And the Sun Can Be Made to Rise
"Like the Sun, Prana is the fuel for life ~ everything in our world is nothing less than concentrated sunlight.
All life is sustained by the Sun. Prana, like the sun, is always shining. Even when we don't perceive it, Prana and the Sun radiate continuously." ~ Yogarupa Rod Stryker
Surya, or the Sun, is the third stage of practice. The focus of this stage is centered around Prana, vital life force, and your relationship to it. It has two orientations: one, the dawning of higher awareness and two, expansion. The dawning of higher awareness refers to developing a sensitivity within your body and mind to prana. Through a strategic approach to practice your self-perception has the opportunity to evolve from identifying yourself as merely matter (a physical body) to experiencing yourself as a vessel of life force. Expansion refers to intensifying and concentrating your Prana to move purposefully to the final stage or practice ~ Fire...
Why does the Tradition ask us to invest so much time and attention to expanding Prana? Because Prana is power. The more energy you can cultivate and contain, the more you can use it to propel yourself on your yogic path. This focus on deepening your connection life force begins to awaken you to a world that is normally unseen. You become capable of seeing and experiencing the invisible. When I ask you to pause after a progression of asanas and "notice what you notice," to "observe energy moving in the body," to "see, sense, feel light, vibration or presence," this is my invitation to you to begin sensing the subtle body. If you are distracted, muddled, dense or unclear physically or mentally, these subtler elements to the practice will continue to elude you. If you find this is the case for you, let me know. We'll explore some possible solutions. This brings me to the next, very important point...
Prior to the Sun stage of practice, it is vital that you have steadied your Moon - your mind. The Tradition teaches, based on thousands of years of field testing, that your mind be both stable and calm before introducing the Sun - and that you have made progress bringing light to your darkness, or shadow. All of us come to yoga with baggage - unresolved "issues," most teachers included. To put it more technically, we'll refer to these issues as mental and emotional pathologies. If you have not resolved these pathologies, at least to some degree, prior to significantly increasing “the sun” (adding more power to your system), you will become more powerfully pathological. Yikes.
Stage Two of Hatha Yoga Practice
And the Sun can be made to rise…
Sun practice is about energy management and developing a deeper relationship to Prana, the energy that sustains us and all of life. A more dynamic practice than Moon, the Sol path rides the line between cultivating the power we need to excel and the sensitivity we need to touch the subtler plans of reality. In addition to Asanas that open the chest and upper body, and an emphasis on develoing the inhalation, here we see the introduction of the deeper Tantric practices such as Bandhas, Mudras and Mantra to increase the voltage and radiance within this vessel, the body. A steady and calm mind is an absolute necessity on the Solar path. Always take the Moon with you.
Methodology To enliven and sensitize
Backbends, Laterals, Surya Namaskars &Vinyasa Krama
Focus on developing the Inhalation
Introduction to Kumbhaka (breath retention)
Introduction to Bandhas, Mudras & Mantra
Bhav (the mood we bring to practice)
The world is an ocean of energy of which I am a part.
I need power in order to excel, however power without mental stability is dangerous.
I am a vessel of energy, yet this vessel leaks. Therefore, I need to manage my energy and learn how to build and contain it, humbly and safely.
Sun Practices are ideal if…
You are feeling stagnant, unmotivated or uninspired
You are feeling sad or depressed
You are looking to feel more positive about life
You have poor circulation
You have low immunity
You are ready to start working more on the energetic (subtle body) level
You’re already mentally grounded, stable and calm
***These teachings are informed by Yogarupa Rod Stryker, Parayoga and the Himalayan Tradition