Fokus des Monats: Februar 2020
LIFE: A CONTINUOUS MOVEMENT – RHYTHM, FLOW, & CHANGE by Monica Jaggi
“krama nyatvam parinama nyatve hetuh
The cause will determine how the sequence will unfold.”
Yoga Sutras of Patanjali III.15
The mind must be trained to move slower than the slow and faster than the fast… If the mind can run faster than the speed of light, faster than the speed of electromagnetic waves, and slower than metabolic changes in cell physiology, only then can it notice the changes going on in Nature. In consequence of this Self-Discipline, the mind can notice [and adapt to] any change.
– Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati
Living in New York City over 20 years now, I feel like I have a sense of what it is to keep up with the speed of things, physically, mentally & energetically. On the weekends my husband and I go upstate. Our house is at the end of a dead-end road. The whole weekend may go by and we may not see a person nor hear a car. At the end of the weekend, I feel like I know what it is to adjust to the slowness of things.
David Life in the documentary “What is Real?” reminds us “Everything is perfect. Unless [we] come to the world with that view-point, no good change is going to be supported. Because it cripples [us] that view that there is something wrong with the world around [us]…. Part of my reason for teaching Yoga was to share something, not to change anything. And part of what I am sharing is, that the idea of having to change the world needs to change. Change happens relentlessly and we are not in charge of it.”
In the movement that is dawn to dusk, summer to fall, early to late adulthood, etc. Mother Nature reveals to us that life is a continuous movement, at times it appears to accelerate and at other times slow. Change is synonymous with movement. To flow with life in its changing rhythms is essential to remaining in harmony with it. At its source, while also an expression of this alignment, we experience a deep recognition of the inherent perfection of all that is. Including the very Self as manifest in everyone and everything we come into contact with. Attuning to this frequency as the intention that informs all that we think, say & do, starts to draw the curtain on ‘the change’ we hope to see in the world.
In Yoga Philosophy suffering is defined as a resistance to change. Suffering signals that the combination of memories & habits that we (mis)take to be our true identity is threatened by loss or change. Suffering is a clinging & grasping prompted by desire and fear, creating resistance to moving with the flow of life. It is here where we often succumb to the tendency to exert control & dominion over all aspects of our immediate surroundings, including Mother Nature. All the while excluding the possibility that what is actually needed is a refining of our own intention & actions to restore balance in the current landscape of change.
Chanting of Mantra, Yoga Asana & Meditation cultivate our sensitivity to rhythm, flow, and change. Our ability to keep up with life, cycles in nature, each other, shifts in our own bodies, is in part tied to a moment-to-moment sensitivity and adaptability to ‘the quality & quantity of speed of change’.
Consider how for each of us, different experiences precede our arrival on our Yoga Mats. The chanting of Mantra at the beginning of a class, hearing and attuning to the sacred rhythm of mantra is the very first step in aligning the Individual Soul with the Universal Soul, the very first step in our conscious coming together.
Like the great kirtan-wallahs, consider taking students thru an extended chanting experience of instead of 5 maybe 10 minutes of class; where the mind through listening coupled with the sound of our collective voices is taken through rhythm that starts slow and then gradually in increments accelerates and then slows, etc. Exploring the elasticity of the mind to the nuance of rhythm. Observe the energetic atmosphere before & after. Alternatively incorporate music from Shyamdas, Krishna Das, Jai Uttal, Sharon Gannon & other Bhaktas in your playlist to evoke a similar experience.
Teach Vinyasa Krama as a means of cultivating sensitivity to rhythm, flow & change, encouraging the refining of the alignment of attention, intention, breath and movement.
Here are some important guidelines for Vinyasa practice from Sharon Gannon:
“Inhales and exhales should be of equal duration and move the same volume of air. Ujjayi breathing makes the breath audible and easier to regulate. There should be no pause or retention of breath at any time: the end of every inhale flows into the beginning of every exhale and vice-versa. The breath is used in this way as a tool for training the attention-consciousness. The quality of the breath reflects the quality of the mind in any posture or transition. If it has an unaffected quality, free from attachment to pleasure or aversion to pain or discomfort, the mind will have that same quality.
Like with the breath, there should be no stopping or pause between movements. The transition into or out of an asana should take the same amount of time as the inhale or exhale to which it is linked, no more and no less. That means that a simple movement may have to be done more slowly than usual, and a more complicated movement may have to be done more quickly than usual. As soon as the movement is complete (which is the same time as the in- or out-breath is complete), the next movement begins, so the practice flows seamlessly. Mula bandha should be applied throughout the practice. It directs consciousness from the mundane to the spiritual and reminds us of our intention.
A properly executed vinyasa practice can help break the habit of viewing the world around us as a collection of objects or viewing life as a series of distinct events. It mimics the way nature works-always moving, changing, curvy. When asanas, the sequence of changes, are woven together with breath and conscious intention, we align ourselves with the continuous flow, the undulating rhythm, of the universe.”
Consider the transition from movement to stillness that is not just the transition from Asana to our Meditation seat, but also the more subtle transitions in consciousness during Meditation itself; from the accelerated movement of thoughts to the witnessing of those movements. Consider even how the mind resists the slowing down that is the occasion of silence & stillness.
During meditation & even the practice of asana, allow students to consider how all movement in manifest reality unfolds against the backdrop of that which is unmoving, still, eternal. How changes in the shapes consciousness assumes can be observed from the seat of an unchanging Awareness at every stage of our practice & life. Consider how the witness consciousness or abiding in our true identity, softens our resistance to change, as we remain aware of our unchanging wholeness alongside the experiences of loss, grief, etc.