MY FULL LOTUS STORY
I met H.R. Suresh on my first trip to India. Several western students took a series of Vastu classes from him. Vastu is an ancient Indian system of arranging the home environment to achieve optimal health, happiness, and fortune. At this time I did not understand he meditated or taught yogic practices. Feeling frustrated with life and the perception of yoga I had at the time I had an inspiring talk with him. He introduced me to some breathing techniques and meditation which I began to practice with him twice a day. With every day practice and discussions, I felt myself becoming more relaxed and content.
I told Suresh, that because of my extremely tight hips I could not do half-lotus and probably never be able to do full lotus. Other yoga teachers told me that some people physically won’t be able to achieve full lotus and I thought I was one of these people. Suresh told me that he has observed my sitting abilities and told me, ‘if practiced correctly you will be able to achieve full lotus in 21 days.’
Jonathan practicing Bheemashakti in Mysore, India, 2008
I did not believe or disbelieve this statement. I just started physical practice with him and listened to everything he told me to do. On the 23rd day I achieved full-lotus!
This experience taught me that there was a different way to practice physical yoga more effective than anything I was ever introduced to. I didn’t even understand completely what I did differently to achieve this posture but it inspired me to listen to him more. What I teach now comes from a deeper understanding of this process.
The physical practice is based on the Seven Dimensions of the Body Concept which concentrate on body opening, strengthening, and detoxification simultaneously.
In this concept, strengthening plays a more important role than just becoming more flexible. As the body gets stronger (energized) through exercises and dietary restrictions the body becomes more flexible. This concept is different than the most common styles of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and Hatha Yoga. Both of these styles focus on the asanas, with the idea that with repetition of asanas will open the body. This concept is correct, however, at Bheemashakti we believe there is a more efficient way to reach advanced abilities of yoga and to release body blockages.
Swara Yoga is a systematic way to open, strengthen, and detoxify the body using exercises, kapalabhati (intense breathing technique), and kriyas (movement) rather than asanas alone. When the body has been prepared with the Swara Yoga System more asanas can be achieve easier and any style of yoga can be adapted whether it be Ashtanga, Iyengar, and/or Hatha. Once the body is open and strong then the student may enter any style of yoga, including Ashtanga Vinyasa and/or Hatha. Otherwise, the process will take a longer time than necessary.
This process is achieved by practicing in cycles of time, called Mandalas. During this time there are dietary restrictions, twice daily practices, specific times to practice, and a customized strategy to approach practice for each individual student. Usually, a new student is introduced to this process using 21 day Mandalas until the body and mind is ready for more intense 48 day Mandalas. Once the student is inspired to go deeper into physical practice then a set of three 48 day Mandalas is started. This is the process of transforming the physical body.
According to the Seven Dimensions of the Body Concept there are 7 primary opening directions (dimensions) and strengthening of the body. We must remember that strength plays a major role in these dimensions. The student will concentrate all the effort to achieve these 7 dimensions instead of practicing many different asanas.