A self enquiry that has been pondered through the ages. It’s a mystery!
In Yoga, observation of breath can be one method to assist with finding the answer. Just switch your ‘awareness’ to the simple act of breathing.
We all know that conscious breathing is the connection between mind, body and movement and that by the end of a round of Pranayama, done properly, you can feel the tensions just melting away. This will be reflected in the manner of your ‘normal’ breath as you commence the asanas, how you are feeling and your state of consciousness.
However, it’s harder to find the words to explain WHAT IS HAPPENING when you start to connect your awareness to breath. ‘Awareness’ which usually is aware of all the separate processes, becomes ‘aware of itself’ not from mental or intellectual perspective (although I find these perspectives often want to ‘leap in’ and take over 🙂 ) . You are not asked to alter the ‘awareness’; just to observe it.
How can I do this in a Bikram Yoga Pranayama? One example, use the ‘SOHAM’ mantra when you are practicing your Pranayama breathing.
The Sanskrit translation of Soham is ‘I am That’. This definitely carries with it much to contemplate! ‘Soham’ is a natural, spontaneous mantra because it is already part of your nature, you are not required to ‘do’ anything. It is a universal mantra because its vibration is already a part of the breath and everybody breathes. Some meditate by ‘saying’ the words ‘So’ ‘Hum’ using their vocal cords; we do NOT do this in class, BUT you have an opportunity to use this mantra in the Pranayama exercise we do at beginning of class as a meditation WITHOUT using your speaking vocal cords (only your whispering vocal cords). Minimal concentration will be required to do this easy meditation. I get classes where the natural group ‘Soham’ is so strong and powerful without much guidance from me it is music to my ears and fills me up.
Consider inhalation as a quality of ‘So’ and exhalation as a quality of ‘Ham’. ~ Sooooo… is the whispering sound of inhalation ~ Hammmm… is the whispering sound of exhalation ~.
‘Hear’ the sound according to the rhythm of breath. Evoke ‘So’ in the mind ALONG WITH whispering inhalation. Evoke ‘Ham’ in the mind ALONG WITH whispering exhalation; the mmmm is silent in a sense it is the soft sealing of the lips at the end of the whispering exhale.
“You, the meditator, are existence itself, without form without past, present or future. No bonds or limitations restrict the aspirant who has Soham firmly fixed in their mind.” – SVD
Om Om Om I AM YOGA
Namaste ~ Trisha