Articles derived from yogacharya Sharat Arora (Anand Sagar) Teachings

“Be in the Centre!” The Secret of Alignment in Iyengar Yoga

“Now my buttock bones are talking to your buttock bones.”  Yoga Master Teacher Sharat Arora  

The art of honest speaking as well as the art of attentive listening takes place when you are clearly on your buttock bones. In order to speak meaningful truth and be able to listen in totality - be in your buttock bones.  You become stable and grounded so are ready to speak from your heart and or listen fully alert. If you are sitting on the back of your sitting bones, i.e. doing sofa pose, your concentration is lost and your thoughts may wonder into the past. If you are sitting on the front part of the sitting bones you tend to move toward imagination and the future, so be in the centre, always be straight, so you give full attention to the present moment and alignment. You know when you are in the correct spot because the trunk ascends and the breath becomes full and free flowing. There is only one centre, and when you find it you will know. Do not make any local movements in the chest or shoulders, let the body grow from the aligned base. Making local movements is just encouraging more ‘action’ which comes from the mind.

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Doing and Non-doing the 2 Universal Forces of the Sun and Moon

“The asanas of Hatha Yoga practices are there to bring about balance between SUN (action) and MOON (reflection) energy, so that blockages are removed and universal life force, is able to flow freely.” Sharat Arora

Our goal in life is not to become perfect, our goal in life is to become whole. In Hatha yoga there are two components to make up this whole, both equal in their importance.  Many schools of Yoga only focus on the SUN: action component of the above logical equation. The art of non-doing, MOON,  is just as integral in order to find true peace, experience harmony and balance in mind and body. For many people, the art of doing is the easy part. The art of non-doing, and quiet time for reflection is the real challenge. It’s far more difficult and sometimes even scary to go within and be with one’s nature so instead we turn back outside for distraction, towards doing, and the whole vicious cycle starts again.

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Yoga is not a Religion, but a Lifestyle Choice….

Yoga is so much more than an everyday ‘practice’. It is more that a way of living, it encompasses all of life itself. Yoga is an inward process designed to build and increase our awareness on every level. Yoga is essentially the cultivation of attention and self awareness. What we attend to and the attitude with which we attend to things greatly influence how we experience ourselves on a moment to moment basis in the world. The more we ‘practice’ yoga holistically the more mindful we become.

Yoga is logical and can actually be experienced and felt inside the physical body via feeling healthy and spacious. When someone is healthy, in a state of ease and balance in their own physical body, there is symmetry, the organs and muscles function optimally, and they have a certain ‘glow’ about them. There is comfort and harmony felt by that individual. Natural breathing and everyday living becomes effortless. This can actually be seen and felt and maintained through the practice of yoga asana and pranayama. The connection to the known, the physical sensations and breath of the body can be tangibly felt by every human being. Our state of mind is directly linked to how we breath, which can be proven medically. When the breath is calm, so too is the mind. The use of asana and meditation practice encourage the body to be vibrantly alive and in live in a state of mental peace and stillness. By maintaining the youth and integrity of the spine, a ‘yogi’ can have a calendar age of 60+ but, be living with the spine of a 16 year old. Yoga is about increasing one’s awareness of the self, not as an individual physical being, but as part of the greater universal whole. It’s about union with body, mind and energy and creation as a whole. On the physical level, Yoga can be proved and explained through medical jargon and scientific logic, based on fact.

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Yoga & Meditation

Yoga is Meditation and Meditation is Yoga. These two paths are intimately linked and one can even say that they are the same. Nowadays many people perceive Yoga to be a physical stretching practice, separate from Meditation. This division creates more duality and misunderstanding to the truth and the authenticity to The Laws of Nature.  Yoga is all about wholesomeness, oneness, union and non-duality.  The mind and the body are so intimately connected that ultimately there is no difference and they are telling us identical stories. Being the more visible aspect of our inner workings, the body often speaks more eloquently than the mind can speak for itself. When the body is aligned, calm and still, so too is the mind and vice versa. The body is a projection of the being - it does not lie.

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Alignment, Foundations & Props

“Goal of Liberation, Goal of Freedom.” Yoga Master Teacher Sharat Arora

Practicing asana with the correct foundation and alignment allows students to progress safely and to advance on a path towards balance and freedom at a quicker pace. If your roots are crooked then misalignment occurs and injury on a physical level as well as imbalance on a mental and energetic level can happen. The importance of having ‘active feet’, having aligned foundations, symmetry in the pelvis and making sure that the spine operates at 90 degrees to the earth, which is the natural gravitational force of the spine (earth connection), are all vital ingredients in the asana practice. When there is awareness, space, stability and alignment in these areas, one can achieve harmony and union in all places of the body and experience stillness in the mind.

It is wonderful to use props. We use props constantly in the modern world that we live in to make life more comfortable and easy. It is not going backwards, it's actually leaping forwards. The cushions, use of chairs or stools, blankets, blocks, belts, all help to gain balance and comfort faster. Instead of walking on the journey, you take a vehicle and arrive quicker. The various props are a vehicle to get to the destination faster. What is our destination when we do the postures? Balance and Harmony. It's only worth doing the poses if the goal and intention is balance and harmony. Otherwise it’s called gymnastics. Yes, it may work on the body because the asana moves all the muscles and flow of blood, but it doesn’t go beyond that. It doesn’t even go beyond to any mental transformation.

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Top Blogs

Sharat Arora
03 August 2016
16.10.14 When we do a practice like we do in our Iyengar Yoga centres, we gain understanding, so we increase our awareness about ourselves and about the world. We go inside and the mind slowly stops i...