Celebrating &Connecting with our Yogic roots!
What an energetic yogic gathering it was – the International Yoga Day at UB City in Bangalore. And not just in the sense of coming together and having fun, because a union of good positive vibes will any how create that! And more so, when it is facilitated by the finest yoga teachers in the city! As a practitioner and an observer that day, I couldn’t help but think of wise truths that form the essence of the ‘Mandala’ and how this whole event was a little Mandala story in our corner of the world!
A Mandalic experience
Mandala in Sanskrit is a spiritual and ritual symbol representing the universe. Usually represented as a square containing a circle with a center-point, it exhibits radial balance. It is used as a spiritual guidance tool for establishing a sacred space. In Tibetan traditions, a Mandala is said to be a tool for gaining wisdom and compassion and transforming ordinary minds into enlightened ones.They transmit positive energies to the environment and to the people who view them.
This was a gathering that transformed the UB city rooftop into a sacred space. Our teachers showered us with wise words. We absorbed and learnt and journeyed inward as we practised and sang and danced. We connected with fellow-yogis and exercised compassion. We let go of layers of conditioning, bared our inner child and soaked in the experience whole-heartedly.
Wisdom from our teachers
Ajit Singh Tapasvi, founder of Yogi-sthaan, in his opening session, spoke about how Yoga is not doing, but undoing. He emphasized on ‘being in the posture’ rather than ‘doing the posture’. This important yogic lesson in ‘being present’ was echoed in all the asana sessions.
Pradeep Gowda, founder of a1000yoga urged us to explore mind-body connects through out his session in the Ashtanga Intermediate series. We moved with his instructions and succeeded in letting our minds just be, while our breaths and bodies became one with the Vinyasas.
Manish & Neetu Pole of Total Yoga guided us through an impromptu asana session, creating their asana sequence on the spot, adding a fun element to the session. They encouraged us to discover our own flow in our sadhana, synchronizing with our states of body and mind.
The community spirit and compassion levels were quite high by the time we got to Radhika Chaliha’s acroyoga session. A modern style that has developed with inputs from classical Hatha yoga, acrobatics & traditional Thai massage, acroyoga taught us to inculcate trust and sensitivity through touch, eye contact and a hint of play with our fellow yogis.Very popular with the youth, this style has retained the essence of traditional yoga while integrating new age approaches. Acroyoga is practised with partners who work together based on the fundamentals of trust. Both partners learn to take control by surrendering to the other. Ahimsa towards the partner and the self takes on a big role in acroyoga that brings in the powerful and technical influences of acrobatics.As our partners lifted us into flight, we took yoga off the mat, literally!
All the sessions showed us how asanas go beyond the physical body.Our mind and body are interconnected and one influences the other. Pradeep left us with a powerful closing question to ponder on. Everything that the body does has something to do with the mind. What does the mind go through when the body journeys through these asanas?
Remembering where it all began!
As we all know, yoga is not just about asanas. It is a lifestyle.And it has its roots in the first recorded compilation of Yoga – The Yoga Sutras by Sage Patanjali. They are 196 sutras put together in 400CE by Patanjali, taking materials about yoga from older traditions. Unfortunately, very few people today, are aware of this rich knowledge source. The International Yoga Day was just the right occasion to educate practitioners and others on the Yoga Sutras. a1000yoga raised energy vibrations with a Yoga Sutra chanting session led by Sanskrit scholar and yoga teacher, Swaroop Sharman. This was followed by a CD release of the Sutras.
The event ended with a beautiful music and dance performances by well-known artists. The camaraderie, the compassion, positive energy and the balance of the Mandala all persisted till the end. All of us, enlightened and united yogis,shook a leg and expressed our joy and gratitude to the gathering that was truly a mini Mandala – a microcosm of the universe!
Hatha Yoga practitioner & instructor