There’s a moment at the end of a yoga class when the students have placed themselves in savasana and have settled down to relax where quiet starts to fill the space. It doesn’t always happen; but when it does, it’s like a tumbler clicking in a lock, and the door to an inner world starts swing open.
Of course, there is plenty of evidence for the opposite happening in savasana: noise. I used to teach lunchtime classes in the soundproof radio department studio at SBS. That is where you can definitely hear a pin drop, or soft snoring in savasana, or empty stomachs rumbling. Even in the our country setting, there are sounds of farm equipment, frogs and birdlife, including our neighbour’s caged cockatoo who imitates horses and lawnmowers.
I like an active class. I guess I attract students who like that, too. But, I do wonder why I don’t work on cultivating more of the reflective practices: pratyahara, yoga nidra, pranayama, meditation. Oh, I do flirt with those things. But I’m not drawn to them.
In I-3 Sutra, Patanjali says the rewards are great for following his meditation yoga:
Tada drastuh sva-rupe’vasthanam
Then the seer (i.e. the Self) abides in [its] essence.*
Satyananda Paramahamsa says in his Four Chapters on Freedom, “realisation comes from within and cannot be comprehended by our present level of awareness of the mind.”
Patanjali is standing by the side of the road pointing…where? For the most part, toward the unknown…and yet, it’s said to be the “innermost I.” Not something to be figured out by way our old maps.
*The Yoga-Sutra of Patanjali, a new translation and commentary by Georg Feuerstein.