Angamardana – Mastering Your Limbs
Isha seeks to bring back classical yoga in its purest form – not studio yoga, not book yoga or the various innovations that are brought in around the world without an understanding of the basic principles – but proper classical yoga, which is a phenomenally powerful science. It is a system that is precisely and meticulously put together as a means of reaching higher dimensions.
Last week in the Classical Yoga series, we looked at Upayoga, a powerful practice which allows one to live a more complete physical life. Today, we look at Angamardana, a unique system of yoga that strengthens both the physical and energy system.
Sadhguru: Angamardana is a unique system of yoga which is almost completely lost these days. Traditionally in classical yoga, Angamardana was always alive. It is not like yogasanas, it is a very intense exercise where you don’t need any equipment. You are just using your body and building a completely different level of physical strength and tenacity.
In Angamardana, you use your own body weight and momentum to increase the flexibility of the muscle over a period of time. It is just a twenty-five minute process as it is being taught today by us, and in terms of health and wellbeing it can do miracles. It is a phenomenal process and is so complete. All you need is a six-by-six space; your body is everything. So, wherever you are you can do it. It is as effective in building the body as any weight training is, and it does not create any unnecessary stress on the system.
Even if you just look at it as an exercise form, Angamardana will definitely pass the test. But strengthening the muscle and bringing fat levels down are just fringe benefits. The important thing about whatever sadhana you are doing, whether it is Angamardana or anything else, is that we are trying to work up the energy system to a certain level of energy and integrity of energy. The thing is to get yourself into a state where you have a fully functioning system, because only if it is fully functioning can it be taken to heightened levels of perception. A half-a-body or a half-a-being cannot be taken to a full level of perception.
The word “Angamardana” means to have mastery over your limbs or body parts. Whatever action you want to perform in this world, how much mastery you have over your limbs determines how well you are going to do it. I am not talking about action in terms of joining up a sports team or something. I am making a distinction between action that you do for survival and action that you do for liberation. If you want to do something for your liberation and particularly for the liberation of everyone else around you, you should have some mastery over your limbs. Mastery over limbs need not necessarily mean you are going to be muscular or you can climb up the mountain. That may also happen but it is basically to strengthen the energy structure of the body.
To give an analogy, if a person walks by, you can clearly see whether his body is well-exercised or not simply by the way he walks. If you look at a person’s face, you can see whether his mind is well-exercised or not. Similarly, if you watch closely enough, whether someone’s energy is well-exercised or not is very distinctly there. What they can do and cannot do is determined by this. Having complete mastery means you can make your energies crackle. If you simply sit here, the body will do things; you don’t have to go and do things.
If grace has to transmit itself, you need to have an appropriate body. If you do not have an appropriate body and grace descends on you big-time, you will only fuse out. Many people want big experiences but they are not willing to transform their body to be able to conduct those experiences. In yoga, you don’t chase an experience, you only prepare. If your spiritual process is something more than just talk-shop, that means you should have some mastery over your limbs.
Editor’s Note: Isha Hatha Yoga programs are an extensive exploration of classical hatha yoga, which revive various dimensions of this ancient science that are largely absent in the world today. These programs offer an unparalleled opportunity to explore Upa-yoga, Angamardana, Surya Kriya, Surya Shakti, Yogasanas and Bhuta Shuddhi, among other potent yogic practices.