Articles derived from yogacharya Sharat Arora (Anand Sagar) Teachings

Svadhyaya - Studying of the Self to Bring Balance

An area where the breath is not going into is either not properly adjusted or there lies your blockage. Like this we use the postures to understand and locate our blockages. Through the use of the breath, where the breath is hindered, adjustments have to be made. In order to be observant, all kinds of software running in the head have to first be quieted. In order for us to be present, I have to eradicate all disturbance; disturbance of mind getting stuck in some pattern. This is the exploration of our being. Some thoughts or thought patterns are recurrent. It’s like the same CD playing over and over. Recognition of this, seeing it, that’s enough, just seeing it. So the CD, doesn’t continue to play without being heard. Often this is a background noise in which we live; all these programs, not one, not two, but many playing all together. Detect this to be present. And only when you’re present are you going to use your time in bringing about balance. Those softwares, those CD’s continuously playing, it’s them that influence our breath. When we become free, our breath becomes harmonious. Every CD playing, every software that is active creates tightness and tension. Those truly are the things that matter to us. When I see it, I catch it red-handed in operation. Now and again and again, thus detected, seeing, it becomes shaky. Our job is just to see it; to see all this happening. That’s it, nothing else. To start to have some aversion, anger, non-wanting or even hatred gives it even more power to grow. We need to see these things that interrupt our balance. When shall we do that, but in the asana practice?

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Sadhana - The Path to Realization

It’s about being happy, taking away suffering; meaning being happy, truly happy. Not the happiness that I get from acquiring something and then after ten days I am bored of it. Acquiring a nice car, then you come, there’s a scratch on it… oh misery. Happiness; or in other words, not suffering. That’s what Patanjali is saying. And how do we practice? He says in three ways; tapas, svadhyaya and isvara-pranidhana.

Tapa is a focused effort. Not dispersed, but concentrated. They used to do tapa standing in the cold freezing water on one leg and sitting in the sun, with seven fires around you. All extreme things, even till today, they are called “tap, tap karna, tapna”. Fully concentrated effort. Practice like this; one pointed and fully powered practice. A little bit doesn’t work.

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What is Yoga?

Yoga is a vast and a very old subject. Many people have written about yoga, but one of the most important works of yoga is by Patanjali. Pata means a snake; Anjali is offering. A woman wished an amazing being to be born to her. She was so pious that God granted her this gift and as she was praying in her hands fell a snake, a little one. Pata- snake; in the hands- offering. That is where the word comes from. The story goes that this was no ordinary being; it was the great serpent Ananta. Ananta meaning - endless; snake is endless.

Ananta asked Vishnu one day; he said “oh lord I would like the occasion to learn yoga from Shiva”. So he said “for that you will have to be born on the earth and then pray to lord Shiva to give you some knowledge”. So he was born like that, because a woman’s desire that she wanted some very exceptional being to be born to her. Thus, we don’t know how he got knowledge from Shiva, but he did and thus wrote this work; The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali. Sutra is a necklace on a string; so the sutras are like beads connected with each other. And what’s the most amazing fact is that the whole treatise of the Yoga has been put into one hundred and ninety-six sentences. Most amazing.

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Evolution towards Balance and Freedom

Evolution is about becoming more aware and more sensitive. The whole world performs actions, but the yogis’ actions bring balance. The question is; how are you going to know that you are balanced?

I can only do my best and my best is when I am feeling what I’m doing. Don’t just do. We go into this mode of only doing.  Do, but with feeling; with the awareness of the sensations that the action is bringing about. Be clear making the movement, be aware.

An experience of one second of total freedom indicates to you that you are on the right path; the path towards balance. And that is enough. One second; one moment of totality. Wonderful. Like this, in all the poses, a little spark. And that spark changes our entire life.

Yoga Master Teacher Sharat Arora
Article derived from the "Pranic Healing" Intensive Yoga Course
At the Himalaya Shanti Ashram in Dharamsala in October - November 2013

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Asana Practice, Spiritual Practice

The postures only become a spiritual practice when we endeavor, when we try to bring balance. In bringing balance, we’re actually bringing balance on all levels. For everything resides in this body. We are born in this body, everything resides in it. Once you start to bring balance, balance with the breath, you discover that you become more still, more quiet. After all, mind plays in the zone of the body and influences it. And these influences are seen and removed. If we are only doing postures, our imbalances continue to remain, and though we may become flexible and even feel better; the practice is not spiritual. Thus, svadhyaya is seeing all this, studying it. So, don’t be action oriented. See what is happening and sort out imbalances. We always solve them here and now. Not leaving them for tomorrow.

If it’s about balance, how can I put my body in such a situation that it is becoming imbalanced? Thus, when I put my body in difficult situations, I need time to bring that balance. This is called asana practice.

Yoga Master Teacher Sharat Arora
Article derived from the "Pranic Healing" Intensive Yoga Course
At the Himalaya Shanti Ashram in Dharamsala in October - November 2013

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