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. Stillness gradually begins 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 may begin to open.
Finding Balance With the Outer World
Of course, there is plenty of evidence for the opposite happening in savasana: noise. I used to teach lunchtime classes in the soundproof radio studio at SBS in Sydney. That sort of environment is where you can definitely hear a pin drop, soft snoring in savasana, or the rumbling of empty stomachs. Even in the the peaceful country setting where we live, there are sounds of farm equipment, frogs and insects. Birds wake us up at early hours, including our neighbour’s caged cockatoo who has learned to imitate the sounds of horses and lawnmowers.
There’s a way that the practice of postures can be noisy. By that I mean the hot, sweaty, challenging yoga I like to do at times. But I do wonder why I do less of the more of the reflective practices: pratyahara, yoga nidra, pranayama, meditation. I do like quiet practices, but I am less drawn to them.
In I-3 Sutra, Patanjali says the rewards are great for following his type of practice – 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.