When I have a problem, it is an indication of misalignment. All disease it doesn’t matter which one, arthritis, cancer, all disease arises because of bad alignment. Alignment is on many levels; mental alignment or misalignment causes tension in the body. I’m not talking about physical imbalance. I’m talking about mental imbalance. In life when I wake up in the morning if I’m not positive this is going to cause misalignment in the whole day. For this reason it’s not possible to learn yoga just working on the body. One has to understand what mental misalignment is. We have to understand why misalignment happens. It’s caused by all the things that I really desire in my life, when I desire something I really want to go and get it and so that wanting, that craving causes tension. It is caused by ego, either feeling great or for that matter lack of ego, feeling like a mouse. All our desires, all the things that I don’t like, and all my fears cause stress and this causes misalignment.
How does one deal with the stress? Is it possible for me just like this, to get rid of all that? The answer is not normally. Abnormally it’s possible. Abnormally it happens from meeting an enlightened master. For all the rest of us it’s possible by doing one very important thing: eery day spend some time in peace. Peace is the state where I am not disturbed. Peace is space. Where you have your Feng Shui with earth, water, fire and air in every house, actually what you are doing is making sure that inside the home there is space where it’s possible to relax. That is why you practice the art of bringing about space. This is why we do yoga practice, to bring about space inside ourselves. Yoga practice is to realise oneself and to realise that one is total and absolute peace. That’s the reason for doing it, so that you merge into the one. In order to get half a minute of peace I spend 2 or even 3 hours per day in yoga practice because all those things that are pulling me, causing misalignment, need to be dissolved for me feel space in that moment. Without bringing about space it’s impossible to live life healthily.
In China the elders all practice Tai chi in the morning and in the evening. What a wonderful thing. Now I see a lot of the older people putting on music in the evening and dancing. Wonderful to get away from all that nonsense and to just be doing something that keeps you sane, mentally healthy. Whenever you get totally engrossed in something you lose yourself, the self that you have built up. You lose yourself and you enter that space of not being that self. So there is not just the yoga way, there are many ways. A pose which is going to help us to feel peaceful and quiet is one which also helps me realise all this self importance that I have made and projected into the world. What is that? It is the Ego. When you drop that, then only do you start to feel space. Doesn’t matter what you do but every one of us must everyday feel this space. I guarantee only then can life be a pleasure to live. Otherwise you will continuously feel like you are a slave, continuously under stress, and suffering from misalignment.
Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre
Article derived from Introductory 5 Day Yoga Course in Beijing, June 2016.