In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, although asana is rarely actually mentioned (only about 4 times in total) one line (translated here by B.K.S Iyengar) stands out as potentially one of the most profound teachings I’ve experienced thus far in my yoga journey:
‘The effect of asana is to put an end to the dualities or differentiation between mind, body & soul”. (Sutra 2.48)
This means that the opposing laws of polarities and opposites (which in my mind cause the most suffering and anxiety in the world) simply cannot exist when we have achieved that state of balance within.
Through experience, I’ve found that there is a funny place that exists somewhere in between the extremes of elation & ecstatic joy for the divine wonders of life – and complete apathy & resentment towards it all.
That place isn’t exciting – and yet it isn’t dull either. It isn’t glistening with endless glamour & glory – and yet there’s a constant, penetrating beauty and grace which comes along with its stability and grounding nature.
This feeling throbs with a reliable, consistent and sustainable force; a trust and acceptance for all that surrounds us. An enduring momentum and energy that sees you through, even on days where depletion seems imminent.
If you’ve ever experienced the highs and lows of an imbalanced mind or body (and in today’s world, who hasn’t!?), you might know what I’m talking about here. Whether mentally, emotionally or physically, these kinds of imbalances affect our entire lives.
It makes sense, so, to address our lifestyle from a holistic perspective when trying to restore that natural state of homeostasis within.
Ayurveda is something which helps us do exactly this – balance, purify & strengthen the physical, base-level needs, so that we can begin to connect with & experience the divine within everything around us.
The ‘Divine’, or however you understand it, relates to the Tantric worldview and is a crucial part of the Ayurvedic teachings – a holistic method of treating mind, body & spirit in times of imbalance and distress.
In my experience, maintaining equilibrium and homeostasis in body, mind & spirit is something which takes consistent trial & error, and it’s not something we will ever learn overnight.
Yoga asana is a great way to address the more external, physical imbalances, but the deeper we go into practice, the more we begin to require time spent in contemplation, in meditation with the simple aim being to quiet the mind.
Through Ayurvedic diet & lifestyle habits we can strengthen & purify the physical body so that those deeper states of meditation become not only more available – but more profound.
What Patanjali says in this Sutra is an acknowledgment of the ever-changing and fluctuating state of our bodies, minds & energy, and yet it also draws attention to the limited power of asana to shape deep, lasting change within.
Like I said – it’s very much a practice. Trying things, acknowledging what works & what doesn’t work for your mind & body are all crucial steps on the path to self-awareness.
Ayurveda & Tantric Hatha Yoga give us a framework within which to do this safely.
If you’re interested in learning more….join my
Ayurveda & Tantra Workshop in Yogahub on the 27th June!
More info here