Fine-tuning Your Asanas
Sadhguru looks at various aspects of fine-tuning asanas, such as closing the eyes during practice to make sure the system reaches perfect alignment.
Closing Your Eyes
Questioner: Sadhguru, why should we keep our eyes closed in most of the asanas?
Sadhguru: If you close your eyes, the world disappears – unless you have your own false world in your head. Right now, I am looking at you. If I close my eyes, you are gone for me. Unless your imagination is running wild because you have no control over it, if you close your eyes, the world is gone for you. When you do an asana, you want to internalize everything. One basic step towards any internalization is to close your eyes. If you eat something very good, if something hurts, if something is nice, if you really want to experience something, you close your eyes. This happens naturally when you want to internalize something, because out of the five senses, your vision is the most outwardly engaging process.
If you lose your vision, you lose 50% of your engagement with the world. The other four senses – smell, touch, taste, and hearing – together make up for the remaining 50%. If you lose your vision, your sense of hearing and your sense of smell will improve, but fundamentally, especially for a human being, vision is the most dominant sense. By contrast, a dog for example perceives the world through its sense of smell. It knows who you are not by looking at you but by smelling you. But for a human being, since your vision is the most dominant sense for you, once you close your eyes, half the world is shut off. So, internalization works best when your eyes are closed.
Toe to Toe
Questioner: Sadhguru, why should the big toes or heels touch in certain asanas?
Sadhguru: When you bend forward, your heels should always touch because the muladhara should be tight. Otherwise, bending forward, there is a natural movement towards the muladhara, which we want to arrest. In a way, the sole of the foot is a minor manifestation of the whole body. If the toes touch, suddenly the whole system functions differently. You will see in India, if somebody dies, they will take an organic string and tie the big toes together as this prevents certain things from entering the system.
You do not always know what atmosphere you are in. When the big toes touch, you do not take in what is around you, plus you become a complete circuit by yourself. You are anyway a full-fledged life, though most human beings experience themselves as half a life. If they do not have certain things, they will feel empty. One aspect of yoga is to set up your energies in such a way that if you sit here, you are complete by your own nature – you do not need anyone or anything to make you complete. If you interact, it is a contribution, and not a seeking to fulfill yourself.
This is a clear way of setting yourself up in such a way that you are not a vested interest – not out of morality or ethics but by your own nature, because you are complete within yourself. To establish this sense of completeness, it is important to keep the toes together. In certain asanas, either the big toes should be together or your muladhara should be supported. That way, you are constantly working towards making yourself into a complete process, so this sense of incompleteness, this sense of not being whole will go away.
Heel to Perineum
Questioner: In asanas such as ardhasiddhasana, vrikshasana, and yogamudra, the heel should touch the perineum. What if this is anatomically not possible or if it slips?
Sadhguru: If you partially sit on the heel, it will always touch this three-fourth of an inch space that the perineum is. Whether the heel slips or not depends on how comfortably it goes to the perineum. Once you become more flexible, it will stay there. When you do janurshirsasana for example, do not move the heel away for your convenience. The important thing that you want to create in these asanas is full pressure on the muladhara.
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.