re being very aware of your body and its positioning and all that.

Robert Maldonado  35:58

Yes, you do have to be very conscious of the positions of the body so that you don’t fall asleep, so that you’re in an awake and alert state, but you’re looking inwards. So what’s going on in this kind of meditation is you’re not consciously experiencing the source of your awareness, the pure awareness. And pure awareness, pure consciousness is like water, whatever you pour it into, it takes that shape. So now, with that power of concentration and focus, you start to focus and meditate or concentrate on the divine essence. So now, because your individual expression of consciousness is taking that shape, you become one with the divine through this kind of meditation. So that’s the objective, that is self realization in this context.

Debra Maldonado  37:14

And then whatever you focus on in that, talk about your thoughts, create your life, whatever intention you have in that state is much more powerful than in the scattered brain state of fear and all that.

Robert Maldonado  37:27

Yes and no, because in that state there’s nothing to gain. If you are the universal divine, what are you lacking?

Debra Maldonado  37:38

But we do have a physical body. So we have to create in this world, so to have that access to that higher state and be in the world at the same time would be beneficial, don’t you think? Because then you can work with creativity—

Robert Maldonado  37:55

Oh, absolutely. Yeah.

Debra Maldonado  37:56

Abundance and all those things.

Robert Maldonado  37:59

Yes. All I’m saying is that wasn’t the intention of Patanjali’s yoga. The intention was the freedom from that conditioning of the mind body.

Debra Maldonado  38:20

But when you’re free from that conditioning, more things are possible.

Robert Maldonado  38:23

Yeah. So there’s even one more limb then, which is samadhi.

Debra Maldonado  38:29

I know Wayne Dyer talks a lot about— well, used to talk a lot about samadhi.

Robert Maldonado  38:33

Yeah. Because it is the ultimate state of being. It’s complete absorption into the divine, very much the blissful. In the Upanishads, the true self is described as existence, consciousness, bliss. Now, here’s the important part — it’s not saying that the self exists, it is saying the self is existence itself. In other words, you’re not reaching a state of beingness, you are beingness itself, which is very different.

Debra Maldonado  39:25

Because if you were being that means there’s the opposite of non-being. But there’s no nothing, you’re never not being. You’re eternal.

Robert Maldonado  39:38

It’s that non-dual state.

Debra Maldonado  39:40

So when we’re in that very lower states, we feel separate, we feel scared, we feel outside the world has so much power. And what this process does, these eight limbs, is brings us to that state of oneness with everything, our true nature. And so when we talk about these eight limbs, is that something that someone would do in one practice? They would set the intention, do all these things, you know, how is this practical for every everyone here? How would we apply this knowledge, these eight limbs?

Robert Maldonado  40:15

It is a discipline. So like any discipline, you start where you’re at. So obviously, like this person that wrote about their concerns about their health, if that’s where you’re at, that’s where you start, meaning you start with the asanas to regain that sense of health and balance.

Debra Maldonado  40:45

You do physical yoga, and then the breathing and all that other stuff.

Robert Maldonado  40:49

That’s right. So it’s a very practical, methodical method. Now, obviously, if you don’t have any health concerns, then you start maybe at the higher level, meaning you go through that process but you’re going through it quicker.

Debra Maldonado  41:06

Well, if you have a problem with morality, like I can’t stop lying, stealing from people, I would start there.

Robert Maldonado  41:12

Yeah, of course, we all start there in a sense.

Debra Maldonado  41:14

In a sense, we have this sense of I want to be a virtuous person, and be compassionate to others and see others as myself. Even in Christianity, they say, you know, treat your brother like yourself, that kind of thing. And then the second one would be the commitment. And I think that’s really where— I think most of us that do personal development, we have the moral, we all want to be good people, we’re not stealing and all those things. But I think for most people, where they have to begin is “am I committed to a practice of personal growth?” Because I’ve known so many people, you know, I used to do a lot of love coaching. And I know a lot of people who just did personal development because they wanted to find a partner. And then as soon as they found their partner, they were like, pff, I’m done with working on myself. They didn’t develop themselves, they didn’t continue. Not everyone but there are people that were just using the spiritual principles to get material things. And then when they got the material things, they were gone. And what we’re saying here is that if you really want true peace in your life forever, you have to start with that commitment and that dedication. This is not just “when I get the goodies, I’m doing this until I get the goodies.” You’re doing this because you have something bigger than just the goodies, you want to have enlightenment. And so that’s where we would start. And then the next step is doing the asanas. Even if you do a few, like a downward dog a day or stretching. Would you recommend from that asana perspective what someone can do at home? There’s a lot of yoga videos. What would you say would be a practice for people? And for coaches, if they have clients, what would they do?

Robert Maldonado  43:01

Yeah, again, it would depend on where you’re at physically. I used to work with this young man who was paralyzed from the neck down, quadriplegic. And we used to do the mental parts of the yoga.

Debra Maldonado  43:27

Like he would imagine in his mind doing the asanas?

Robert Maldonado  43:32

Something like that. But it’s more of the focus and gaining understanding. Because if you look at what the yoga philosophy says about personal development, that personal journey that you’re taking through yoga, there are obstacles, and the primary one is ignorance, we don’t know what the nature of the mind is. So that practice in itself begins wherever the person is at. If they don’t know anything about the nature of the mind, not only study it, but really understand it right? In the Upanishads it says the stages are like this, you first hear about this information, this knowledge, or you read it or somebody tells it to you, but you’re not going to stop there because that’s just kind of intellectual understanding. Then it says you contemplate it, meaning you think about it, you’d spend time mulling it over, asking “How does this fit into my life? What do I do with this? What does this mean about the nature of the mind, the nature of reality?” Then the third stage is you do the meditation, you hold it in your mind “Wow, is this really true? And can I hold this truth as an absolute reality?

Debra Maldonado  45:12

And so for a coach understanding the yoga philosophy, what would you say someone who’s— you know, we get a lot of people that do our coach training that have backgrounds in yoga. So how do you see them integrating?

Robert Maldonado  45:24

Well, you know, in our work, we integrate the Eastern philosophy into the Jungian coaching. So I see it as Jung’s model gives us a personal way to start the process.

Debra Maldonado  45:41

Like the psychological— psyche, understanding our personal history and shadow, and ego and that kind of thing? Like the personality?

Robert Maldonado  45:53

What do we do with the triggers and the challenges at work, and with my family and home and all this.

Debra Maldonado  46:01

Practical human problems?

Robert Maldonado  46:04

Yes. It is very much like that purification which leads us then to the deeper understanding “Well, okay then, what is the nature of the mind? And how do I work with the mind?”

Debra Maldonado  46:19

I think that the merging for me is that I knew all this knowledge intellectually, your unlimited potential, you’re one with everything. I mean, we’ve all heard this a million times. And I think Jungian working out with the things in your life that triggers, the people that are triggering you, the conflicts that show up, it gives you a direct experience of these higher yogic principles of oneness, of higher knowledge, of consciousness. And it’s that what we need as a human being, we have a workshop of human problems to work with, and we don’t want to see them as something that needs to be healed or something wounded or anything bad. More about this is human life, this is the ego and how do we use these human problems as a way to reach this higher state versus how do I just fix the problems, have a better human life. It’s more like using the problems as a teacher for us to understand who we really are. I love the uniqueness of it because if you study certain philosophy, they don’t really get into the personality and the past history, it’s all about just high concepts. But if you just work on therapy or your past, there’s no high concept there either. So you’re just working in rearranging the furniture, but it’s the merging of the high concept, high consciousness and the personal, merging together. So you can have a direct experience of your own divine nature. That’s what I see it as. One other question I have for you, Rob, before we go is that I know a lot of people that study yoga, study the chakras. And I know we talked about that. What do you see in what they teach in yoga and how does that apply? Because there’s a lot of people that teach yoga and they’re interested in yoga philosophy, and they work with the chakras, and how did the yoga philosophy see chakra system? There’s a specific type of yoga that talks about it.

Robert Maldonado  48:32

The chakras come from Tantric Yoga, and Tantric Yoga, you see it not only in traditional Hindu yoga, but also in Buddhism, which is a different school. But Tantra essentially goes back to these two principles that you have pure consciousness, which is Shiva, and you have the material manifestation, or what appears to us as the material manifestation of Shakti. So, Shiva and Shakti are these two principles that we are working with. And the Kundalini then, which is the the primal energy, the creative energy that is at the base of the spine? The objective of Tantric Yoga or tantric meditation is to bring that up to consciousness, to awareness.

Debra Maldonado  49:38

And what’s interesting is the Kundalini is often represented as a snake, which in myths and symbolism and Jungian psychology, the snake represents higher knowledge. And so it’s that kind of bringing in— so the idea that the chakras are meant—

Robert Maldonado  49:59

Because the paradigm that the tantric philosophy was developed in was, again, a conscious paradigm, they did not see the body as a physical entity. So we see, for example, in the West, people trying to connect it to the glands and stuff, there’s nothing wrong with it, there probably is some connection to those things. But the original philosophy was not developed in— it wasn’t a medical model, it was that consciousness is primary, and then the body arises out of that.

Debra Maldonado  50:42

So instead of trying to fix the body, or the physical, like a physical chakra, to heal it or something, we start with the consciousness and that pours out to. So it’s just like the medical model of “Oh, you have cancer, let me give you chemicals. And let me treat the body without treating the mind.” And so we want to remember that this is really about consciousness, everything’s consciousness and everything’s potential and moving through from the inside out versus the outside in. Is that what you’re saying?

Robert Maldonado  51:14

Yeah, and here I’m only speaking of the origins of these ideas. Now, throughout the years, of course, there’s been a lot of different schools that have developed different modalities based on the chakra system and the Kundalini and other tantric ideas. So there’s definitely room for experimentation and growth. And that’s what I love about Eastern philosophy is that it is a philosophy. And it’s essentially always saying, experience for yourself, find it in you, in your own practice.

Debra Maldonado  51:51

But I think ultimately, whether you’re doing psychology or yoga philosophy, that the whole message is that we’re conditioned early in life to fix things externally, and fix very mechanically, move things around in the world, so that we can have peace of mind. But in yoga and Jungian, it’s more, no, it’s coming from the inside out versus the outside in. And I think that’s what you say when we pull the attention to out, from outside the senses inward, we’re really reclaiming that power. And the reason why we have anxiety and stress and anger and all these emotions, and relationships that have conflicts is because we misperceive who we are. And if we start from the right understanding, the outside flows, everything will be in balance. But we got to get back to the root versus just working on the symptoms, which is I think a lot of what I did when I was first doing personal development. It was all about just putting band aids. Oh, I feel stressed, let me do this meditation. Like I said, you pick up the self help when you’re in a breakup, or stress about money, and you’re not committed to the higher evolution of who you are, and connecting to that higher place. And we’re almost settling for crumbs when we can have the universe and potential inside of us to access. We settle for the little things in life when we can have the universe.

Robert Maldonado  53:31

It’s encouraging to see how many people are interested in yoga, and how many people practice it, not only in the US but worldwide, and it seems to be growing and growing. So we definitely want to encourage yoga teachers and yoga students to continue on this path. It’s a great way to live as a lifestyle, very healthy, has great benefits, but also to take it deeper. So wherever you are at on the path, commit to going to the next level, right? If you’re practicing once a week, go to the next level and practice more. If you only know the basics of the philosophy, commit to learning more about it, to going deeper into the philosophy.

Debra Maldonado  54:29

Do you have a book that you would recommend with yoga? Is that the Sutras?

Robert Maldonado  54:35

Actually the Patanjali Yoga Sutras are very difficult to read. But the Iyengar’s work is very accessible. He wrote a couple books before he died. He only died a few years ago. One is called Light On Life. The other one is The Tree of Yoga. Great books to delve deeper into the philosophy.

Debra Maldonado  55:07

So, thank you for joining us today. Thank you all for your questions. And we hope you feel at ease. If you do have something wrong physically, this is not to replace medical treatment, I just have to say that. If there’s something in your body that doesn’t feel right, you should always seek help from a professional. But also one of the big benefits of yoga meditation is that it helps put the body back in balance. It’s not to treat illness per se, because it’s not a medical system, we have to legally say that. But we know that the more you take care of your mind, the healthier you’ll be, the longer you live, the happier you’ll be, bliss you’ll have in your life.

Robert Maldonado  55:56

And one last thing for those yoga teachers out there or people that just want to incorporate yoga into their work. Our Jungian coaching model fits perfectly with the yoga philosophy. It’s very amenable, it’s easy to integrate into your yoga practice, both personally and for your clients.

Debra Maldonado  56:29

So definitely check us out. And we’ll see you on next week. We’ll have another episode on the spiritual influences in coaching. I don’t know again, I forgot to look at the list of what we’re doing next week. But we have some really great next couple of weeks. Great topics. And thank you, everyone, for joining us. Have a great rest of your week. Have a great weekend. Stay warm, and stay well. Take care. Bye bye.

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