Asana

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Asana

Postby Malaclypse » Sat Jul 08, 2006 3:41 pm

I'm just wondering a few details about the bear position presented in Book 4. That's the one I've chosen so I guess I have to stick with it or be lost. I know what it means after having tried a few and realized all of them are really painful.
What I'm wondering about is first of all how exactly are the hands supposed to be positioned? Should I dig the fingers in between the legs, pressed against the hollow of the knees? It usually either feels like my shoulders are about to dislocate themselves or my hands slip down when I try to relax (which I take it I have to if I am to forget about the body).
And is it okay to sit on a pillow and have a back-rest? If I relax my body looks nothing like the one on the picture with neither of the two; I get much more crooked and as I understand it the straightness of the spine is one of the most important things in asana (can anyone confirm if that's because of electrical conductivity reasons, blood flow reasons or some other reason having to do with the spine?). For these reasons the position seems almost absurd, so I'd be most appreciative for your answers.

When I studied Zen, the full lotus position seemed to be the only stable position where the back was completely straight, so how come it isn't even in Book 4? =)

As I understand it, furthermore, the point of asana is to use the easiest medium (the straining of the body compared to that of mind/soul) to harden the mind for dharana and, in fact, all the strictly mental processes following in which one has to go through the same form of elimination by inertia-process until the entire organism is obsolete and the HGA awaits. Correct? But in contrast to this - and I said all this for anyone to confirm and otherwise correct me - exactly how important is it to start with a position like the bear instead of just lying comfortably on the bed but straining not to move a particle of an inch?
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Postby Malaclypse » Mon Jul 10, 2006 4:38 am

Please, can no one answer this one? :/
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Postby Jim Eshelman » Mon Jul 10, 2006 6:46 am

What's the bottom line question?

I started reading the post the day you wrote it, it then seemed to go off in multiple directions, so I stopped reading it. It would help me if you would concisely restate the specific question you want answered.

PS - Book 4 - What volume? What edition? What page? Offhand I don't recall an asana called The Bear. If you want people to comment on something you found in a book, please point to the item in the book.
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Postby zeph » Mon Jul 10, 2006 8:59 am

Speaking generally -- since I also have never heard of The Bear posture -- I can only repeat some advice I received many years ago which has served me well. Any posture in which your body is still and your back is straight is a good posture. For me, that tends to be a half-lotus; if that or the full one worked for you in your Zen days, go with it. You're not going to be lost if you can't do this Bear posture, or any of those other annoying ones to be found in Book 4 -- whatever the volume, edition or page. :wink:

Sitting on a pillow is fine. A backrest is fine, provided you don't use it as an opportunity to allow your back to go slack. Laying on your back is fine, provided you don't take it as an opportunity to practice Liber ZZZ vel Sleep.
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Postby redd fezz » Mon Jul 10, 2006 10:10 am

The only positions I really like are the half-lotus with the cosmic cushion or sitting straight up on the edge of my bed with my hands on my thighs. I highly recommend these as I have never had a problem with pain distractions in these positions.
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Postby jmiller » Mon Jul 10, 2006 11:08 am

Zen and the approaches presented by Crowley take very different approaches to asana. If you want to do it Crowley's way, Fezz, then whether or not you like the posture should have no relevance. I don't think they were designed for initial comfort. You, instead, learn to work yourself into them as a supremely comfortable and undistracting posture through committed practice. Not that I have yet succeeded in this.
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Postby zeph » Mon Jul 10, 2006 2:56 pm

The purpose of asana, it seems to me based on Liber E, cap. III v9, is to be "perfectly steady and easy". I don't know what the Zen approach to asana is; but insofar as a particular posture goes, I don't see why it matters if the chosen posture is one of the four listed in Liber E, or some other posture such as the lotus or the mantaray or the bear or any other.

Clearly, the four asanas listed in Liber E are not designed for initial comfort. On the other hand, I don't believe any asana is! One might think that the first position listed, The God, is an easy one, but go and try to do it for an hour and see how easy it is. Even laying on your back for an hour is uncomfortable at first, if you insist (as you should if practicing asana, I think) on not moving a muscle.
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Postby Malaclypse » Mon Jul 10, 2006 3:55 pm

First of all, thanks so much for your help, people! :)

Well, I'll try my best to be more precise, Jim. =)

The version of the book is the second revised edition and "the bear" is on page 608. I believe I saw the same picture in some other book - perhaps it was my other version of book 4, part I - and iirc it was called "the cosmic egg" or something in there, so maybe that's the reason you don't recall?

The question about the position was mainly how the hands should be held, because they keep slipping if I relax. And I have to relax if I am to forget about the body, right?
The other questions I think were answered by zeph.
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Postby Jim Eshelman » Mon Jul 10, 2006 4:03 pm

Malaclypse wrote:The version of the book is the second revised edition and "the bear" is on page 608.

Sorry if I'm being dense, but... which Part? Book 4 Parts I & II wer initially published separately in 1913, then soon after published together in a single volume - is that the one you mean? Or is this something I've missed in Magick in Theory & Practice (i.e., Book 4, Part III - I think probably the only Part that could have 600+ pages in some edition, though I think all of the copies I have are much smaller)?
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Postby Malaclypse » Mon Jul 10, 2006 4:31 pm

Ah, let's see. *check*

Now I understand. It's in the appendices section, VII. And it was called Liber E I see now. I'm starting to realize just how the versions of the big books can differ...
But yes anyway, I have the thick book with all in one.
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Postby Jim Eshelman » Mon Jul 10, 2006 4:34 pm

Malaclypse wrote:Now I understand. It's in the appendices section, VII. And it was called Liber E I see now. I'm starting to realize just how the versions of the big books can differ...
But yes anyway, I have the thick book with all in one.

Ahhhhhhh. Dohhhhhh! Never occurred to me. Sorry. I never think of that one - I personally always consult the individual volumes Crowley put out, rather than the revisionist volumes.

I'll have to look. Apparently they've added something not in the original.

Yes, Magick in Theory & Practice is Book IV, Part 3, and it's the one that has Liber E and that has appendices.

I'll try to remember to dig out that book tonight and see what you're talking about.
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Postby Malaclypse » Sun Jul 23, 2006 3:10 am

Ah, missed this comment and still have a question. Is it any more information in the single volumes than the revised one of importance? If I remember correct the single Part I book was thicker than the version in mine, but it was a long time since I saw it, though.
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Postby Heru » Fri Jul 28, 2006 12:12 am

Jim Eshelman wrote:I personally always consult the individual volumes Crowley put out, rather than the revisionist volumes.

It's off topic, but would you care to elaborate on that last remark Jim? I'm intrigued. Why do you consider the latest one volume version of MAGICK to be revisionist?
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Postby Jim Eshelman » Fri Jul 28, 2006 5:01 am

Well, I mean it in the most literal sense: there were thousands of changes (revisions) from the original versions of the books.
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Postby Heru » Fri Jul 28, 2006 7:12 am

Oh right. I thought you might have been implying that there was some kind of agenda behind the "revisions" in the current edition. :lol:

I own one of the slightly older Symonds and Grant versions of MAGICK, but have never compared it with the current edition for differences. In fact the only difference I have noticed (besides Grant's footnotes of course) is the different spelling of Daimonos/Daimones in Liber XXV.
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Postby Jim Eshelman » Fri Jul 28, 2006 8:43 am

I prefer the Castle Books version for Part III.
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