Advanced Yoga Practices
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Lesson 300 - Samyama and Yoga Postures
Date: Jan 21, 2009
New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the archive, as previous
lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why
For those who are
established in doing a daily routine of yoga postures (asanas), samyama can
be incorporated in a way that can enhance the effects of our bending and
In the AYP approach, a concise sequence of yoga
postures is used before our twice-daily sessions of sitting practices. For
more information on getting started with an asana routine, see Lesson
71. We will use this routine as a baseline
for incorporating samyama into yoga postures. Samyama can be incorporated
into any other routine of yoga postures in a similar fashion.
For those who are well
established in their sitting samyama practice after deep meditation (see Lesson
150), it is easy to add samyama to asanas.
Our habit of touching a word or phrase (sutra) faintly with attention and
letting it go into stillness will gradually show up in many avenues of our
life, with great benefit. So it can be in our structured asana routine as
If we take the approach of initiating a
descriptive name, or sutra, for each asana as we are first entering the
posture, and let go of the sutra while we are in the posture, this is all
that is necessary.
Having let go of the
sutra, our attention will naturally go with the posture and expand beyond
it, adding a far greater component of inner silence to the posture than was
there before adding samyama. The result of this is more relaxation during
the posture, more lasting effects, and a smoother performance of the
physical posture itself. Keep in mind that we never force in yoga postures,
always going to our comfortable limit, and not beyond into discomfort. This
is the primary instruction in all yoga practices - never force.
In the AYP approach, the
duration of most of our postures is in the 10-15 second range, and this is a
good fit with the release of sutras into our inner silence. In the case of
samyama during yoga postures, we are engaging "stillness in action,"
literally. As we continue to develop this kind of habit in our thinking and
doing, it will have profound implications in our daily life. There is great
power in it, and our accomplishments in life can be greatly enhanced.
The names of the yoga
postures we use in the AYP approach, which can be used as sutras for the
corresponding postures, can be found in this
illustration of the 14 postures comprising the AYP Asana Starter Kit.
The posture names can be
translated to suit any language. The Sanskrit names can also be used, if the
meanings are clear to us in terms of the physical attributes of the
postures. For detailed instructions on yoga postures, see the AYP book, "Asanas,
Mudras and Bandhas - Awakening Ecstatic Kundalini,"
or the "AYP Easy
Lessons for Ecstatic Living" book. Samyama
with asana illustrations can be found in the AYP
These sutras can be adjusted as needed if and
when our asana routine is modified, as would be the case when using the AYP
abbreviated asana routine (covered in the above referenced books), or as we
may add more advanced postures over time. All we need is a word or short
phrase that cues our inner silence to the performance of the posture.
Remember, a sutra is a code that we easily release into stillness. Our
abiding inner silence will do the rest, assuming we have been regular in our
daily deep meditation practice.
What we may find with
the use of samyama in yoga postures is that our comfortable limit moves,
giving us a bit more reach than we may have expected. This is good, but do
not take it as a signal to push beyond whatever that expanding comfortable
limit may be. Even with the advantage of samyama, we are obliged to
prudently observe the principles of self-pacing in every aspect of our yoga
The addition of samyama
to our asana routine can greatly enhance the effects of our postures
physically, emotionally and mentally. When using asanas as a warm-up for our
sitting practices, adding samyama enhances the relaxation of our nervous
system, setting us up for deeper practice of spinal breathing pranayama,
deep meditation, sitting samyama, and our other practices. The result of
improved practice will translate into more peace, creativity and happiness
in daily living.
The guru is in you.
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