Last month, we learned that yoga is about the relationship between your self and your Self. Once you master this relationship on your mat, the next step is to show it off to the world.
This relationship is not about isolation. It is about integration.
The Self is the aspect of ourselves that connects to everything and everyone. It is your friend who is the life of the party. The one whose buzz rocks a room. The one who can talk to a wall – and hear the wall talk back. The one whom you have to drag off the dance floor at sunrise.
Ultimately, we vitalize our relationship with ourselves through yoga so that we can vitalize our relationships with others.
In last week’s blog, I offered connection as an antidote to stress. This week, I will teach you how to connect with your community through yoga.
There is limited public teaching in the yoga world about why the poses work. In my opinion, that is because most practitioners do not know how to use them as prescriptions.
The “vayus,” the five “winds” that constitute life force energy in yoga, are one reason why the practice works. Cultivating vyana vayu, the circulatory wind, expands one’s focus to the external and, as a result, builds one’s capacity and desire for connection and inclusivity.
In a technological world that breeds selfishness, inward mental focus and physical guardedness, vyana vayu can free your Self from your self so that it does not act like a wet blanket.
Here are three powerful ways to create vyana vayu in your practice and in your life:
- Find a public class that focuses on community and connection: Even if the teacher does not know about vyana vayu, they will be creating it in the air and the practitioners. Any popular bhakti flow teacher likely will be generating a ton of communal energy.
- Create a home asana practice featuring expansive poses: Use big poses such as warriors I, II and III, half moon, triangle and handstand. Focus on your limbs and how they feel taking up a lot of space. As your focus shifts toward expansion, your mood likely will follow.
- Meditate on vyana vayu: Sit with your eyes closed. Rest your left palm on your heart and your right palm on your left hand. Begin to smooth out your breath.
Then, synchronize the movement of your arms with your breath. As you inhale, open your arms out wide and take up space. As you exhale, draw your hands back into your chest and feel energy move inward.
Continue like this for a few rounds or minutes. After you finish, feel whether a sense of connection and expansiveness has invigorated your body, energy and mind.
If connection of any type is what you seek, let vyana vayu be your medium.
Practicing vyana vayu daily can amplify quickly and effectively the connection that you feel to others. It is a fantastic remedy for a world that is constantly trying to pull us inward into our devices and demons.
As you develop your capacity for connection, you eventually even can become vyana vayu in your social interactions. You can become that swirling force that stirs up a room, that sparks community among strangers, that shakes yourself and others from solitude like sunrise.
Curious about cultivating vyana vayu? Connect with The Big Yogi today to join a public class or to enroll in a yoga program.
A Maur Unity collaboration, edited by Maura Bogue
Nick Palladino-King teaches students and clients how to reduce stress, to increase happiness and to elevate health through yoga, wellness coaching and strength training.