I discovered my current teacher in 2004 and have been guided by him ever since. He has taught me to have patience and persistence in my practice and to have faith in myself. I am sometimes asked by family or friends that don’t do yoga how long it’s going to take before I get certified or complete my training with him. I smile and try to explain there is no end to this. How can you put a limit on self discovery and wisdom?
Quotes from Shandor Remete, founder of Shadow Yoga
“At the beginning of every new subject in ancient Indian texts, the word ‘atha’ appears. Most readers pass over this single word without realising its great significance. It indicates that something else, something unstated should have taken place before this new subject is approached. Without the proper application of the preceding information a person who undertakes the next step will stumble. This conveys a warning that one should thoroughly investigate the required preliminaries before engaging in experimentation. Bearing this in mind, the beginner should tread with caution when acquiring theoretical knowledge. They should not forget that they are dealing with the practical science of yoga.”
from Shadow Yoga, Chaya Yoga © 2006 by Shandor Remete
“Yoga is a system of education that imparts the secrets of controlling the complex energy fields of the human form. Through the dissolving and merging of these opposing energies into one whole, the body is made fit for the journey of life. It is not a fancy exercise programme dressed in spiritual clothes, as many of its present day practitioners view it. Yoga is a spiritual science of practical living. It is imparted by teachers who have encountered this wisdom. Their love of this knowledge provides the spark that lights the torch of wisdom for the student.
The mastery of yoga has always been achieved through the combination of three sciences. From the knowledge of Marma sthana (the 108 vital points of the body), one gains control over the bodily functions through the practice of asanas (bodily positions). Mastery of the science of Nadis (subtle channels) gives rise to inner light through the practice of pranayama (breath control). The science of Vayus (internal currents of wind) enables the practitioner to hear the quiet whispers from within that teach the secret names of the one who is the source and support of everything in this world.
These three sciences have, since time immemorial, been revealed to students through a series of uncomplicated body movements. Their simplicity allows the natural responses of the body’s hidden intelligence to surface without the excitement triggered by excessive muscular effort. Excessive muscular action induces vata (disturbed wind), a condition that manifests as structural and psycho-emotional instability. This leads to kapha (mucus) which causes heaviness and depression. This in turn will disturb the element of fire, giving rise to obsessive and ultimately destructive behaviour.
Unless the sciences of marmas, nadis and vayus have been communicated well by the teacher and correctly applied, the student will start off in the wrong direction and move inexorably towards a state of profound disharmony. The outcome of correct practice is harmony, which is the true state of wisdom called Yoga.
The teacher only exists to prepare the student so that the steady light of the student’s own wisdom will illuminate his own path. There are no guides to the path of life and the same path can never be walked twice since it is personal and unique. The laws of this journey are that each step is unrepeatable and unforeseen. One has no option but to respond to the demands of this real adventure. Everything is constantly moving and changing as one stage dissolves into the next to reveal new configurations, climates and landscapes.”
© Shandor Remete
“The movements of the mind are clearly expressed in the external forms and actions of the physical body. But for the individual these movements of mind are hidden in the consciousness like a moving shadow. Because of this, the mind is in a constant state of wandering, changing its attachment from one thing to another and slowly depleting the life force. In the practice of Hatha Yoga the energy of the mind is turned back in on itself and the life force cultivated. The inner intelligence grows and begins to reclaim the center, which the mind has seized. The mind, the source of our habitual patterns of thought and movement fights to preserve the old regime. This struggle can manifest in many kinds of reaction – emotional, mental, and physical. Only by persevering with the practice will these difficulties be overcome. This process is the hidden yoking, the yoking of the shadow. Then our illusory feeling of separateness disappears and we regain the living wisdom that comes from standing in the light.”
© 2003 Shandor Remete
Radhasri (Rhonda Fogel) has been teaching yoga in Canada since 1998 and is the founder of Hatha Yoga Shala currently based in Montreal.