Yoga, Ayurveda and acro yoga in Budapest - classes, philosophy also in English

2011. február 4., péntek

Vinyasa Krama – breath, the harness on the stallion of the mind

I woke up after a sleepless night. Sure you also had the experience that your body was tired and you felt that it wanted to rest, but your mind was unable to fall asleep. It just spins and exhausts you, and there is nothing to do. This mental fatigue is the worst because it affects the body as well and the next day you will feel physically and mentally torn. This inner inquietude can also creat muscle spasms.

During the night, I have no idea what happened, but a flux of strange emotions flushed through me. While lying in my bed, I thought of the Jivamukti workshop I took last weekend. It was here that I first heard of the expression Vinyasa Krama. „Vi” means intelligent order, or sequence, „nyasa” stands for conscious placement, and „krama” refers to the process: the process that takes you from one asana to the other, where you do not simply focus on the end points but also consider the transmission as equally important. To put it together, in the system of Vinyasa Krama you are performing an intelligently and consciously composed sequence of asanas while observing the whole process of movement, including the connecting movements as well. The whole practice is done with light Ujjayi breathing where the tempo of the equal inhales and exhales brings you into focus. In this system, the breath is acting as a harness, the tool of mastering the mind (Srivatsa Ramaswami).

Indeed, because yoga, beside meaning ’union’, has a second meaning which is to ’yoke’. Well, this sounds slightly coercive, so I think modern man would not be swept off his feet if someone exposed yoga to him from this aspect. Although, if we are honest, then we must admit that everyone needs certain frameworks. Inside we all feel that the monkey of the mind is constantly jumping and unless we calm it somehow down, or let’s put it more nicely, unless we give it a free but controlled playground, it might cause us troubles. It is like a cheeky kid.

For example, take insomnia, a typically modern problem. I know from experience how bad it can get, since when I was a masters student studying abroad, my mind was working 24 hours a day, and I suffered for a whole year of sleeping disorders. Last night this experience came up, but this time, a bit more wisely I tried to treat it by the means of yoga. I „yoked” my breath and just watched the inhalations and exhalations. A little night pranayama. It was not easy, but finally this way I managed to save a small portion of my night.
Today society is absolutely focused on praising the mind. Everyone goes to University to train the brain, let us be the nation of educated people. Of course, let all learn who wants to, but what exactly shall we study? We must be cautious in what we regard as true knowledge and what is only a brain game, pure reasoning. For example let’s see the Nobel price winners. That is real knowledge, isn’t it? But to write, based on a hundred previous articles, a hundred and one, that – in my opinion – is not knowledge. There is not much experience involved in that and altogether Life seems to be missing out of it. Yet both Nobel winning theories and dry academic reasonings are the products of the mind, aren’t they? Then where is the point? Is it on the mind or more precisely on its quality? Yes and no.  Of course out there you may find more clever or less clever people, but the main point lies elsewhere. What is essential is that a truly great scientific discovery requires a moment of inspiration, an insight, a little illumination, a divine idea or spark. Just think of the classic scenario of Newton and the apple. No matter how intelligent you are, if you are not given that revelation, there will be no new science. First you need that sparkle, coming from above, from pure consciousness. Here comes in the system of Yoga that places the focus on bringing man back to this pure conciousness so that the human can merge with the Oneness. But of course, to realize a great idea you will also need a trained mind, which is focused and capable of elaboration and realization.

The mind is just a tool, as the load bearing, harnessed horse. The jumping monkey will not create anything but mess and noise. The yoked, controlled mind however will do great things. Yoga yokes the mind by harnessing the breath. Therefore, slowly the events of our life will be brought into an intelligent sequence or order („Vi”), the tasks of the day will get consciously placed („nyasa”). We are not going to sleep for example during the day, and be active through the night, just to come back to the topic of insomnia. Meanwhile, gradually it will become clear, that everything is just part of a greater process, where not only the beginning and the end, but the process, the journey matters as well („krama”).

Watch your breathing during the day, whenever you remember to do so, and see consciously the link between your mental state, physical posture and the quality of the breath. Start knowing the energies inherent in you and use them for your benefit and for that of others.

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