Yoga and Sustainability


Posted by Isabel Jones Fielding (Iyengar yoga Studio West Bridgford) on 04 Sep 2016

Essentially yoga teaches us to stop thinking in towards ourselves, and start going outwards. As we breathe, something comes in and something goes out. In Iyengar yoga, we learn to open our chest to receive the prana on the inhalation and as the chest makes contact with the skin, our individual consciousness goes out, then as we exhale the universal consciousness comes into us. This is the state we reach where we experience peace, and why we do yoga.

Today in Pranayama class, I tried to pass on the principle of inter-connectedness through connecting the sound of the bee as heard in bramari, to our skeleton vibrating, the resonance of a vessel, the room and to the resonance of the world around us, and to Dharma. After class as we all departed, a keen student who has studied yoga in India several times said ‘well it’s all about co-operation’.

This is Dharma.

Over the last year, I’ve becoming increasingly interested in what the vedas brought to the subject of sustainability, and in how Iyengar illuminates Patanjali’s teachings on this. If you’ve read some of the earlier posts on my o blog, you might have come across the concept of Prakrity – Nature. We are all a part of it. But its also a multifaceted interaction, and we can’t operate in isolation. When one thing is done in one place something is felt elsewhere. I was doing some gardening yesterday, and digging out the compost from underneath our wormery ( well the worms arrived by themselves!), digging out a hole right under the pile, to give more space for the old tomato plant stems to go on top and more good stuff to chomp down. Something is uncovered from the past, egg shells that haven’t been broken down, avocado stones that will never break down, but simultaneously something else is covered up literally as I pile the new compost up. The light is gone there, whilst light is cast on something else. As potential is revealed, other potential is extinguished, and so it goes on in each and every moment.

One image I like very much, came from Birjoo Mehta who delivered a lecture whilst we were in India last year on ‘Senses of Perception’. He described the consciousness like water; the river being the collective and the pond being the individual consciousness. The pond/individual becomes identified with the car, the job, the house but Not the river.

BKS Iyengar teaches us how to break the banks of the pond and reconnect to the river.

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