Much of the hatha yoga styles we have in the West are beautiful hybridizations of the traditional yoga practiced in India but with a focus on the needs of pro-active individuals and directed more towards the body.
Ever expanding consciousness is pure wisdom that is reflected in being in the present moment. As there is truth in the dynamic nature of ever expanding consciousness of the present moment, there is truth in the hybridization of yoga as long as the ‘yoga practice’ is in tune with uniting the Source to our human experience utilizing yogic principles. The spiritual end of experience that aligns with the stillness of the mind and the vastness of being Spirit is beyond scriptures and belief systems in its truth.
From the perception of the Siddhar Sages who live the life of yoga in its entirety, the yoga journey is being liberated as Spirit, and then the taking care of the body and understanding the body is as a shrine that holds the divinity of Self. Liberated from the mind and body to be Spirit and then understanding the body as a shrine to utilize the mind as a tool of consciousness, the inner journey through yogic wisdom unfolds each day as our own enriching experiences.
[By yoga we refer to ‘hatha’ yoga as practiced in the West–the physical postures and the inner journey through this form of yoga as a sequences of postures. The Siddhar wisdom is potent when applied to the hatha yoga practice as the body is an effective tool to work the mind towards the inner core of realization. Tapasyogi Nandhi offers the yogic insights from the mystical Kalangi Kundalini Yoga as practiced by the Siddhar Sages of South India.]
1. Five Elements and Yoga:
One of the key understandings to hatha yoga is the realization of the vastness of our Spirit toward awakening and the human body we have in being a shrine. The yogi understands the human body as the shrine that contains all of the Universe and Mother Earth. This “All-ness” is contained in the five elements—earth; water/fluidity; fire; air and void space. When the yogi understands that connecting to Source is to be present through the existence of the five elements and begins to attain mastery over each element, that the real complete union of human and Source has begun.
So in our daily yoga, understanding our inner journey through the elements with awareness paves the way toward the mastery of wholeness. The elements are the body as are the elements of earth; each thought is as the element of water; our inner fires—the energies that help with digestion, breath, activities etc leading to the kundalini fire; breath and the breathless realm the element of air; and the final destination, infinite void space of ever expanding consciousness.
2. Do Yoga Nude (only when or if possible!):
While the word ‘nude’ does put most minds on alert and sometimes provokes the extreme ends of reaction, for a yogi, wearing the minimal clothing means wearing the entire infinite sky as clothes. Digambara, the sky clad one, is another name for Lord Siva, the supreme yogi. When practicing yoga, doing yoga in the nude enables us to integrate the five elements as one of the body and our being.
From the yogic experience, grace and learning is the ability of the body and our mind to break free of the limits and climb above the extreme cold or heat; hunger and sleep. The concept of ‘tumo’, the inner fire that produces warmth for the body is vital and important aspect of our yogic journey. By doing yoga nude we integrate the element of infinity of space; air through breath and our breath beyond breath wisdom; the inner fires and of our body shrine representing Mother Earth.
– Open your window or door to keep the outside air flowing inside so to connected with the air element.
– Be conscious of the temperature (hot or cold) and allow your yogic practice to generate the inner fires that work like a thermostat to equate our thresholds to equate whatever may be the weather outside.
– Allow our awareness to go beyond the mind to connect with the infinite nature of the sky. Realizing that we are infinite beings doing yoga is the rich experience of the Spirit having the human experience.
3. The Power Within Each Posture—Sthira:
Within each posture is the trigger of vital energies kindled through breath. The Himalayan Master (from the book, Autobiography of a Yogi. For those who have not read this wonderful book, a great life-changing gift of reading awaits you!) Mahavatar Babaji’s teachings of the mystical kriya yoga, condenses the essence of “sthira” as a very vital part of the practice. Sthira is the attainment of calm, tranquil, harmony of the breathless breath in breath.
Through each posture, divine into this tranquil space by utilizing the breath of sthira and expand the ‘self’. This ‘self’ is our awareness of our vast being-ness that is also experienced through the recitation of ‘AUM”. Sthira is the attainment of bliss and joy through breath from the breathless being. A ‘yoga’ session without usage of “AUM” is glorified gymnastics that presents much danger since we are not including the greatness of our partnership with Source. In the breath of sthira is the realization of the eternal aum that makes us aware of our infinite being, one with Source.
4. The Yogic Journey Includes Skipping/Dancing/Running:
The yoga practice we do comes originally from the Sages who lived in the wilderness of caves and mountains. Every day they walked, climbing up hillocks and hills. Most temples and shrines in India are located above on hillocks and hills to facilitate such pilgrimages. Their daily hatha yoga practice complimented their walking while their food intake was minimal or optimal.
In our society we do consume far more calories than needed. We are exposed to huge blasts of stress energies. We live without the need to walk on a daily basis. This environment needs to be transcended by making our yoga more effective by including skipping and/or dancing and/or running and/or cycling alongside with our daily yoga practice. Nandhi would recommend including any additional activity that gives more of joyfulness as joy paves way to daily discipline.
Utilize a yoga studio as you would use a walking stick. Yoga studios are for us to learn sequences of asanas but it does not substitute our daily yoga practice. Our daily yoga practice with or/and without a yoga studio is important for your daily inner journey in its practice, learning, wisdom and experiences.
There is a deeper wisdom from the yogic perception of time. When we ensure that we have our own daily practice that does not rely on anyone else or any circumstance (like a yoga studio), we begin to step into realigning the 24 hours though the experience of stepping into the gift yoga has to offer—timelessness. Doing yoga is a powerful form of worship and a journey into timelessness. Each day has 24 hours of time that holds the day and night experience for us.
We are like a planet experiencing the day and night while limited within the 24 hours each ‘day’ has to offer us. When we step into timelessness just once a day through yoga, we reflect life as though we are the sun. We cease to be the night and days experiences of the mind in its moods and in its perception of realities.
Another key benefit of having our own daily yoga practice is in awakening ourselves to be the greatest master and the most deserving student. When we learn from a yoga teacher, we are then like sponge, able to incorporate all the gold nuggets of wisdom into our daily practice.
6. Yoga is Tantra:
Tantra comes from the pre-vedic teachings of South India, the Dravidians. The worship of Lord Siva and Goddess Sakti and the yogic teachings within it was called “Tantiram”, the roots of tantra. Tantiram is to unite Source with our human reality through the wisdom of joyfulness. Tantiram wisdom teaches that the roots, the muladhara, hold all the power in our journey towards realization and the journey through consciousness after waking up. The root chakra holds the key to the inner journey, hence the importance of worshiping Lord Ganesh.
When we thread the yogic path we realize the vastness of ourselves to be like an onion, layered in each reality, starting from the roots all the way to the crown as realities to unite with Source. Tantiram, the core of tantra, is the experience of orgasmic bliss within each and all layers of reality that we can enhance through our daily yoga. When we awaken to the wholeness of yoga, we transform our primal energies of sex, sensuality and survival instinct into evolved angelic potent thoughts of manifestation. Our daily yoga is tool to transforming and evolving through the embrace of wholeness, the tantiram.
Most hatha yoga teachings involve having to invoke the root chakra to awaken and work with Mother Kundalini. When we journey inward, we know Mother Kundalini as another state of consciousness and through this awareness; we ride through the inner fire awakening each chakra that holds the secrets of each layered reality as in its manifestations through harmony, abundance and Divine grace.
This wholeness is the union with Source that holds the nature of bliss and the understanding of the “I Am” experience as in the bold statement, “I Am God”. Lord Siva as experience is “Satchidananda” the experience of the now as in being the bliss form.
Tapasyogi Kalathi Adiyen Aadi Nandhi: Through years spent in the caves and wilderness as a saddhu under the guidance of enlightened gurus, Nandhi was at first woken up to his childhood dream, a vision that he unfolds as the Ariven Community– global sanctuaries for retired animals. Supporting the Vision is an enlightening marketplace offering products that are recommended by the yogis of India. Nandhi imparts his wisdom and the inner teachings through yoga, through music and by initiation. For more information, visit his yoga website.
Editor: Tanya L. Markul