It’s been a lacklustre few days with respect to asana practice. Barely anything except a few poses for supporting the odd runs. Reading and writing have also taken a backseat and it’s sheer lethargy that prevents the sharp edge of practice.

However, I have been working on a few strength training exercises to run fast. It’s purely muscular work and something I never did despite being told by experienced runners. I find that I have no strength to do really basic stuff, no bala! That’s why some of the asanas also feel very difficult. Cervical spondylosis was responsible for keeping certain kinds of movements out of my reach but now I find that there have been certain shifts in the body and mind. That changes the playing field. 

Rupa, lavanya and bala are qualities that are the measure of the perfect equipment, the body. 

As the sutra says, रूपलावण्यबलवज्रसंहननत्वानि कायसंपत् ।।४६।।

Form, grace and strength of body, mind and heart that is like vajra. I am not sure of the meaning of the term, it is used to refer to Indra’s  thunderbolt as well as a diamond. The attributes of vajra would be hard, brilliant, sharp, powerful etc. One of the stories in the puranas recounts how the vajra was created from the bones of Sage Dadeechi. It is interesting to note that the powerful weapon of a God came out of a human. That’s the potential for perfection possible in the human embodiment. Of course, the tapas required for that kind of perfection would be beyond what we can imagine.

If I muse on the order of qualities in the context of asana, it makes sense as well. First, we learn the rupa (form/ structure/ framework) of the pose, after which we learn lavanya (grace) in execution of the asana without any agitation. Then we use the bala (strength) to stay, to endure. This will come when the effort becomes effortless. Refined strength. Prayatna Shatilyatha. 

Vajranga… master of the siddhis

The ebbs of practice teach me that there are no excuses not to practice. There is strength that is present within that comes from a much greater power. It seemed fitting to learn arm balances in today’s class. The same palms that join in prayer can also carry the weight of this body. Tadasana in our palms too!

Hari Om

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