What does it mean to find your energetic connection in an asana?

As a yoga teacher and yoga teacher trainer I have seen many students just ‘hanging out’ in their asanas. Some checking out other students, some checking their toe polish in forward folds, and others simply just saging in their asanas. So why do some people look ‘alive’ in their asanas, and some look like ‘rag dolls’?

Well lets talk about bandhas.

 

Bandhas are employed to gain control of your energy system.

One important aspect of yoga is to gain similar control over your energy body or Pranamaya Kosha, and your mental body or Manomaya Kosha, as you have over your physical body or Annamaya Kosha.

Bandhas are employed to gain control of your energy system. First you practice it physically for some time. If one day, without employing your muscular or skeletal system, you are still be able to do it, then your bandha is good. Then you can lock it wherever you want and direct your energies according to whatever action you want to perform. After some time, you will not even have to think about locking it – it will simply happen. If you want to perform a certain activity, your system will start responding to the requirements by itself.

As an experiment, you can try this using your hand. Initially, physically make a tight fist and open it again – do this three times. Then do the same mentally. You should become conscious of the sensations that are caused by this activity. You only know that your fist is closed because of the sensations you experience – there is no other way for you to know. As you mentally do this, at least to some extent, you should feel the sensations of closing the fist. To this extent, you have control over your physical body.

Yoga means you want to get to a state where you can exercise all three of these koshas as you wish. If you really want to perform at your peak, it is important that your energy and mental body do the same thing as your physical body. Otherwise, there will not be harmony within, causing physical, emotional and mental inbalances.

 

If your Annamaya Kosha, Manomaya Kosha, and Pranamaya Kosha are not properly aligned and synchronized, your actions will not be smooth, easy, and effortless. There will be a lot of effort to do simple things, your actions will not be smooth, easy, and effortless.

The efficiency of any machine essentially depends on the level of friction within it. If you reduce the friction to the minimum, the machine will be superefficient. When the friction is minimal, with the same amount of power, it will do much more work. On the other hand, if there is more friction, the internal loss is higher. That is what is happening to a lot of people.

This is why I see some students ‘alive’ in their asanas and some people ‘hanging out’ in theirs. Some people are  clearly  in sync with their bodies. We should be able to look at people, whoever they are, not in terms of their body parts, but in terms of the alignment and the geometry of their bodies. You will see there is much more beauty in the geometry than in the shape and form of the outer body. There are many far more exciting things happening in the geometry of the person.

This is important because yoga is not just about learning 33 or 84 asanas – it is about the mechanics of life.

The bandhas are a dimension of yoga where, the more refined your activity is, the more you will notice that without entirely being focused on it, you cannot do it. Yoga is a very refined activity.  If you have control over your energy, you could just hold it where you need it for a particular activity.

Unnecessary movement of your energy makes you inefficient. If you want to go in one direction but your body goes somewhere else, is this efficient? Similarly with the mind, unnecessary movement of your mind makes you inefficient. If you want to do something but your mind is somewhere else, you cannot do it well. Sadhguru

When the physical body does not do what you want, you are totally out of control. When the mental body does not do what you want, you are somewhat out of control. The more refined your activity is, the more you will notice that without entirely being focused on it, you cannot do it. Yoga is a very refined activity.

Another dimension of the bandhas is – when you stay in an asana for a certain period of time, in a way, in its own nature, it becomes a bandha.

You hold the posture because you want to get the right geometry where Annamaya Kosha, Manomaya Kosha, and Pranamaya Kosha are aligned. All three – the physical, mental, and energy body – are physical in nature. You are trying to adjust the physicality. What is beyond that – the Anandamaya Kosha or “bliss body” – needs no adjustment, you just have to experience it. But to access this, your physical, mental and energy body have to be in alignment.

This is what Yoga is about. You experience this burst of bliss without emotion. This is important because you cannot rev up your emotions beyond a certain point. But you can rev up your energies further. Life is not limited to the psychological scope. Yoga means you do not want to be limited by your thoughts and emotions. You do not want your physical body and psychological limitations to define the boundaries of your life – you want to go beyond them.