Yoga, the union of the sun and the moon
Hatha, The uniting of the Sun and Moon, Ida and Pingala, Shiva and Shakti, Purusha and Prakriti, is the unity of the individual Soul with the Supreme Soul. It is the Purusha concept as we find it in Samkhya philosophy, and also expressed in Ayurvedic texts.
“Happiness and misery are due to contact with the Self (Atman), mind and senses, but when the mind is steadily concentrated on the Self, both cease to exist, due to non-initiation and a supernatural power comes forth from the person. This state is known as Yoga by the seers” – Charaka Samhita, Sharirasthana, I.137
Notice that it said “happiness and misery”. Understand that happiness is not the goal, nor is it a by product.
One Rig Vedic verse for example (IX.20.3) lauds the god Soma as grasping all things by with the mind (chetasa) and purifying our thoughts (mati). This hence also relates to purifying the vata (wind) and pranas by controlling them and hence calming the mind, breath and attaining the state of of inner calm, from which we can deeply contemplate and attain the Self or Atman.
This once again is just more to the understanding that prana is the focus of yoga; the understanding of how to balance the Pranas.
One verse to the Ashwin Gods in the Rig Veda makes note of their divine three-seated chariot, spreading over the five regions or abodes, which are the Five Koshas or Bodily sheaths Sheaths, with respect to the subtle, physical and causal bodies – which, when overcome, the Self is attained:
May the three-seated (tri-vandhura) and mentally-governed (manasa-yukta) come – spreading over the five abodes (VII.69.2)
The three seats refer to the three channels, called “nadis” in the subtle body. They are the left and right – lunar and solar nadis, called “Ida” and “Pingala”. The third is the central nadi, called “Sushumna” nadi. The Sushumna nadi is also called the Saraswati. These are what was referred to on the last post on pranayama connected to the left and right nostrils.
For controlling the mind, the control of lifestyle and habits is required and the first mandatory step. This is done through the Yamas and Niyamas in Yoga. These are known to the Vedas also – which have lengthy Dharma Shastras as part of their teaching. This is also the very foundational teachings of Ayurveda. the entire first volume of Charaka Samhita called Sutrasthana is about understanding what is life (that is a big question), what is beneficial and what is not beneficial for life.
By controlling their minds and thoughts, the great Seers hence meditate on the great Surya, who permeates their body. He is hence also known as Vishnu (the cosmic pervader), and it is within he whom all beings or life exists as the Cosmic Self (Rig Veda I.35.5).
Later it is said by Sri Shankaracharya who brought forth Vedanta.
“Living in a retired place serves to control the sensory-organs; control of the senses helps to control the mind – through control of the mind, egoism is destroyed; and this again gives the Yogi an unbroken realisation of the Bliss of the Supreme. Therefore, the man of reflection should always strive to control the mind” -Vivekachudamani
Need to notice the beginning of his statement that a retired place is required.
We all have heard, or should have if you have ever done any yoga…..
“Yoga is the cessation of the outgoing activities of the mind” – Yoga Sutras, Samadhi Pada, I
Similarly, the Bhagavad Gita of Lord Krishna states:
“Sitting in a clean place, holding himself in a steady Yogic-posture (Asana) in a place not too high nor low, There, making his mind one-pointed (ekagra), controlling his mind and the actions of the senses, sitting down on the seat, he should practise Yoga for Self-purification” Bhagavad Gita, VI.12
Anyway you cut it, exercise is rajas (principle of activity) and creates more activity of the mind. It is the opposite of what we are trying to do in yoga so why are we doing asana based on western exercise theory instead of asana based upon prana, the language of yoga?