Purpose of this Lecture
1. The advent of the coronavirus has led to many online yoga classes. This video is intended to educate all yoga practitioners.
First Address the Body by the Body
1. Start with any yoga asana, whether for physical benefit or a [generalized sense of] well being.
2. You are not really doing a [yoga] posture. In this preliminary stage, become aware of your body, mind, and breath. The breathing changes in each asana. Become aware of your body, mind, and breath. Merely being in a posture does not constitute yoga.
3. You must start by using whatever part of the body you are able to use, such as the limbs in standing poses…. Address your pelvis, abdomen, lower back, upper back, and chest segments — whatever segment you are able to address. Then find out how much you can use these various parts of the body in your practice — the arms, legs, parts of the trunk.
Asanas are [more than] just about doing. Use every possible part of the body. For instance, connect your limbs and trunk so that they may cooperate.
4. If you exercise, you are aiming for exalted biomechanical actions — tightening, straightening, stretching, elongating, extending, bending, rotating, etc. Find out how much you can exercise your musculo-skeletal body in any given position.
Address the Body with the Breath +7.05
1. While doing that, use your breath on those parts of the body. Apply a mindful, profound exhalation, a mindful, profound inhalation, then a hypernormal cycle of sharper breathing, then softer breathing, thicker breathing, thinner breathing. Find the corporeal benefits to the body.
Address the Body with the Mind +7.35
1. So, also, how do you use your mind? Use your intent and disposition to focus on how your body is [both] activated and activating. Identify [both] how you will activate the body, and how the body becomes activated through your will and volition. [Identify] sensation, perception, cognition, awareness, and sensitivity — the various functions of the mind.
2. If you are exercising the organic body in the trunk — the pelvic, abdominal, and thoracic organs — find out how the contractions and extensions…, bending, and rotating exercise the organs of the physiological body.
3. That [in summary,] addresses the body through 1) connection of limbs and trunk; 2) normal and hypernormal breath; and 3) mental awareness, perception, cognition, memory, volition, intent, and diligence.
4. In short duration asanas, such as Trikonasana, change sides or repeat multiple times while still following these directions. Long duration asanas, such as Sirsasana, [do not require a change of position].
Exercise the Breath +10.55
1. Just as we go for intense body activities — the biomechanics of straightening, stretching…, bending, and rotating — use a profound hypernormal exhalation instead of a normal breath. How can a profound hypernormal inhalation and a profound hypernormal exhalation contribute?
2. Then address the breath and breathing physiology, as well, by using the velocity and volume of your breath — from normal to hyponormal velocity, decelerating the breath. Make it slower and slower, thinner and thinner.
On the other hand, you can reverse it with a hypernormal [velocity] — a little faster, thicker, and sharper.
3. Thirdly, confine the breath to a specific area — the pelvis, abdomen, diaphragm, chest, head, face, skull, and brain. [Transform it into] holistic breathing, not just respiratory. Culture the breath, exercise the breath, and condition the breath in various locations.
Exercise the Mind +13.05
1. Then exercise your mind in that position. Exercise your willpower. Rather than investing will, generate willpower. Instead of investing intent, generate intent. Instead of investing diligence, perception, and cognition, generate them. This is the mindset addressal.
The Fabric of Classical Yoga—Body, Mind, & Breath +13.50
1. There is a body-set addressal, wherein the body, mind, and breath work on the body; a breath-set addressal, wherein the body, mind, and breath work on the breath; and a mindset addressal, wherein the body, mind, and breath work on the mind.
[Yoga] is always a composite activity, an activity where body, mind, and breath come together. This will [constitute] the fabric of Classical Yoga in your postures. Otherwise, we [only] learn, perfect, and practice the posture, missing the basic yogic fabric.
2. If it is a difficult asana, it will be difficult to breathe. In that case, breathing normally is [in itself] an exercise.
Classical Yoga—Purification Process +15.25
1. The purification process is preeminent in yoga…. Exhalation is a very important instrument to purify the cellular body, corporeal body, ethical mind, temporal mind, and, perhaps, at a later stage, the deeper mind. [See PYS II.28 in the next section.]
2. Make it a point to exhale more and more often in every asana. This will work on the cellular plane. Test it by exhaling more and more from the head, brain, and pelvic segments.
When you exhale an unusual volume, it is a form of internal excretion, internal evacuation, and internal purification.
Classical Yoga postulates that there must be a purification process on whatever aspect of yoga is practiced. Find out how you can purify your posture.
3. Hereafter we should not dare call it posture because so many things take place when applying the body, mind, and breath.
Classical Yoga—Knowledge Process +17.10
1. The purification process is but one aspect of Classical Yoga. The other aspect is knowledge:
PYS II.28 | yoganga-anusthanat ashuddhi-kshaye jnana-diptih aviveka-khyateh |
By dedicated practice (anusthana) of the yoganga (limbs of yoga), the ashuddhi (impurities) are destroyed (kshaya) and jnana (wisdom) radiates in viveka khyati [the ability to differentiate buddhi from purusha].
The first process (anusthana: following a dedicated practice that leads to stability) is purification (ashuddhi-kshaya: destruction of impurities). The other process is knowledge (jnana-dipti: radiation of wisdom).
2. Any awareness, mental action, intellectual action, emotional action, psychological action, or psychic action is an internal knowledge.
Action, with awareness and sensitivity, [allows] perception and cognition. Patanjali has described perfection and knowledge in this sutra about ashtanga yoga….
3. You learn about body, mind, and breath, the interactions of body, mind, and breath, and how they work for each other.
Your body is not working for you. Your mind is not working for you. Your breath is not working for you. They are working for each other. There is an enormous internal community culture…, and social interaction between body matter, mind matter, and breath matter.
That is one [part of the] fabric of Classical Yoga which you may begin to explore, identify, and discover in any yogic position. Try various postures to find out how this precept can be applied.
Yoga and the Immune System +19.50
1. Today we are under the tremendous gravity of the corona virus. The whole world is tensed and stressed. In the present situation everyone longs for immunity because there is no medical cure as of yet.
2. From the yogic perspective, immunity depends on two factors: 1) The organic / physiological system. More specifically, the abdominal organs must function well. If they do not function optimally, we become vulnerable to infection. The abdominal organs play a defensive role in the immune system.
Even if you are fit, in order to keep infection at bay, address your belly in asana — how do the abdominal organs participate, and how do they receive your actions?
The abdominal organs will be in [better] condition if you eat fresh food prepared at home, and not from a restaurant…, or junk food. [The food] works on the belly, and the belly works on it. That is the physiological dimension of the immunity.
3. [Secondly,] If the psychological organ of the mind… is under stress, anxiety, or malaise, it will… negatively affect our immune system. Those with a turbulent mind rarely have a good defense system. If they do have it, it is only by chance.
Logically, brain function, metabolism, and immune function go hand in hand, so we must have a sound psychological process. You must remain at ease, distanced rather than tense, de-stressed rather than distressed.
4. In asana, when aiming for a de-stressed condition, you should address your head, brain, face, and skull, addressing your psychological mind, psycho-mental mind, and psychic mind to keep the mind quiet, serene, and stable without malaise. Addressing the brain in asana is as important as addressing the abdomen.
5. Reinforce the immune system with [fresh] food [to facilitate digestion], asana for the abdomen and brain….
When we interact within ourselves in yoga practice, there is no condition of like or dislike of you…, [neither] attachment nor aversion. This is a very important field of work. Within ourselves there must be no attachment, and no aversion; no like, no dislike; no love, no hate.
When you keep all of these dualities at bay, that unique mind cannot [be swayed by] any gravities.
[Overcoming duality] is also an important [aspect] of building up the immune system. When the mind oscillates between all the dualities of attachment and aversion, like and dislike, it will not reinforce the immune system.
Thus, you must internally address the brain in asana so that there is no field for attachment and aversion…. Is that not a saintly mindset? Asanas provide a field for such a mindset. Then immunity will be taken care of by these practices.
6. Finally, immunity is not a pill. It is a metabolic process. There is no instant measure for immunity. It is [a product of] metabolism. It is a psychological, metabolic, and biochemical process in our system.
Don’t expect asana to be a pill of immunity. Immunity is a long-term development, not short-term.
[Advocating] asana or pranayama for immunity is really foolish. If it can take nine months to be born, it will take time for our biochemistry and cellular metabolism to improve. No asana, pranayama, or kriya is a pill.
Practice from the perspective of the fabric of Classical Yoga to [build immunity].
 Hanuman Jayanti is the Spring full moon celebration of the birth of Hanuman that is always observed at RIMYI. Hanuman is the divine incarnation of power (shakti) and devotion (bhakti); he was known for his absolute devotion towards Lord Rama.
 This transcript often employs paraphrases, and, thus, is not verbatim. Insertions or explicit clarifications are noted with [brackets]. Every effort has been made to preserve Prashant’s unique voice while Americanizing the syntax. However, the active voice has been freely substituted for the verb to be in order to clarify intent.
 The advent of the corona virus has led to many online yoga classes: This lecture culminates with the role yoga plays in the immune system.
 This is the mindset addressal: addressal has been coined by Prashant to convert the verb to address into a noun.
 From the yogic perspective, immunity depends on two factors: 1) The organic / physiological system…: Prashant will cite the mind as the second factor in the next section.
 there must be no attachment, and no aversion…: See PYS II.7-8: Pleasure (sukha) leads to raga (attachment). Pain (dukha) leads to dvesa (aversion).
 When you keep all of these dualities at bay, that unique mind cannot come under any gravities: Prashant began this section with the phrase gravity of the corona virus. Gravities subjugate us, as the sun keeps the earth in its orbit. In other words, the mind cannot succumb to the widespread fear of corona virus. See PYS II.9: Abhinivesa (attachment to life) is found even in wise men. VB II.9: This affliction streams of its own accord. It is seen even in a newly born worm.
 When the mind oscillates between all the dualities of attachment and aversion, like and dislike, it will not reinforce the immune system: Prashant will reiterate this in the next lecture that focuses on materialism versus spirituality. The ever-wise, ever-pure, and ever-free purusha is not subject to worldly suffering or the cycles of birth and death. See PYS II.17: The cause of pain is the identification (samyoga) of the Seer (drashta: atma) with the seen (drshya: prakrti) and the remedy lies in their dissociation.
 Asanas provide a field for such a mindset: In the next lecture, Prashant will define field, as used in Bhagavad Gita 13.2.