We take a look at a few tips and guidelines that can help you get the most out of your Hatha Yoga practice.
#1 Closed Eyes
Sadhguru: For a human being, the visual apparatus are the most dominant. When you close your eyes, the world disappears – unless you have your own false world in your head! The eyes will naturally close for any internalization because the visual apparatus engage us with the outward. If you just close them, you can still hear, smell and feel, but half the world is shut off. So internalization happens best when your eyes are closed. When you’re doing asanas, you want to internalize everything.
#2 Empty Stomach
While practicing yogasanas, you should not only be on an empty stomach, your bowels should be empty. Anything that is not the body should be out of the body if you want to move your energies upward. Yogic practices are not exercises, they are a way of restructuring your body and recreating yourself the way you want to be. If such a thing has to be done, nothing should be there other than your body.
Yoga means you are beginning to have a partnership with the creator; you can’t do it all by yourself, but you can create the necessary atmosphere for him to do the job. The first time you were created, it was not your choice, it happened from genetic memory. But now you are reinventing yourself step-by-step the way you want yourself to be.
Being a partner with the source of creation means a huge infusion of intelligence, the kind of intelligence that you cannot believe possible. If this has to happen there should be no obstacles – the food you put in or the waste you produced, both these things should be out.
#3 Cold Water
Before beginning your practice, it is always best to be immersed in or to allow a certain volume of water which is about five to eight degree centigrade lower than room temperature to flow over you. If this happens, the pores between the skin cells open up, and that’s important for practicing yoga because we want the cellular structure of the body to be charged with a different dimension of energy. Why one person seems to be far more alive than the other is essentially because of this. Once your cellular structure is charged with energy, it remains youthful for a very long time.
#4 Frequency of Practice
The Yoga Sutra says – sukham sthiram asanam. The goal is to achieve a state where your asana is comfortable and stable; if you remain like this for any number of hours it stays the same way without causing any disturbance internally. This is when your perception becomes bigger and bigger.
The point is not about doing yoga every day or twice a week, the intention is to knead the body in such a way that we can re-mold it. So, how much time do you have, to do the necessary work upon yourself – that much time you must do it.
This body is just clay. It gets burnt with your karmic stuff and becomes rigid. Established memory is what we are referring to as karma. It is because of that bank of memory that the physiological and psychological substance becomes rigid. We are trying to undo that. The idea of asana is that you are working with the body and kneading it in such a way that after some time it is un-burnt. Then, you can shape it whichever way you want because the energies are mobile.
#5 Using Mirrors/Listening to Music
There should never be a mirror or music when you practice Hata Yoga. The culture of using mirrors has come from body-building and gymnasiums because they want to admire their bodies. In yoga, that should not be the attitude at all. If you look at many yogis, their physical structure is not like that of an athlete – they are quite ordinary. Many of them are even pot-bellied because they never look at a mirror. For them, the only thing is they must grow.
If you want to get the involvement of that which is the source of creation within you, your body, mind, and energy must be absolutely involved. If you look at a mirror, will you look at just yourself? Let’s be straight about this. You will look at everyone else, isn’t it? And your mental focus is most important while practicing asanas.
Classical yoga demands a certain involvement of your body, mind and energy, and the innermost core. That which is the source of creation, which we usually refer to as the divine, will not yield unless you are one hundred percent. If you hold back or deviate a little, it will not be there for you.
An asana is a dynamic way of meditating. Because you can’t sit still, you’re doing something else to become meditative. That which is absolutely comfortable and stable is your asana. When your body is at ease, your mind is at ease and your energy is at full vibrance and balance. If you sit like this, you are naturally meditative. To come to a state of naturally being meditative, the preparatory step is asana. So in a way, asanas are a dynamic way of meditating.
If you speak, so many things change dramatically, not just physiologically but in the energy parameters also. So, not talking during the asana is not just a norm, it is a rule. You must never, ever speak in postures because your focus, breath and what happens to your energy system are most important; otherwise you will disturb the system. If you want to speak, there’s no need to do asana. Just go jogging and talk to each other.
Editor’s Note: Excerpted from Sadhguru’s discourse at the Isha Hatha Yoga School’s 21-week Hatha Yoga Teacher Training program. The program offers an unparalleled opportunity to acquire a profound understanding of the yogic system and the proficiency to teach Hatha Yoga. The next 21-week session begins on July 16 to Dec 11, 2019. For more information, visit www.ishahathayoga.com or mail firstname.lastname@example.org