BHEEMASHAKTI YOGA SYSTEM ™
Basically, initially BYS approaches yoga not through the repetition of asanas but through the strengthening and opening of Seven Dimensions of the body through breathing techniques and exercises. The Seven Dimensions of the Body Concept states that the body has 7 essential ways that the body will open and be energized (strengthened). Theoretically, as we master these Seven Dimensions we will be able to accomplish any asana. Of course, some individuals will not be able to achieve some asanas and abilities but it approaches these abilities progressively. This progressive process of the development of these Seven Dimensions is called the Dimensional Practice. There are two basic categories of the Dimension Practice: Basic Exercises and Expansion Exercises.
The Dimensional Practice utilizes exercises and kapalabathi breathing technique to open and strengthen the body. kapalabathi breathing is the forceful exhale of air out the nostrils using the lower abdominal muscles. This breathing is done continually until the desired number of breaths is achieved in a particular position. This breathing technique rapidly “energizes” the position of the body. It does this by giving an energetic pulse to the entire body during the desired position. This breathing also increases the delivery of oxygen to the entire body. The concept of energizing the body involves strengthening but is has more subtle affect on the body as well. For example, a weight lifter may by strong in handstand but unable to maintain handstand away from the wall. A less strong individual that has been more “energized” in the position may be able to free-handstand much easier. The difference between strength and energization is difficult to describe and it is the experience of this practice which is the most effect way of understanding the difference between the two. It is the combination of “opening” (becoming more flexible) and energization which is the key to improving the body through BYS.
Since the Dimensional Practice is progressive there are stages of exercises that progress the student systematically to a more advanced level. These exercises are usually repetitive movements that energize, open, and prepare the body for advancing (EOP). This gives the beginner access to a yoga practice with a definite strategy for improvement. There is no wasting of time and energy. There are hundreds of asanas that are practiced in many different styles of yoga. To utilize all these asanas as tools to open the body may take a very long time. When the body is already energized and open to a certain level the body can advance by repeating asanas. But when the body has blockages and weakness the repetition of asanas is not the most efficient way to progress. This represents most of the population of yoga students. The Dimensional Practice is the most efficient way for these students to progress. This does not mean the student should avoid practicing other styles of yoga. Practicing all types of yoga styles is supported because it gives the student a wealth of knowledge regarding his/her body. This knowledge includes understanding some limitations of the body, strengths of the body, it gives a reference of improvement, and it allows the individual to experience gross and subtle benefits of practice.
It is also important to remember that the ability to do an asana is not the only outcome of improvement. The energization of the body is even more important than increasing the flexibility of the body. In order for the body to be healthy it is best to combine strength (energization) and flexibility. Once the body is energized it is easier for the body to become more open. This has partly to do with the conditioning of the muscles. The exercises conditions the muscles by making it more energized and decreases the blockages by encouraging more oxygen delivery to the muscle. This is the transformation of a muscle. We must change the physiology of the muscle in order to make it healthier.
The combination of energization and flexibility is a healthier muscle. A conditioned muscle will have a less tendency of injury. Progressive conditioning of the muscle will enable students to advance with less chance of injuring the muscles.
The Dimensional Practice begins with a brief warm-up that will give time for the body and mind to prepare. The basic exercises of the Seven Dimensions are performed to balance and create internal heat in the body. This will prepare the body for the expansion exercises. The expansion exercises support the deepening and energizing of the particular dimension. Only one dimension will be focused on during the practice on a particular day. Then the practice usually ends with a variation of seated leg exercises and Finishing Sequence based on Shoulder Stand.
The Dimensional Practice template is as follows:
- Brief Warm-up
- Basic Exercises of the Seven Dimensions
- Expansion Exercises of one particular dimension
- Seated Leg Exercises
- Finishing Sequence
Theoretically we can structure a seven day practice by focusing on one Dimension per day. Practically, an individual will have some Dimensions that need more work than others. For example, yoga students usually have 3 Dimensions that need more attention therefore only the expansion exercises of these dimensions are practiced in a given day. So, in this scenario, in a 3 day period the focus of the 3 Dimensions are practiced. Then, the cycle will repeat itself every 3 days. But every individual may require a variation of this strategy based of the characteristics of the body, amount of time available, and how much effort the student is willing to give.