The yogi interested in the greater reaches of yoga for self-realisation do asana as part of an inner journey inner journey. This becomes more clear when we investigate the energetic sheaths, or koshers, that surrounds the body. This is one way to understand how we may heal, holistically:
We loosen the physical body to open up to more energy flow into it, and within it. This is why yoga is so simple, and so powerful, and why I emphasise the understanding and feeling that “looseness” unblocks body stress, caused by poor posture, incorrect body use and dominant emotional or mental aspects. For me yoga is not about its gymnastic potential, but about alignment and openness. Meditation let’s us feel our centre (or absence of), and is not meant to pacify, but to sharpen a connection “with everything”.
Integral yoga practice encourages inner awareness grows, holistically – otherwise disconnected, scattered aspects integrates. Asana combined with pranayama purifies and strengthens the body and mind, and in the process we develop awareness of a different kind of mental knowing and heart wisdom, one that encourages us to follow our bliss… so that we begin to do what we love, and love doing it, and feel more self love, and love for everything more.
We begin to experience our inner divine self. Don’t be misled to not make the journey. Don’t be afraid to go within. These are the journeys often suppressed by orthodoxy that often overlooks the fact that enlightenment is an inner process of reclaiming one’s inner divinity by making the body the temple, and not the dogma, rites and beliefs of the system. The system that should never assumes power as intermediary between the heavens and the earth.
We are literally made of divine energy, life force, prone. There is no merit in a system that sells itself as purveyor of an external saviour.
Yoga beautifully suggests that as one becomes aware of the value of everything that is because everything, the whole universe, whatever that whole may be, is as an expression of god. And then guides the seeker on a journey of awareness, and consciousness, to find that connection inside, and become whole from within, going back home, to god, to consciousness, whatever you fancy (Yoga actually describes self-actualisation as a journey back to god, in so many words. It is bizarre when religion speak out against yoga, and even more absurd that so many people are told that they can be saved by handing over their inner journey to a system that claims exclusive representation of the universe).
More important perhaps is that all we need to know is that we should not let emotions and thoughts (in any form, ambition, ego, competitiveness, pride, hatred, etc) dominate our lives. That is unconscious, ignorance; yoga philosophy suggests that each of the sheaths or koshas is an appearance, or appearances of reality. As real as the world is, and the tangible reality, all is “maya”, an illusion. The life force, or prana, the energy that is you, the force that lets trees grow, or humans is the real force underneath all of those appearances. Spiritually we are pure, divine, eternal consciousness, all that is. This is one of the fundamental principles of antique, original yoga, as written in the Vedanta, the oldest recorded history of mankind. This is the knowledge and wisdom of yoga meditation too, and of course its origin is unknown – it goes back to times fittingly shrouded in the mysteries of time, as the techniques and wisdom it carries is timeless. In this way, the maya of the koshers are revealed for what it is. All perception except direct perception is veiled, a construct of some sort. Go within, through the layers of sheaths, and connect to the beautiful manifestations of the universal oneness at your own centre.
● Physical (Anamaya kosha)
● Energy (Pranamaya kosha)
● Mental (Manamaya kosha)
● Wisdom (Vijnanamaya kosha)
● Bliss (Anandamaya kasha)
● Self (Realisation, Actualisation of Atman)
Herewith, as inspiration, a remainder: when we hold our bodies, as yoga suggests, in loose arrangement of muscle and bone, it is free from stress. This feels better, from the inside, and looks more graceful. And that outer poise of Zen art comes from inner strength – from strong core muscles cultivated by correct breathing, and assorted other asana practices, and meditation, to feel the inner centre, and make its connection to the greater life force.
This helps us balance our physical, mental and emotional aspects, to let us harmonise body, mind, and spirit. It is actually quite simple. In practice of course, it gets complicated – when we over-intecltualize it, or refuse to surrender to god, within, and without, or within and without. Just go back to with, and connect in direct perception with the breath.
Read more about loosening the body, inner focus and cosmic connection.
Namaste – Spirit in me, honours Spirit in you
Johann, in yoga,
8 December 2016