Yoga in the Kashmir Tradition
with Billy Doylestillness


Listening: The Energy Body
This approach is based on the traditional art of listening. We don't really know the real body. Through accumulated tensions and living in the head, in a world of concepts and ideas, the body too has become an idea, rather than something living, something felt.
The subtle energy of the body is paralysed in neuro-muscular tensions. Only in listening without anticipation or choice can this original energy feeling begin to manifest.
In this listening, and allowing the body sensation to unfold, we are no longer an accomplice to reactions. First we will feel this energy in particular parts of the body, later we come to the whole body as one mass of sensation, the global sensation.
It is the energy feeling that is the real healing factor in the body. Instead of the old pattern of heaviness, resistance and density we discover a body that feels light, transparent and expanded in space. We feel ourselves without centre, without border, one with space.
This feeling of openness, of expansion frees us from our ego-centred world and leaves us open to deeper dimensions. Otherwise the body is largely a defence mechanism to maintain our ego. If we approach the postures without first awakening the energy body we merely reinforce the old patterns; our practice is meaningless.

The Postures
When we do a yoga asana we live from moment to moment in the sensation, we are one with the feeling, there is no intention or goal which could only come from the mind, the ego. The posture is allowed to unfold organically, it doesn't involve dominating the body or violence, as too often is the case.
The muscles, the whole structure works in an entirely different way. There is a total integration. There is no repetition. Each time we do the posture, it is fresh, it is now.
Often we will do the posture only on the energy level, without moving the physical body; this helps to free ourselves further from the patterns and restrictions.
Each posture stimulates particular parts of the body but the real effect, the re-orchestration of energy occurs after the posture, in our stillness.

When the posture is really understood it becomes meditation. Here we no longer emphasize the object, the body, but our awareness, presence. There is a kind of switch-over when the asana has completely unfolded in our awareness and is re-absorbed in stillness. In this meditation, there is no one who meditates and nothing to meditate on. It is not concentration, but choiceless awareness.

In the same way our body has become restricted, so too, through fear and tension our breath is largely reaction. We tend to grasp the inhalation and push the exhalation, a continuous psychic manipulation.
In our practice we learn to "listen" to the breath, feel it in different parts of the body and in the global sensation. We give the breath the opportunity to become spontaneous, as in our infancy.
We use the breath, the prana, in certain yogic techniques to calm the brain and stimulate and direct the body's energy. On a more spiritual level, by emphasizing the space between the breaths and the background of all breathing, we are brought to a forefeeling of our real nature.

Freeing the Senses
An important aspect of the teaching is the deep relaxation of the senses: skin, mouth, nostrils, ears, eyes and brain. Unconsciously the senses are organised in grasping, which means they are contracted and tense.
Through the use of visualization and listening, allowing the sensation to unfold, comes an openness and relaxation. Objects are allowed to come to the senses, and we learn to live more with pure perception, without mind interference. When the senses are really free all the body participates in seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, smelling.

Transposing the Teaching
It is important that the understanding gained through the practice be transposed to all aspects of our life. When we are no longer identified with an image, an object, we are not bound psychologically to a situation, we live in our wholeness, and act from our wholeness. Only then are we really functional.
When we maintain the energy body we feel ourselves open and spacious; fear and tension have no opportunity to take hold. “Only in our absence are we truly present”.