Asana for me is a shape that seeks to stand in correspondence to something unseen yet palpably-tangible to the body. Asana, therefore, is a reciprocal shape. The absorbed-stillness that an asana wishes to achieve is a result of this reciprocity or correspondence. The BARPS method emerged out of a deepening awareness and appreciation of the body over time, but it has mainly come about due to the growing suspicion that we have got it all wrong.
BARPS acronymically indicates the succession of processes to be applied in asana, namely: bracing, aligning, rotating of joints, poising of breath and finally stretching.
The two paradigms that yoga has, by default, come under the influence of since the mid-19th century are capitalism and organised religion, both of which are unambiguously body-defeating. Yoga and Vedanta are two distinct schools of thought, which do not philosophically agree with each other on some rudimentary points.
For instance, Vedanta is categorically matter and body-dismissive, whereas yoga, adheres to Samkhya that singularly relies upon the distilling properties of matter, or the body; and more importantly, does not entertain any external ideal such as God or Brahmn as it attributes the cause of the universe to pradhana, the restless-nature of Nature itself.
Capitalism, too, keeps reinventing the ‘ideal’ body with calculated regularity. Both ideas, one ‘moral’ and the other ‘cosmetic’, deliver the body into a never-ending loop of ‘catching-up’; leaving the actual body wanting, and consistently falling short of the ideal that ever looms outside the possibilities of the body. Thus, the proposition of yoga as a ‘self-perfecting’ practice within such an orchestrated climate that privileges ‘idea’, the kind that is programmed to never allow the body to ever achieve or exceed the idea, is not only a non-starter, it is actually a hoax.
For example, I strongly suspect that we have today confused practice with production. I see yoga being popularly taught and viewed within the ever dispensing linear mode of good-better best, beginners-intermediate-advanced, first, second and third series, as though the ideal of practice lies somewhere out there in the unbegetting future. Where does this place, the ‘atha’, the absorbed ‘here-and-nowness’ that is intrinsic to the very definition of yoga? To enter yoga with the suspicion that the ‘now’ is yet incomplete or even unacceptable is to miss the boat of yoga at the core, conceptual level. Asana is neither to be produced nor to be ever seen as bereft of cohesiveness. It, in fact, has to be occupied with self-worth, satisfaction, freedom and licence. These are all intrinsic properties of asana.
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