Swamiji conducted the hatha yoga class with the theme of prana shakti. Swamiji said that according to the posture the focus on prana shakti has to be different. He also explained the two aspects of awareness: one is to go in and focus, the other is to go out to expand the awareness so that the whole self is seen while engaged. Then Swamiji gave the practice of prana pratyahara.
As part of the swadhyaya component, Swami Yogamaya gave a meditation on happiness and Swami Yogatirtha read from the Yoga Chakra series on the niyama of maitri, friendliness.
Rishi Arundhati gave one of Sri Swamiji's original yoga nidras.
Sannyasi Sivadhara read from the Yoga Chakra series of books.
Swami Vedantananda conducted the practice of kaya sthairyam with the component of touch pratyahara.
Swami Shivadhyanam conducted the hatha yoga class.
Whenever we do anything, whether it be exercise, pranayama, relaxation, meditation, or any other form of activity, even the normal day-to-day activity, in all the actions and efforts that we do in our life, there has to be relaxation, there has to be awareness and there has to be concentration. . .
If you are able to relax yourself, in the most extreme of situations, then you have succeeded in life. Even in the practice of asana, if you are able to relax yourself in the practice of the difficult asana, that asana will become beneficial, not if you are focusing on the difficulty saying, no, it is difficult, it is hurting, it is paining, I can't do it. Recognize the limitation of the body and be relaxed. If you push and pull to come into a posture, that is anti-yoga, that is anti-asana. In asana, things just happen spontaneously when there is relaxation.
Then next is awareness. Right now everybody is learning to be aware, but from where? In your yoga, you are told to be aware of the right hand thumb, first finger, second finger, third finger, fourth finger – where do you see them from? Inside or outside? Do you see your body from outside when you are doing right hand thumb, first finger, second finger? No. You don't see your body from outside. You are actually taking your mind into the part. Your mind is inside your hand, your mind is not in your head. The instruction is, take your mind inside, visualize, experience what is happening, feel the sensations.
You have been trained to go in. That is one aspect. When we go in, our awareness is centred to a point, and focusing of the awareness is known as concentration. If we are focusing the awareness and coming to the state of concentration, we are actually reducing the scope of awareness and confining it to a single point. It is like the focus of the big torchlight. Bringing the light together, coming closer and closer until it becomes a point. Light is reduced, it has come to a point but it has reduced in luminosity. Concentration is focused, awareness reduced.
Now you have to change that. The next stage of awareness is not to go in but to come out. Just as I can see you and your movements of the body, your finger, your thumb, in the same manner, I see myself moving the finger, moving the thumb, turning, talking. All that I am seeing from outside. I am not inside; I am out there seeing from outside. I can see the droplets of sweat on my upper lip; from outside I can see the sparkle of the water, which from inside I would not be able to see, but from outside I can see.
That is a sadhana. First you go in, so that you are able to focus your awareness into a point, where you concentrate, and then you come out, so you can develop a bigger field of awareness and observe everything that you do from outside. Awareness and concentration actually play with each other. They play with each other. Awareness focused becomes concentration; concentration enlarged becomes awareness. When you enlarge concentration, it becomes awareness, and when you focus awareness, it becomes concentration. These are the two concepts that I want to include in Satyananda Yoga.
Satyananda Yoga is a system which brings together all the various forms: we do mantras, asana, pranayama, mudra, bandha, relaxation, concentration, we have our jnana yoga with satsang, swadhyaya, self-study, we have our bhakti yoga with bhajan, kirtan, Saturday Mahamrityunjaya mantra, we have our karma yoga. Every day we have to prepare our own home, work in the kitchen, but not as work, for we develop the attitude of karma yoga. As a spiritual aspirant, why can't you say even at home: I am practising karma yoga in the kitchen? I am doing karma yoga, I am making coffee for you. If you bring in that idea, that idea will come with its own awareness and qualities. If you make your tea or coffee as karma yoga, the association will be different. The mental association of what you are doing will be different. Then even if you spill the tea or coffee, you won't mind it.
In this manner, all the components of Satyananda Yoga have to be brought into life practice. Until now practising yoga has been a trend. Now we have to make living yoga a trend.
A group of Manganiars from Rajasthan gave a beautiful musical performance of devotional songs accompanied by their simple original instruments.
The Manganiar is a tribal community, Islamic community, living in Rajasthan, but they are devotees of Krishna. They follow their own religious process, life, studies and routine. There is no change in that, but Krishna has become part of their life. By profession they are musicians, desert musicians, and the rhythm of their song is like a desert song – like in the Middle East or desert areas – a camel ride, the starry skies, the endless desert, and you can just imagine the sound wafting in the air, coming to you, getting louder and louder and louder, until suddenly you realize that they are here. It is a very beautiful and traditional form of song.
Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati