I have now practiced various forms of Tibetan vajra yoga for soon to be 4 years. At first it was very new and ‘different’ than any yoga I had ever done, but as I kept doing it, I realized the impact it had on my daily life. In the beginning I would find myself bored at how repetitive it was, but as I stayed with it I realized how that is how we truly learn the benefits and get good at anything — through repetition. The more I do this practice, the more I ‘see’ all the benefits and how it supports my daily activities and intentions. My mind get new connections and a deeper understanding day by day.
Yoga, means yoke…to join together the body, energy and mind, and it is meant to lead us to ‘settle’; lead us to a place of peace. This cannot be accomplished through asana (body postures) alone.
Patanjali said in the Yoga Sutras: citta vritti nirodha = yoga is the cessation of mental fluctuations. This is achieved through the 8 limbs of yoga: yama – niyama – asana – pranayama – pratyahara – dharana – dhyana – samadhi….All meditation practices, regardless of differences in technique, seek to establish harmonization of vishesha-spanda (individual vibration) and samanya-spanda (universal vibration) through the principle of resonance.
Tibetan vajra yoga accomplishes this beautifully and skillfully. The practice incorporates self-massage and acupressure, postures, stretching, dynamic movement, breathwork, gestures, locks, mantra recitation, progressive relaxation, and meditative contemplation, to help the practitioner settle and align body, energy, and mind.
And, it is modular, which means that we can practice the various parts separately, and use them at different times and for different purposes as well.
For many months now, I have incorporated a module that completes my morning meditation practice, and which help get my energies flowing first thing — and my body ready for the day. We call them the Five elements: Space, Air, Fire and Water and Earth. This sequence is aligning the ‘elemental states’ of matter. The Tibetan have animal names on these moves, but they are a bit difficult for me to relate to, as I have never experienced these animals in my environment and know ‘what’ they do.
Space is the ‘field’ state of matter. Air is the gaseous state of matter. Fire is the radiant state of matter. Water is the liquid state of matter and Earth is the solid state of matter.
This short practice also incorporates breath work that help my digestion get started in the morning. And, all the various practices that we do -whether yoga or meditation or anything virtuous- have an Aspiration at the beginning and a Dedication at the end. They are beautiful, and if you are interested in knowing what they are, you can find them at the top of this blog.
What I also appreciate about this practice is that it is gentle, and so helpful as we age. Anyone can do this. It requires no advanced skill, and as we grow older, it helps us do the tasks we need to do in daily life, without being fearful of falling or hurting ourselves, as it helps with both balance and coordination.
If you have the opportunity to try this practice, I encourage you to do so. It is lovely!
Love & Light!