Thoughts on Practice

Thoughts on practice by Chuck Miller

A compilation of Chuck’s teachings through the years

” We must have that guiding inner light of the Ethos of Yoga, to help us navigate in the journey of yoga; the journey into ourself, which is non-different from the journey into All



I hold the thought they we can all learn from each other, that in fact we are all in this journey together. We share the same planet, the same water, the same air, the same desires for peace and happiness. That the vibrations we create affect all creatures, everywhere. Every breath we take has a spirit and in our practice, we share those vibrations. They are our contributions to the health of the whole. The whole Body/Mind, the whole class, the whole community, the whole world!

And that this idea is central in the teachings and practice of yoga. “Namaste/Namaskara” reflects this. We “NAMA,” bow down, in mutual respect for each other and in awe of the miracle that we all share!!! The difference between us all is not the important thing to focus on but rather the same-ness, Sama.



Ahimsa is the first principal of the philosophy! First, do no harm! Do your best to reduce the injury, the violence, the suffering of all!

If we go deeply enough into that ahimsa (the ‘Beginning!’), Samadhi (the ‘last’) will evolve spontaneously.

Ahimsa requires an increase of our best human qualities! Kindness, compassion, intelligence!

This is the culture we want to further, to support, to put our shoulders behind and gently, lovingly push! Within ourselves, and with each other!

 What does the word Vinyasa mean?

Vinyasa: Gradual, Step-by-Step, Approach.

Understanding ever deeper and deeper, the meaning of the word Vinyasa, is important for those of us intent to learn, to study, to practice this great method called Ashtanga (vinyasa) Yoga.

Gradual, Step-by-Step, Approach! All three of those are interesting in the explorations of Ashtanga Yoga.
Gradual is something that needs to be determined, in Real-Time, as we go, in the Here and Now! It will change all the time! That, in itself, helps us to become more Present! Perhaps the greatest Gift of the practice! It is also the very first word of Patanjla Yoga Dharshana, or ‘The Yoga Sutras.’ It is never done! It is never finished. That idea is false, Maya, an illusion! As if it could be grabbed! Not!
Each student needs to take responsibility to perceive what Gradual means, in the present moment! It is not static. It involves perception, listening to the body/mind. Feeling the muscles, and ligaments, the joints, and organs! Feeling the effect of our practice in the Breath! Adjusting to keep it returning to this state of balance and Oneness we are calling Sama!


Step-by-Step refers to the linking of the BreathMovements into a flowing sequence. It is like taking a walk. Each step is connected, leads to and follows another. Each step is both a preparation for the one to come, a balancing in the Present, and a clearing of any stress from the one we just passed. The steps are unified BreathMovement. A Continuum. They are linked together like beads on a string. That string could be seen as our consciousness. The beads are not pieces or glass, or dead wood. They are alive. Like Seeds! Each seed needs to be planted in the fertile ground of our practice. Cared for, tended, cultivated until they wake up and begin to grow. We soak them with our love, in our sweat! They get fat, they swell, they wake up, just like seeds. A Root is formed, from Consciousness and Energy! That root pushes through the hard shell of the outer layers and finds the Ground, the Earth! The Earth gives back as much as she receives, or more! And there is a Magical Springing Up!
It is a Rebounding, an Uprising! It is Radical, of the root!
Uj, or Ud as in Ujjayi, or Uddiyana. From the connection to the Roots, we reach up into the Heavens, and we occupy the place between. Sama.


Approach is also an appropriate and interesting word! It involves some different qualities. There is an aspect of perspective, of which way and how we are looking, like the Buddha’s ‘Right View!’ That aids us in deciding the direction we choose to go. The word ‘approach’ means to move towards, and there can be in that a feeling of moving gradually.
It is like the word Attitude, our mental state which influences our positive and negative attractions. A way of looking at the world which affects our feelings and reactions and responses. It changes the way we ‘see’ the world. The way we ‘see’ our selves. It changes the way we all perceive how we ‘sit inside’ of ourselves. It shapes our life! And our Life and our Practice become ONE! Sama.

The result of Yoga

“Tada Drashtuhu Swarupe Avasthanam

Tada is a great sanskrit word. It means just exactly what it sounds like it means! TADAAA! ‘Here it is! Here is something great!’ ‘After that, this…’ or ‘and then…’ And then, after that has been, something great happens.

Drashtu, the seer, the perceiver, the witness, that part of ourselves that is witnessing all that we do, all that is happening.

Swarupa, our True Self, our True Form (that is Formless and unchanging).

Avasthanam, abiding in That. It has the word Stha, or sthana in it, stable, steady.

Abidance. To live in.

We abide, we live in, we sit in, the steady state of Sama, the smooth, non-violent, ever Present Realization of our True Form, Centered.

We witness what is happening, as it happens, as it is. Un-colored, un-biased, Pure, Clear Authentic, Natural, Connected to all that is.

The Same as all that is.

Not different, not separate.

OM, home, All one, and none.

Beyond description or intellectual grasping.

See more on http://www.sama-ashtanga.org