So, you've been on a yoga mat before, right? Most people think of yoga as a series of complex postures, a physical discipline that challenges your flexibility and strength. Yet, here's something refreshing: Sri Prashant Iyengar, a wise soul in the yogic world, nudges us to look at yoga from a different angle, to see it as something far more profound. In his captivating online lecture, he prompts us to think about yoga as more than just physical. It's also about our mind, our breath, our senses, our consciousness, and more. Imagine the possibilities!
Let's consider this - our body, mind, and breath are like a family. Each member is unique, each having their own 'thing', but they're also interconnected, just like us and our quirky cousins. "We want the mind, body, breath to be related to us, but we do not want to establish a mutual relationship between them." Prashant exclaims. He likens this to a sort of "atrocity" and nudges us to pay more attention to these relationships during our yoga practice.
Now, about those asanas (the postures). According to Prashant, doing asanas is more than just striking a pose. It's about diving deep into the synergy of our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual selves. This idea beautifully echoes Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, especially Sutra 2.46, which says, "Sthira Sukham Asanam," meaning 'Asana is a steady, comfortable posture.' Here, it's not just about how you hold your body, but about finding inner harmony too.
When talking about yoga, one cannot miss the 'trisharira' or the three bodies concept from Hindu philosophy. It consists of the gross physical body (sthula sharira), the subtle body (sukshma sharira), and the causal body (karana sharira). These are like three sides of the same coin, each influencing the other in our yoga practice, giving us a 360-degree view of ourselves.
This understanding allows us to make sense of how our limbs work in sync with our torso when we're doing a pose. And how our mental and emotional responses are shaped while holding different asanas. Even more profound, it gives us a way to tap into our spiritual realm. In this way, yoga becomes a living conversation among these three bodies.
While we're at it, Prashant brings in another intriguing idea - to eavesdrop on the conversation within ourselves. It's like inviting the wise old man of the group - the breath, or as Prashant refers to it, "the most wise entity in our embodiment" - to engage in a heart-to-heart with the rest of us. This mindfulness, or antaranga (inner) yoga, is a subtle, yet mind-blowingly transformative education.
This deep insight also finds a place in the Bhagavad Gita. In Chapter 2, Verse 48, Krishna advises Arjuna, "Yoga-sthah kuru karmani," which roughly translates to "Established in Yoga, perform your actions." It's a hint that the inner peace we find through yoga should permeate our actions and thoughts, even when we step off the mat.
By letting these profound insights seep into our practice, yoga becomes more than just physical. It's about introspection and exploration. It becomes Svadhyaya, or self-study, one of the niyamas in Patanjali's eight-limbed path.
In his closing notes, Prashant Iyengar reminds us, "Education about yoga is within when you are in asana, when you are in pranayama, when you are in any yogic process." It's a potent reminder that learning yoga is a process that transforms us from within.
As yoga practitioners and teachers, we have the opportunity to explore these many layers, to understand the dialogues within us, and to bring these lessons into our everyday life. The wisdom of Prashant Iyengar and the ancient texts can light our path in this exciting journey towards self-realization, or Samadhi - the apex of yogic wisdom.
So, remember, every moment on the mat is an opportunity to learn and grow. Each breath, each asana, is a step towards understanding ourselves a little more. This transformative journey is what yoga is all about. So, let's keep exploring, keep learning, and let the wisdom of yoga seep into every nook and cranny of our lives. After all, aren't we all works in progress?
As we journey along this path, what better guide to have than Sri Prashant Iyengar himself? To deepen your understanding and to truly imbibe these teachings, I invite you to watch Prashant Iyengar's series of lessons available on YouTube. The link provided here will lead you directly to the lectures: Prashant Iyengar's YouTube Series. Remember, every step taken on this path is a step towards greater self-realization. Yoga is a lifelong journey, and as we unravel its wisdom, we uncover the layers of our own existence. I hope that this article, and those to follow, will be a catalyst for your own exploration into the profound teachings of Prashant Iyengar and yoga as a whole. So, please follow this blog for upcoming articles that will delve deeper into Prashant Iyengar's lectures and their vast wisdom. The journey of yoga is a continuous process, and I look forward to embarking on this path together.