Energetic Balance - a Legitimate Aspiration
By Malek Daouk, Yoga Suisse
Although it appears to be different for each person, Yoga practitioners are nevertheless all driven by a quest that is very similar. Practitioners are on a journey, they prepare their body, their breathing and their psyche. They explore the world. They examine their soul. They move heaven and earth to have experiences that are meaningful, to suck the true substance, the quintessence of the masters´ teachings. To sum up, they are seekers of the light, with all eyes on them, just like poets, the medieval troubadours, going to the heart of poetic language in search of the essential. They sing, they recite or chant so that the shrivelled folds of their soul open up to the beneficial, healthy sunshine.
On this initiatory journey inwards, balancing the vāyu,* the five vital breaths, contributes to the joy of the pilgrimage.
In addition, let´s remind ourselves of how disease, either physical or psychological, insinuates itself, so that we don´t fall into a trap caused by lack of awareness or consistency. In the Yoga-rahasya, 8th-century work revealed by Sri T. Krishnamacharya, responsibility for energetic imbalances falls on excesses or inappropriate mixtures in food, relationships or activities.
Yoga-rahasya I-24 : ‘dehabhedât deshabhedât vrttibhedâcca naikadhâ rtubhedâcca jâyante rogâssangena sarvadâ’: ‘Because there are major differences in constitution, place and activities and seasonal changes, disease develops because of incorrect associations.’
After all, don´t all forms of Yoga have the same objective? Sri Aurobindo sums up that objective as a posture that we need to hold in our lives. According to him, thanks to Yoga we become aware of a double existence within: ‘the one in the background that is always calm and strong, and the one on the surface which alone is tortured and dark. But if the true being in the background remains stable and if you live in it, agitation and darkness only remain on the surface.’ In addition, he points out that the change in awareness only happens at a deep level: ‘Yoga is not about ideas, but about inner spiritual experience. Simply being drawn to any group of religious or spiritual ideas does not lead to realisation. Yoga means there is a change in awareness; mere mental activity will not bring about a change in awareness, and can only bring mental transformation. And if your mind is sufficiently agile it will continue to move from one thing to another, until the end, without reaching any reliable path or any spiritual haven.’
Developing an energetic balance is the basis from which we can set out on the sunny path of Yoga!
* THE FIVE VÂYU – THE FIVE BREATHS
PRÂNA – situated in the chest, responsible for absorption, cardiac function and breathing
– psychology: reassurance, self-confidence, reinforcement.
APÂNA – situated in the abdominal area, responsible for elimination, sexuality, giving birth.
– psychology: letting go, purification.
SAMÂNA – situated above the navel, at the level of the stomach, responsible for digestion and
assimilation as well as regulation of metabolism
– psychology: satisfaction, equanimity.
UDÂNA – situated in the throat, responsible for expression and relations between the
senses and their surroundings
– psychology: opening, abundance.
VYÂNA – situated everywhere in the body, responsible for conveying or distributing nutrients,
oxygen and particles.
– psychology: stability, harmonisation.