Sunday, June 13, 2010

Ananda and Nanda!!! BLISS

I spent a few days thinking about “the universe being a big ball of pulsating bliss”. As I contemplated this statement from John Friend I really focused on the pulsation (spanda) and the dance of Shiva and Shakti energy (see earlier post). I then shifted my focus to the later part of Johns explanation of this newly named Anusara Shiva-Shakti Tantra… “bliss”. Ananda is Sanskrit for supreme bliss.

Nanda (without the a) means happy. Nanda is connected to the emotion of being happy, which is a happiness that we seek from the physical world, outside of our self. Once we find some physical thing that makes us feel happy we cling onto it in fear that we will lose our happiness. However whenever we find happiness outside of ourselves, it will eventually change or go away and this leads to unhappiness, sadness and/or anger. This happiness we seek outside of our self, nanda, is only temporary and will always go away. “The only thing constant is change”.

For example it’s like an ice cream cone. I think yummm.. a mint chocolate-chip ice cream cone sounds soooo good. I then I get one. I lick it and think sooo good, I feel so happy, but if I cling to this happiness that the ice cream cone brings eventually: when I eat it all, it melts, or it falls to the ground I will be unhappy. Then what do I do? Do I start the cycle over and just constantly buy and eat ice cream cones trying to stay happy? No I need to find a happiness that doesn’t come from something outside of myself. Ananda (with the a) means beyond happy, supreme bliss, unending joy. This happiness comes from a connection to our heart, from inside of our self.

In yoga philosophy we talk about different layers or koshas of our self. I like to think of these layers like layers of an onion. Starting with our physical body (annamaya kosha, like the core of the onion), then expanding away from the physical body with the breath/ life force body (pranamaya kosha). Then there is the mental body (the manomaya kosha), the wisdom body (vijanamaya kosha), and lastly the bliss body (anandamaya kosha).

I really like the anandamaya kosha. This is a layer of our self that is full of bliss! This part of our self is unaffected by the outer world, the senses, and the emotions. It is untouched by all of these and it is always blissful. This part of our self doesn’t need anything to be blissful; it just is it always is!!

Lately in my personal asana practice, and when I teach class I have been focusing on this ananda and nanda forms of happiness. The longer you practice yoga, especially when you are practicing with good alignment it is easy to get good at “advanced” poses. Once you start doing these poses you can connect to this happiness about the physical aspect of the pose. This is nanda, the happiness that we cling to in the external world. As you are performing your asanas and you feel happiness ask, which happiness is it? nanda, based on the external world? Or is it ananda, based on our inner state of bliss?

No matter what our level is, or what poses we are performing can we use the physical practice of yoga as a way to connect to that layer of our self (anandamaya kosha) that is steady and ever blissful no matter what our outer shape looks like. Yoga is great because it provides an opportunity for us to really connect to our self and our essence and at our core we can connect to this always present always blissful energy.

I love this idea. Of this bliss full layer that is completely apart of who we are. Whenever I find myself getting upset or sad I pause and I remind myself of the anandamaya kosha, normally when I remind myself of this I don’t instantly feel this bliss body, but I totally believe and know it is there. And that is great!

We can remember this every time we chant the Anusara invocation. Sat-chit-ananda

Picture resources:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Intention and Testimonials

Testimonials & My Intention

My Intention It is my intention as a yoga teacher to help you bring more health and vibrancy to your body, ease and alertness to your mind...