The Ritual of Vinyasa
By Kino MacGregor
The origins of the Vinyasa system can be traced all the way to ancient Vedic rituals that used choreographed movements to consecrate sacred space. By designating the appropriate breaths, movement and gazing point for each posture the Ashtanga Yoga practice sanctifies the body itself as a temple for the direct experience of divinity. It is not enough to do the postures themselves but the way you enter and exit each yoga posture determines the deeper intention of your personal practice. The practice of Ashtanga Yoga is a ritual designed to erect a temple within the inner space of your own body and on this holy site you experience the magic of personal transformation.
Rather than washing away the sins of the past the oblation of the Ashtanga Yoga postures is meant to burn away past samskaras. These negative samskaras are so powerful that they wrap their tentacles around you like rope and mesh that tightens when you try to fight it and break free. The more passionate you are the tighter the ropes become and you feel yourself suffocating under their immense power. Like a constrictor snake when you fight the samskaras they go in for the kill and grip your future with death and darkness. The more you struggle the harder it becomes to ever get out. Fear, anxiety and anger only make it worse. Herein lies the magic of the vinyasa method because through these technique you learn how to surrender, to let go, look away and find a source of light and wisdom to be your guide.
The benefit of spiritual teaching is not always evident in the moment. In fact sometimes you learn things that seem to make no sense or are sometimes more whimsical than real. Until the moment you find yourself tied in the karmic knots of the past some spiritual teachings do not make any sense at all. But if you had the benefit of directly experiencing a powerful yogic teaching when you apply the lessons learned in your personal practice a simple teaching can feel like a magic spell to set you free from the binds of negative samskaras in your life. This is the blessing of finding the true light of an authentic spiritual lineage. Knowledge and wisdom are so powerful that they can free you from lifetimes of suffering like pure magic. Just like the brightness of the sun is augmented by a mirror, the spiritual teaching is magnified by the power and precision of your presence in daily practice.
The Vinyasa method seeks to ritualize your behavior and thereby give you a greater chance at recalling spiritual teachings in moments of great turmoil. When you look into the light and ask for guidance in the spiritual path the answer will certainly come. Your work in that moment is to wait until the answer arrives, even if it takes years or potentially lifetimes. One day it will come and when it does it will feel like grace, magic and freedom. Take time to study and learn the method correctly because the teachings are like secret spells that can break you free from the bondage of the past. You never know when a certain teaching will present itself and make its use apparent. You need to remember everything possible and store it all on the hard-drive of your mind, consciousness and heart. Let its teaching be etched so deeply into your being that it erases some old files completely.
When you look into the light of spiritual awareness your vision changes, your paradigm of life alters and your path forever skews in a more peaceful direction. When you gaze back at the net of samskaras that ensnares you the power of your vision is like a laser beam that cuts through the ropes of pain and suffering. You win your own freedom with the light of wisdom as it cuts through the bondage of suffering and releases you into your own freedom.
Kino addresses the Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series is full detail in her new book, set to be released next year, The Power of Ashtanga Yoga