8. Surya-Namaskar (Energy is needed for development)


September. 1986, Ukraine, Kharkov, Skrypnyk street, Culture Center


“Best of all you teach what you yourself need to learn”.

(from the books of Richard Bach)


I stood on the stage. My group was in the room. My first group — 40 people.

– Good day. Stand up. Warm up. Reach up. Jump. Inhale. Exhale. Started. Hands in Namaste. Rhythmic breathing. 8 to 8. 8 – inhale. 8 – exhale. Palms together, hands up, inhale. Delay on inhalation. Stretching up. We pull up each vertebra. Now we begin to lean forward with simultaneous exhalation. Tilt forward, Padahastasana.

I have been teaching yoga for several months now. Yoga was not openly taught in Ukraine in 1986. It was taught SECRETLY. Very few people knew about yoga then. But people had an interest. My group was growing rapidly. But it was in this lesson that I realized that my students could not at all gain energy. They just simply repeated exercises after me. Energy did not go through them. And I began to develop this topic.

– You can avoid pain with any deflection, stretching or twisting. Or you can consciously get to pain. Where there is pain, there is no movement of energy. It is written in all ancient Chinese books on acupuncture. Where there is pain, there is stagnation of energy. (In some diagnoses, of course.)

A student must find his pain. You need to make your pain in Asana thin, weak, barely noticeable. And wait, like a fisherman is waiting for a fish. Energy comes to a place of pain. Pain is a bait for energy. Thin, light pain is the sweetest bait.

First: find the painful area by stretching or twisting. Second: by finding your position in Asana, make the pain thin. Third: wait and balance on the border of the thinnest pain. Fourth: to realize the arrival of energy. Fifth: to realize the cessation of energy inflow. Sixth: exit the asana correctly.

It is the search for pain in the static Asana that distinguishes our school from other schools. This is the first difference. Further differences will be shown later.

I probably spoke Chinese. The group did not understand my lecture. I clearly lacked some teaching skills. For example, in one lesson, to transfer my knowledge and skills accumulated over many years. But I tried.

As yoga consists of 8 steps, so any pose (asana) can be divided into many parts. Each part of the asana gives you a little bit of energy. But only if you do each part correctly.

– Can you be more specific? – asked Misha Galin, my old friend, and now a first-year student. – Maybe we can break down some asana into parts?

It was clearly a hint that I needed so much. And who, if not my friend, could help me? And I took the hint. After all, my students are my teachers. And I have to accept it. “Acceptance” is generally a very important thing.

– OK, let’s start with reaching up. You have already mastered the first fragment: from Namaste, stretch your arms upwards. At the same time we inhale. The second fragment: try to reach up, like a tree to the sun. In this movement, you need to stretch the spine as much as possible. And in this stretched position, hold your breath while inhaling.

After that, lean down. Exhale. Hold your breath as you exhale. And stretch down as much as you can. While holding breath.

Then we return to the vertical position. Hands in Namaste. Inhale, exhale. And we repeat this very short sequence many times. Look for the moment when energy comes.

When we do yoga exercises correctly, the energy in the body increases. We feel younger. The body becomes lightweight. We feel a surge of Forces and Health. This is a criterion. The first course of the School of Yoga is aimed at strengthening the energy in the body of the student. This is achieved with the help of four techniques: Movement, Breathing, Meditation and Relaxation. Movement in yoga is a smooth flow from one pose to another pose. The pose in yoga is called “Asana”. Asana is also a position of the body in Space. The smooth flow from asana to asana causes stagnant energy to flow through the body. This achieves a balance of energies.

Energy flows through special energy channels, if muscles are properly stretched and compressed. Proper stretching can not be the same for all. It depends on the characteristics of a body. This should be taken into consideration during classes in each group. When a Student, while practicing yoga, causes the energy to flow through the body correctly, energy in his body increases. The inflow of energy changes your state. This is manifested in sensations. It is like washing, like mountain air, like massage. The inflow of energy in the body goes like a thin, weak stream. When there are many streams (one from each asana), they merge into a river. And the river flows into a sea, or into an energy storage, or into a chakra. The very feeling of moving energy changes you.

Your discovery of the energy flow in your body transforms you. Any flow of energy changes you! Everything happens slowly and gradually.

Initially, the energy cleans the body, starting from the place where it is the dirtiest. Then it strengthens the channel. As the muscles get stronger from training, so the channel is strengthened by the regular passage of energy through it. First we talk about cleansing with asana’s energy. When an organism is getting cleaner, its energy brightens up.

Let’s call this process Lightening. When Lightening attains a certain quality, comes epiphany, the understanding of the world around you changes. A complete change in individual’s life position. This stage we will call Enlightenment.

So it was every time. At each lesson. It was very difficult for me to teach. Often it seemed to me that I wasn’t teaching. It seemed to me that I was being taught. Or maybe that was the case.

On my way home, I began to recall how I felt energy for the first time.

This happened in the pose of Cobra (Bhujangasana) and on the holding of breath (Kumbhaka). By that time, I had been studying by books for about two years… I started to get acquainted with yoga in 1978… It means that I first felt the energy somewhere in 1980. I practiced the Cobra position… And after doing 10-15 cobras, I felt the movement of energy along my spine… I didn’t understand yet that this was the movement of energy… Then I caught a slightly different feeling after Kumbhaka… This feeling came at the very end of the breath holding, when there was not enough air at all and I really wanted to exhale. Then I practiced Kumbhaka with a stopwatch. I wanted to learn not to breathe for 90 seconds. But my maximum result was 65 seconds. This result was rarely repeated. I held 60 seconds, but the last 5 seconds were hard for me. Once I forgot to turn on the stopwatch and entered the meditation right on the breath hold. I did not plan to meditate. It all happened by itself. It seemed to me that I was in the sea, that I was swimming under water and had to emerge somewhere very far away… When I exhaled, it seemed to me that my aura was full of energy (Prana).

Then I thought of connecting the Cobra pose with breath holding while inhaling. In this little practice, I discovered several “keys”. All these “keys” have been described in all books. Only no one wrote that these “keys” (details of doing the exercises) are mandatory in the practice of obtaining energy in Asanas. My little “discoveries” were extremely simple:

  • at the maximum deflection in Cobra it is necessary to take the maximum inhale;
  • the maximum inhale you need to hold the maximum possible time;
  • before such a practice, you need to do warm up and stretching;
  • in Cobra, one should “let go” the body and relax;
  • if you do it often and regularly, the body itself finds the details for a better state;
  • improved well-being after performing a yoga complex is the main criterion of energy inflow.

But Teacher never considered yoga in this aspect… We all taught according to his curriculum. Maybe each of us had to find all these “keys” on our own? Or maybe I missed something at the lectures? But even before my meeting with Teacher, I had achieved a feeling of energy in almost all Asanas which I practiced… How did this happen? I always started my “book-based” training with a light warm-up and stretching… Then there was a complex of “Sun worshiping” or Surya namaskar… Then I worked out every exercise in Surya individually. “Worked out” is an exaggeration. I conducted a separate short warm-up just for this exercise. Then I performed and repeated only one exercise from “Surya” 7-12 times. Then I performed “Surya” out of 12 exercises with breath holdings on inhale or exhale.

In 1984 I started studying at G.G.S. school and at the first lesson I heard the term “pumped energy”. I tirelessly tried to master this technique. By the term “pumped energy” Teacher understood the development of imagination. That is, it was necessary to imagine how a certain energy flows through space to the person who performs the command “pumped energy”. Our entire class of 400 students imagined a flow of energy of a bluish-steel color. Then for some reason I did not realize that my approach to the practice was completely different. I got the result of the “arrival” of energy as a result of doing Asana and Pranayama. Not as a result of the development of my imagination, but as a result of doing the 3rd and 4th steps of yoga. (The 3rd step of the Eight-step yoga is Asana. The 4th step of the Eight-step yoga is Pranayama). I suddenly understood this difference in the approach to understanding energy. This “reached” me only in 1986, when I myself began to teach yoga. And I didn’t like this “hunch” at all. This meant that I did not follow Master. This meant that I receive energy from yoga in another way. And my way of getting energy is not the way recommended by our Guru. Maybe this is the reason for my lagging behind in “putting on the Path”, “astral exit” to the Spiritual Parent and the rest of the Ancestral Line?

I taught my students according to the Teacher’s program… “Pumped energy”… But my students did not feel energy… And today I understood it. And then? And then I began to give out to my students the “keys” of my personal work. And that’s the result of obtaining energy from yoga exercises, and not from the order “pumped energy”… Did I do the right thing? Do I need to tell my students my personal experience in the practice of yoga? Am I allowed to do it?

But after all the details of the implementation of yoga exercises are described in many books. There is simply no connection between the “technique of execution” and the “result of receiving energy”…

I had a lot of questions…

I waited for the arrival of Teacher in September…

A few weeks have passed…


Leonid Belenitsky Books
Translation from Russian into English: AD Consulting LLC.