Whether he/she plays alone or in an orchestra, a musician start by tuning his instrument. Only then music can happen. If we look deeper into it, music can be seen from two directions.
The first one, on the horizontal plane, is the melody: how the notes change, the evolution of the notes played one after the other. This is mostly what our mind picks up while listening music. If we listen to pop music, melodies of the chorus will keep playing in our mind. If we listen to drum music, the rhythms will keep beating in our mind the same way. This is connected with the time, movement. In yoga practice the melody could be the sequence of asanas technique or the rhythm of our breath within a pose…
In our body, and in music too, the second direction is on the vertical plane. The interaction of the notes played together. This is the harmony. At the Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre, harmony is a balanced interaction between the different parts of our body, when everything comes in alignment. This is what YOGA is about, “YOG” mean union, the union of the body and the mind.
As the musician tunes his instrument, at the Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre we have to learn how to tune our body and mind. Tuning the body comes naturally with getting the pose from the right foundations. If we look at Sarvangasana (the shoulder stand), the foundations are the upper part of the shoulders. That is why this pose is not called upper-back stand, neck stand or back-of-the-head stand! In all standing poses, the foundations are the feet with a proper work of the toes and the heel in order to empower and activate these foundations. We use whatever props needed to build a pose from the right foundations. We tune our body with the proper foundation and, as an effect, we get the proper alignment with the breath flowing freely.
Now how can we tune the mind and what does it mean? Is there any foundation? What is always there in our mind is the peace and the quietness of silence. Unfortunately we have built so many layers of activity creating so much noise that it’s really difficult to reconnect with it anymore! Environment, education, society… every experience creates noise!!! From the physical body, some poses help us to reduce our mind bubbling. All the forward bends have the power of withdrawing the intense activity of our mind. Halasana (the plough pose) or Adho Mukha Virasana (Virasana bending forward) bring quietness and are of great use to surrender.
To get a step deeper, closer to silence is meditation. This is the ultimate tool. Any technique that keeps us in the state of “here and now”, connected with the present moment.
The practice of asanas and meditation are not something to split. On one hand, asanas prepare for meditation, cooling the mind down and helping us to maintain a still pose for long time. On the other hand meditation has to be practiced within the asanas! This is the power of the Yoga as taught by the master teacher Sharat Arora. Holding poses and focusing on the freedom of the breath and… meditation starts.
Our journey in Yoga can be compared to the journey of a musician :
- At the beginning, sound is there but no music… only bodily tensions and mental noise! All sensations are felt at a very gross level. We are not clear, not precise with our tuning – our foundations.
- An intermediate musician will experience few moment of good tuning and beautiful music, bringing grace and harmony. Light comes, sparkling and connecting us to our inner silence – inner self for brief moments.
- Finally at an advanced stage, the musician gets a perfect control of tuning and mastery of an instrument is achieved – the harmony over the music.
Life is a journey from noise to silence, from darkness to light. Awareness of the proper foundations at a subtle level gives a balance between all our bodies from physical to spiritual. This is living life in a cosmic harmony!
Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre