Asana n Pranayam

Posture (Asana)

Sthir sukham asanam

POSTURE SHOULD BE STEADY AND COMFORTABLE

Grace of the body is what he calls asana, posture. Don’t torture your body.

The body is just like a musical instrument. It has to be rightly tuned; only then will the higher music arise out of it. If the very instrument is somehow not in right shape and order, then how can you imagine, hope, that the great harmony will arise out of it?  Body is a veena, a musical instrument. “STHIR SUKHAM ASANAM” — the posture should be steady and should be very, very blissful, comfortable. So never try to distort your body, and never try to achieve postures which are uncomfortable.

You can sit in a tortured posture, but then it will not be a posture according to Patanjali. A posture should be such that you can forget your body. What is comfort? When you forget your body, you are comfortable.

A thumbprint is nothing, insignificant, but that too is unique. That shows that every body carries a unique being. If your thumbprint is so different from others’, your body, the whole body, has to be different. So never listen to anybody’s advice. You have to find your own posture.

Try to find your own yoga, and never follow a rule, because rules are averages. Average is a mathematical thing….Reality does not bother about your rules, regulations; reality moves on its own.

STHIR SUKHAM ASANAM: That which is steady and comfortable is posture.

POSTURE IS MASTERED BY RELAXATION OF EFFORT AND MEDITATION ON THE UNLIMITED.

Relaxation of effort — the first thing, if you want to attain to the posture, what Patanjali calls a posture: comfortable, steady, the body in such deep stillness that nothing moves, the body so comfortable that the desire to move it disappears, you start enjoying the feeling of comfort, it becomes steady.

The first thing to attain to this posture is relaxation of effort, which is one of the most difficult things in the world — most simple, yet most difficult. It is a question of understanding. In the West, Emile Coue has discovered a particular law he calls the law of the reverse effect.

Emile Coue discovered, the law of reverse effect. Patanjali must have known it, almost five thousand years before. He says prayatna shaithilya, relaxation of the effort.

Patanjali says, “If you make too much effort it will not be possible. No-effort allows it to happen.” Effort should be relaxed completely, because effort is part of the will and will is against surrender.

“Posture is mastered by relaxation of effort and meditation on the unlimited.” Two points. Relax effort: don’t force it, allow it to happen. It is like sleep; allow it to happen. It is a deep let-go; allow it to happen. Don’t try to force it; otherwise you will kill it. And the second thing is: while the body is allowing itself to be comfortable, to settle in a deep rest, your mind should be focused on the unlimited.

So Patanjali says two things: no effort, and consciousness focused on the infinite. That’s how you attain to asan.

WHEN POSTURE IS MASTERED THERE IS A CESSATION OF THE DISTURBANCES CAUSED BY DUALITIES.

Have you observed that whenever your mind is disturbed your body fidgets more, you cannot sit silently?… or, when ever your body is fidgeting your mind cannot be silent? They are together. Patanjali knows well that body and mind are not two things; you are not divided in two, body and mind. Body and mind are one thing. You are psychosomatic: you are bodymind. The body is just the beginning of your mind and the mind is nothing but the end of the body. Both are two aspects of one phenomenon; they are not two. So whatsoever happens in the body affects the mind and whatsoever happens in the mind affects the body. They run parallel. That’s why so much emphasis on the body, because if your body is not in deep rest your mind cannot be. And it is easier to start with the body because that is the outermost layer.

If you can attain to tranquility of the body, suddenly you will see the mind is falling in order.

Buddha used to say to his disciples, “Just be balanced, and everything else will become possible of its own accord. Just be in the middle.” And that is what Patanjali says when he is talking about the posture. The outer posture is of the body, the inner posture is of the mind; both are connected. When the body is in the middle — restful, steady — the mind is also in the middle — restful, steady. When the body is in rest, body-feeling disappears; when the mind is in rest, mind feeling disappears. Then you are only the soul, the transcendental, which is neither the body nor the mind.

Pranayama (Breath Regulation)

WHICH IS ACCOMPLISHED THROUGH HOLDING THE BREATH ON INHALATION AND EXHALATION, OR STOPPING THE BREATH SUDDENLY.

Between body and mind, breath is the bridge — these three things have to be understood. Body posture, mind merging into the infinite, and the bridge that joins them together have to be in a right rhythm.

When your body is healthy, breathing has a different quality. When your body is ill the breathing is ill. When you are perfectly in health you completely forget about breathing. When you are not in perfect health the breathing comes again and again to your notice; something is wrong.

whenever you will stop the breath, thoughts will stop immediately.

THERE IS A FOURTH SPHERE OF BREATH CONTROL, WHICH IS INTERNAL, AND IT GOES BEYOND THE OTHER THREE.

Patanjali says these three — stopping inside, stopping outside, stopping suddenly — and there is a fourth which is internal. That fourth has been emphasized by Buddha very much; he calls it “anapana sata yoga.” you simply watch. This is the fourth: just by watching you become separate from the breath. When you are separate from the breath you are separate from the thoughts. In fact breath is the parallel process in the body to thoughts in the mind. Thoughts move in the mind; breath moves in the body. They are parallel forces, two aspects of the same coin. Patanjali also refers to it, although he has not emphasized the fourth. He simply refers to it, but Buddha has completely focused his whole attention on the fourth; he never talks about the three. The whole Buddhist meditation is the fourth. “

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