“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.
Practice Yoga with intention as well as with attention. Yoga is essentially the cultivation of attention and self awareness. What we attend to and the attitude with which we attend greatly influences how we feel in asana practice and live our lives. The more we practice Yoga holistically, the more mindful we become. It is imperative to learn to listen truthfully to our bodies, working with and not against it in a forceful or aggressive manner. When we are gentle and do things in a relaxed way, with a calm breath, the body responds and opens up in absolutely incredible ways. When we are still, and silent we create a container that is safe for the body to restore and regain vitality. The asana is meant to bring about a feeling of complete space. Being only concerned with the force of action and exerting or straining the physical body beyond its natural limits will only create more tension and tightness, which can ultimately lead to disease!
From such a young age we are trained and pushed into all forms of action. Competition and becoming financially successful drive us down a path fueled by doing. In a world predominantly encouraged to act – the art of reflection, quiet time and ‘to just be’ is perceived as being lazy, boring or unnecessary. What is so ironic is that the simplicity of doing nothing has therefore become so challenging and difficult because we rather choose to over complicate and fill our lives with action so we don’t have time to reflect and be quiet and truly face ourselves.
Yoga has two parts to its whole, two components that need to take place in order for the correct effect to be experienced. ‘Doing’ asana is the action component in the recipe and the manner in which we practice is the reflection. The art of ‘doing’ in a ‘non-doing’ manner is another way that we can define what Yoga is all about. In order for freedom to be experienced both these qualities need to be simultaneously put into place in asana and in everything that we do.
In order to find true harmony and balance in one’s own mind and body, Action (SUN) and Non-action (MOON) needs to be balanced. The art of doing for most people is the easy part, it’s being silent, still in reflection that is the real challenge and requires discipline and commitment. Some of the wisest and most peaceful people tend to do almost nothing and say even less, they just are, they exist in a very non-doing way. Yes of course, they do what is necessary in life to exist, but only what is needed. Continuous action only invites more action, but non-doing and reflection invites peace, reflection and deep self awareness and wisdom.
“Be quiet, reflect a little and Go within”
Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre
December 2015, Arambol, North Goa, India