Hatha Yogi Journals, Part 5: Living Yoga
In the 5th installment of the Hatha Yogi Journals, the trainees begin to experience what it means to not only practice yoga, but to live it.
During the training, we have heard Sadhguru explain that Hatha Yoga is a complete path by itself. Only when we destroy our office chair slouches and couch potato curls, can we acquire that perfectly alignment that works as an antenna for the cosmos.
Here at the training, yoga is never taught, it is something we imbibe by simply doing, every single day, twice a day, for five months. During our practices, we usually have our eyes closed, maintain perfect silence and are not disturbed by anyone else, keeping a three-feet distance between each other to allow free movement of our own energies, in which we are being slowly cocooned before we blossom. Our daily sadhana happens in the Adiyogi Alayam, a consecrated space designed for the purpose of making yogis. Adiyogi’s presence is like a lubricating fluid that dissolves friction in our bodies and naturally brings them in perfect alignment, which becomes evident only once we step out. It is so subtle that one may miss it, but regardless of who you are, once you step into the Alayam, you will not leave unaffected.
As a preparation, we begin with Upa-Yoga that gently lubricates the joints and then move into Angamardhana that uses the weight of the body to gain flexibility. Once the body is heated and ready, we begin with Surya Kriya and Surya Shakti, which finally culminates into a series of 21 Yogasanas, ending with bandhas. This three hour long sadhana is closed with Isha Kriya and Bhakti Sadhana, wherein we bow down to the divinity in all life forms. Bhakti means devotion; it is the path of using the emotion to reach mukti, or liberation.The sadhana is a tool to dissolve ourselves into anything that we hold higher than our own self.
Despite doing the same sadhana every single day for over two months now, my asanas are only just beginning to find balance. One day at a time, inch by inch, correcting the slight tilt of the hands or unparalleled feet, the twitch on the face or that funny little toe that never touches the ground, I am still finding the axis of my body. This level of awareness is cultivated over time by paying attention to the smallest detail in everything, right from counting how many steps I walked from Bhiksha Hall to estimating exactly 21 minutes of Surya Kriya with my eyes shut. Yoga has finally begun to seep into my bones, in the very way I exist. It extends beyond the postures to a way of life. I am not just doing yoga. I am living yoga.
Sadhguru has said that yoga is the science and technology of nourishing the roots of your existence so that everything else naturally flowers. This is why I do yoga. Not to get physically fit or for health benefits. I know those will naturally come as I work on positioning my body in proper alignment with the geometry of the cosmos.
Sadhguru says this perfection of geometry can be attained in many different ways: "A human being experiences even just an incremental sense of perfection only in some state of union. If this longing for union finds physical expression, it gets termed as sexuality. If it finds an emotional expression, it is called love or compassion. If it finds expression through one’s mental framework, it gets termed as success, conquest, or, these days, shopping. But if it finds an enduring expression of one’s being, it is called yoga. When an individual achieves a kind of perfection within himself, where in his experience, he has become one with everything, then he is in a state of yoga."
It has helped me to come into the practice with total surrender and simplicity, not looking at anyone else or wondering what they're thinking, just focusing on my sadhana, restful in the knowledge that everyone around me is also actually a part of myself and a part of the process. We are a sangha.
A sangha is a group of people who gather in order to grow, unified by an intention to touch the divine. My mission when I practice Hatha yoga is to dissolve myself, my ego, and my thoughts completely, in order to realign what remains with the cosmic geometry from where it came.
Each day I find myself in the same yogasanas, but in a different state. The best days are when I can tune out the chatter of my mind and relax into the postures. When I let my breath guide my limbs, I can feel a firm, warm energy surround my arms and legs. They seem to move on their own, as if the energy is guiding them, stretching me further into the position.
Every time we wake while the stars are still shining to begin our daily sadhana, we do the morning practice, day in day out, as if it's our first time. We start with guru pooja as if it's our initial offering to the masters who've bestowed these tools upon us. We wait in each yogasana with as precise posture as possible, stretching our muscles to the maximum, honing them little by little, driven endlessly by our hunger for something beyond. We close our eyes for our kriyas as if we've just discovered the darkness behind our eyelids. We know we need only to close our eyes in order to actually see reality for what it is.