‘Ghathasta Yogam Yogésha Tattva Jnanasyakaranam’
—-(G S.Ch1, V-2)
Ghathasta Yoga is the means towards Self Realization
In our Yogi’s Diary #1, we had talked about BODY+MIND complex as being like a Ghatta (Pot) which houses the Inner Spirit. In this diary, let us take a deeper look at the Kriyas – the precursor to Asana practice.
Once, a King by the name of Chandakapali asked Mahamuni Gheranda four questions:
– What is Self Realization?
– What is Ghathastha Yoga ?
– How and who can practice this?
– Is it possible to attain Aatma Jnana (Self knowledge) through Yoga?
The book Gherand Samhita, also known as Saptanga Yoga, answers the above questions in 7 Chapters.
Attainment of Aatma Jnana(Self Knowledge) is to understand the balance between material life and spiritual life. The first step is to focus on ones physical body. The body is the grossest and the most perceivable instrument that transacts with the universe. It is essential to learn about its physical constitution and about the subtle energies that build and sustain this body.
The manifestation of impurities in the body is the root cause of ill-health. Lifestyle changes leading to irregular food habits, unhealthy diets are some of the primary reasons. Apart from this, stress, unhappiness, proliferation of undesired thoughts and worries are also trigger factors causing ill health. This leads to significant changes in the physical and physiological functioning of the body. Therefore, the initiation of Yogic disciplines has to begin with a process of detox/purification practice (ShóDhanam) for the mind to become stress free.
This is where Shatkarma (Kriyas) come into play. These are six stages of detox/ purification practices namely – Dhauti, Basti, Neti, Nauli, Trataka and Kapalbhati.
These cleansing process balance:
Energy Channels: Ida(Solar), Pingala(Lunar)
The 5 elements: Vāta(Air), Pitta(Bile), Kapha(mucus)
The 5 Pranas: Prana(breath), Apana(excretory), Samana(Digestive), Vyana(Circulatory), Udana(Rising)