When I first learn the Yoga Sutra 30 years in the past, Vibhuti Pada (the chapter on manifestation) stirred my curiosity with its reference to samyama, which might be loosely translated as “integration.” Patanjali writes that samyama is the simultaneous expression of the final three limbs of Ashtanga Yoga—dharana (focus), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi (realization)—it’s a complete absorption into the object of meditation with a purpose to expertise profound shifts in consciousness.
I discovered some elements of this chapter virtually lighthearted and amusing at first. Some of the superhuman powers achieved via samyama, corresponding to shrinking your self right into a minute measurement or turning into additional heavy, appeared the stuff of Marvel Comics. But as I reread it over the years, I started to see this chapter in a brand new mild. The samyamas are expressions of deep realizations which might be a part of a continuum of understanding.
The Power of Navel-Gazing
In this sutra, the energy or follow Patanjali describes is “samyama on the navel.” This concentrated meditation on your midsection opens the door to an important understanding of your physique’s constituent elements and subtle-energy channels (nadis). Your manipura (navel) chakra is the originating level of 72,000 nadis, making it a very potent area.
This exalted follow even has a counterpart in historic Greece, the place navel-gazing, or omphaloskepsis (omphalo = navel; skepsis = inquiry), was thought-about an applicable mode of philosophical pursuit. In reality, 4 Roman statues depicting males standing in a circle with their arms on their hips wanting down at their bellies is preserved at the Louvre. The distinction is that the Greek model is a symbolic, philosophical gazing, whereas the yogic model is an entire absorption into the delicate middle itself.
While I’ve not but achieved samyama by concentrating on my navel, I’ve felt the commanding energetic presence of my navel middle as I’ve experimented with this apply. You can begin by merely watching your bellybutton after which closing your eyes, persevering with to visualise it. As you middle on the website of your former umbilical twine, you’ll start to expertise a kind of listening that frees your thoughts from overthinking and permits the grace of samyama to start. This might end in your level of focus shifting deeper towards your backbone on its personal accord and opening your consciousness to a brand new area of power.
If you discover the idea of samyama on the navel complicated, you will get a style of samyama in different methods. Just observe how asana and pranayama can typically appear to cease time. Your ideas develop into extra spacious and you may catch a glimpse of the virtually ungraspable now (presence)—the aim of a yoga apply. You can also turn into conscious about the musculoskeletal facet of every asana as you stretch, launch, and strengthen. You might perceive, for the first time, how your ft hook up with and have an effect on your backbone—or how postures have an effect on respiration, which in flip impacts your thoughts—and vice versa. These are the kinds of realizations that precede samyama.
While the suggestion of “perfect knowledge of the disposition of the human body” might elude us, we will achieve perception into our personal our bodies and minds by attending to the bodily, psychological, and energetic features of yoga. All experiences and understandings are coloured by what you deliver to them, and thus it’s probably that you simply’ll have a special journey with this sutra.
Whether seated or training asana, take note of your navel with out forcing an consequence. Listen. Do it once more. Stay open to new experiences. Take your time. Let the great thing about Vibhuti Pada unfold.
See additionally Decoding Sutra 2.16: Prevent Future Pain from Manifesting