Isha seeks to bring back classical yoga in its purest form – not studio yoga, book yoga or the various innovations that are brought in around the world without any understanding of basic principles – but proper classical yoga, which is a phenomenally powerful science. It is a system that is precisely and meticulously put together as a means of reaching higher dimensions. To kick off the series ‘Classical Yoga’ we look at Hata Yoga, and also bring to you Isha’s work and approach in this sphere.
Let’s look at what may be considered the very basic unit of Hata Yoga: the asana. People today think of asanas as impressive body-twisting postures that are essentially about fitness, flexibility or building muscle. Whereas “yoga,” by its very definition, means “that which takes you on to a higher dimension or higher perception of life.” Hata yoga demands a certain involvement of body, mind, energy and the inner-most core. Unfortunately something this profound is often reduced to a physical exercise.
“Asana” quite simply means “a posture.” Any way that we may sit, stand or position our hands is an asana. And so, innumerable asanas are possible. However, a particular posture that leads you to a higher possibility is called a yogasana. There are eighty-four basic yogasanas through which one can elevate one’s consciousness. Sadhguru says, “When we say eighty-four asanas, do not think of them as just eighty-four postures. These are eighty-four systems, eighty-four ways of attaining.”
It’s All About Ease
In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali says: Sukham sthiram asanam. That which is absolutely comfortable and stable is your asana. What does it mean? Sadhguru explains: “It simply means that your body is at ease, your mind is at ease, and your energy is at full vibrance and balance. Now you are naturally meditative.” The asana is a preparatory step to come to a state of naturally being meditative. So in a way, asanas are a dynamic way of meditating.
It is very important to understand that asanas are not exercises. Yogis have always understood that the physical body has a whole memory structure. Everything – from how this cosmos evolved from nothingness up to this point – is just written into this body. So when we do asanas, we are opening up that memory and trying to restructure this life towards an ultimate possibility. It is a very subtle and scientific process – and it can become an explosive experience.
Just One Asana
Usually, Hata Yoga involves the practice of many asanas that together offer a range of holistic benefits. However, this is not to underrate the power of a single asana. Many yogis master only one asana. Known as asana siddhi, this is a gradual process where the body becomes absolutely at ease. This, Sadhguru says, is the attempt “to get this body geometrically in line with the cosmic geometry. If you learn to just hold it right, you can download the whole cosmos. This is yoga. If you simply sit right, everything that’s worth knowing can be known to you from within.”