yogāsana as snāyuvrtti nirodha
Cessation of movements of all constituents and faculties of the body through observation, action/experience and reflection.
Perceived from outside in, explored from inside out.
In the light shed upon our understanding of what precision implies in Iyengar yoga practice.
What we aim at and what conditions we create in order to align in the pose, to balance ourselves and find comfort in it? All aspects of citta unravel through the spectrum of our physical experience – through our response to the natural push and pull of physical forces.
How do we align to life? How we provide to our inner balance? What our comfort actually relates to? Are we using the mind for setting the pose or are we setting our mind into the pose? Do we reason our choices of poses and actions in the poses or do we use such tool as āsana to culture our cognitive/analytical abilities?
What do we satisfy by the practice? What do we seek in it? The reassertion of our particular experience, conditioning, sense-image
or do we study our particularities in order to connect with the beyond?
The abundant flow of nature’s energy causes transformation.
If we focus – sharpen our lens to see.
If we give time to know ourselves and take time to feel it, our tendencies or potentialities get revealed.
It is then and there our power of discrimination can rest – surrender and embrace the ultimate experience of nature.
The revelation of change as it occurs in time.
The present is not easily achievable. Our body-mind wavers from moment to moment. Can we see how that happens when we split
in parśvottansana? Where do we stand? What weight does past represent? Does it pull us back? Is it so firm that we lean/gravitate towards it despite its mutable import?
What kind of step do we take toward the future? What image spreads in front of our eyes? What opens and what hides from it? Can we look at it with sureness resulting from our embodied center? Can we move forward knowing our legs are straight and firm?
Can we invest our attention, study the fluctuations, breath through personal, emotional conditions? Can we – in other words – perform saṁyama in order to mindfully participate in transformation that happens? Can we take responsibility for our physical and psychological engagements? Creating wherever and whenever needed, dissipating action wherever and whenever necessary? Asserting balance while broadening the vision of extremities?
Just like when we take off from earth into space and the opposite potentials of past and future throw us off center
causing us to fight, to flight or perhaps … to be aware?
Stay oriented by letting the earth hold you.
Space your Self by opening your body to the flow of nature.
Loosing the sense of limits. Unbinding the movement of your mind, your heart and your spirit thus the shape of your bodily form.
Temporality binds citta when we cultivate attachment to the memories of rightness conjured from the sense-pleasure once experienced
but opposing to be confronted with reality. That is how attraction works. Makes us like what we remember to be true.
What different traction in the body are we able to create? When we lift the eyes, our chin, pulling the whole spine up by the neck?
Can the new mobilization help us to verify the actual import of the past? Draw us above resistance? Build up courage to try the unknown
and not falter? Are we present now? Ready to go? Redy to stay? Completely mindful no matter choice?
Accepting the nature of now as it surfaces?
Neither we are present when overcome by animus. Limited in our cognition, oust from saṁyama, deprived of vitality. Because difficult memories create even heavier pull. They repress potentialities and depress abilities. Dveśa hardens our tissue. It tends to keep us in the emotional box, limiting if not eroding communication both within and without. If our inner relations are set by the preset of past relations, what space there is for change? How do we access it? How do we let go of past misery, initial cause of which does no longer affect us
but holds us back claiming principality over all other sensations?
Is forcing through it the way?
Is conforming to it the way?
Is there another way?
Can we seek it by balancing effort with repose? By taking the accurate measure of what is needed to maintain the observer status in āsana? Without succumbing to one state or the other? Extending and enlarging our Self regardless of remembered truths drawing our mind-senses toward certain feelings and away from others?
Can we feel change happening? Through the accretions of smr̥ti – of what is remembered?
The actual presence is not bound by space nor time.
It experiences dynamics of life when it stillness.
It experiences calm and serenity when moving.
It transmutes objectiveness into subjective sense and forms objectives out of inter-subjective understanding.
In the free, open flow from outside in and from inside out.
kramānyatvaṁ pariṇāmānyateve hetuḥ
The change in sequence is consequential to the transformations of one’s awareness.
Time-phase awareness gives access to the underlying process of ever occurring change.
Nothing sequentially regresses back to the present from its countless possible futures. Not that it has ever sequentially progressed
from the past. However it is how our mind processes sense-objects and memories. In succession. Thanks to that faculty we organize, conceptualize
and maintain the stability of our life experience and personal Self…
and yet… have we ever mindfully and inevitably traveled from our past toward future,
finding ourselves unsurprisingly in the present shape?
There is no sequence from the past. In fact. Why not? Because whatever before was immediately succeeded with an after our mind has chosen out of endless possibilities. All we remember though, is one chain of cause and effect – a history – instead of millions of moments suspended in time when our awareness wondered upon its course.
Time-phase sequence is not observable in the present moment.
How is time-free presence possible? Patańjali lays down a recipe:
sthira-sukham-āsanam + prayatna-śaithilya-ananta-samāpatti-bhyām + tato dvaṅdva-an-abhighātaḥ
Stability enough and comfort enough so the tension of/within movement can become a subject of saṃyama asserting stillness of/within consciousness. The balance we struggled and sought for has now taken over and launched us into space. Where Self perceives free
of past impressions and opens to the unimaginable.
Presence is infinite like so. When present we are no longer troubled by the dualities of sense-experience.
We get thoroughly exposed to our dharma – no history, no compulsion, no saṁskāra, no definite result to define one Self by it.
How do we differ between define state of who we feel/think we are and the state of free perception?
Once again we need but to apply Patatańjali’s instructions:
abhyāsa vairāgyābhyām tannirōdhaḥ + tapaḥ svādhyāy-eśvarapraṇidhānāni kriyā-yogaḥ
Continuous practice, lasting in time, repeatedly engaging one’s mind into action in conjunction with a judicious practice of non-attachment soothes our consciousness by silencing the turmoil occurring equally in our mind and our body.
Such practice needs to be initiated in a disciplined and motivating manner to be soon undertaken by ourselves.
In accordance to our condition – state of mind, life requirements, body needs and so on…
Clear intention must precede our actions.
Our will must maintain it.
We get to know ourselves in the course. Our own definition, our field and dynamics. When these are established we can progress toward studying but not “who and how we are” but “how and when our living happens”.
Where do we hook, how do we stand, where to make the body stable for the movement to occur, what to release so the breath flows inhibited, how to expand opening and broadening inner passages so the life with-in and with-out circles freely, how to let go and rest cognitive faculties in order to just experience? Finally, how to measure our involvement so the connection between our Self and the universe is established, embraced, transforming our specific, separate entity toward oneness with everything that is?
Ultimate purpose of sequencing is to connect. Between our Selves. To nature.
We exercise our perception using tools of āsana and prāṇāyāma to develop sensitivity and resilience.
Our vulnerability revealed to know how dependent we are of each other. Our core stability built to resist adverse conditions without detaching from life.
In this perspective we study. Precision, timing, sequencing in yogāsana. Applied from outside but transforming from inside in both centripetal and centrifugal manner. Learning how one direction both infers and derives from the other. How one construes
based on the other. How one comprehends the other. Giving ground to B.K.S. understanding of aṣṭāṅgāyoga.
The ultimate inclusivity of its practice.
How do we organize our attention into a sequence?
– we got through standing forward bend series, our focus seamlessly connecting changing leg positions while maintaining forward extension and gravitational fall of the torso. Thus we explore the nature and interrelations within one group of poses;
– we focus on particular part of the body and its responsiveness – side ribs/chest cavity/its karmendiriya‘s connections – by following one direction/action of the torso through different body orientations and positions. Thus we explore interrelations within our body
by accessing it from different perspectives;
– we choose one position to study. Thus we study the sequence of actions within one pose and the chain of changes our attention choices causes. We minimize external input on behalf of internal applications.
These are but methodological examples. The number of ways we can organize our study to develop self awareness depends only
on our cognitive abilities.
Does that imply we can practice however?
Iyengar yoga as presented by Guruji’s most faithful student points at its limitless possibilities.
Seeing variations, alterations, body-mind-psyche singularities as entry gates into the theatre so much greater than our personal presumptions and projections. Having expressed his admiration for Guruji’s unassuming, ever searching practice, Raya deals
with the binding fear many of us expresses in practice – limits of what we appropraited as its „correct/right” manner that instead of helping, indisposes us to yoga. Instead of studying we let our minds be caught by conceptual disparities that places one „iyengaric” experience
over the other. Where the rules of „how to get where the dharma points us” ever carved in stone? Can we honestly claim the wisdom inherited through millenia from the great seekers licenses us to now define the path leading toward enlightenment?
Enclose it in methodological booklet for practitioners to follow?
Or should we rather seek examples and conditions through which our path is enlightened?
What actual reference Guruji’s „Light on Yoga” provides?
What is its actual material to study?
What to look for when going through the book?
It only shows us what was attainable in the bodymind condition of one who explored its matter with fervor, enthusiasm and honesty.
It does not claim where we can or cannot be, nor what is and what is not true in the way we apply solutions in yogic studies.
Above all it does not define what “Iyengar yoga” is, only how B.K.S. Iyengar was in his yoga practice. He set example we can look upon
– if we trust it. Not trying to reflect it. Our singular Self, its conditioning, its history provided us with a different shape to explore.
But we can be inspired. Greatly so. In centripetal and centrifugal manner – from Guruji’s work to our personal core
and from our recognized Self out to the world – allowing truly dharmic shapes of our Selves to emerge.
We may self-realize. Once citta stills. Once it clears.
Before that, we can perhaps realize that the sense of oneness we seek does not depend on our homogeneity.
If system based on Iyengar methodology serves us, its power rests upon openness and creativity, honest analysis and insight –
art, science and philosophy. Life as it is being their source. Fascinatingly channeled by B.K.S. Iyengar who had shown us
how not to be barred by the moment but how to fully live one. And then the next one. Mindfully chosen out of endless possibilities.
September 25-27, 2020
Raya Uma Datta