As a part of the 100 days of learning under the Age of Wonderland program, day 96th was conducted in Eindhoven during the World Design Event. The first workshop was initially conducted in India. To read about it please refer here.
It was an interesting experience for me to conduct this workshop first in India and then in Europe where not only the the age group but also the mindset and approach of the participants towards the subject was very different . In the first one, I had young buddhist nuns as my participants and here there was a group of 20 adults, who had more questions and doubts than the former ones. The young nuns had more discipline and playfulness to experiment and experience for what was being shared and the adults had more of skepticism and questions in the beginning. But they all came with an open mind and open heart to experience a different experience and i’ll always be grateful for that.
This workshop that went on for over 3 hours (scheduled to be for 90 minutes), allowed participants to get familiar and in-tune with the topic and be child like to explore their mind-breath-body. They began to explore inner dimensions within themselves starting with their own breath.
Initially, when I came to Eindhoven, I observed that almost everyone was eager to jump and put labels and compartmentalize experiences or hang on to the words like ‘ breathing techniques’, ‘breath coach’ or ‘how to breathe’. And funny enough that no where in my description, i had used these terms. So the topic itself was being perceived in a different way than what it was intended to be. And that’s largely due to the way the word ‘yoga’ is being looked at nowadays in the entire world. People have made a gymnasium out of it. The word ‘yoga’ itself means ‘Union’. It sounds very lame to me even if it has become so common for anyone to say “I do yoga every morning” or am a “yoga teacher”. It’s not a profession but a way of life. And no one can teach it to anyone. It’s about pointing in the direction that allows one to know oneself at all levels. So for me it was more important in the workshop to get the context right, first.
Yes the intention and aim of the workshop was to create Breath Awareness! But the key word here is Awarenesss; it’s not so much about a technique but more about a system.
The idea is to notice the difference between
Awareness — Unawareness
Conscious — Unconscious
Focus — Dissipation
Choice — Compulsion
Voluntary — Involuntary
Detachment — Attachment
Silence — Noise
The key is to slow down in life; so you can enjoy more of whatever you have chosen to do with your life. And not to rush through it compulsively.
Breath is one of the basic and fundamental unit in a human mechanism in order to train’s one’s mind. Most of the times one sees body, breath and mind as separate units and thereby they do different things for each of them.
But it needs to be seen as one unit and that which we call “I” is beyond all of them and this “I” it is not the ego. And to experience this “I” which is beyond mind-breath-body is where ‘yoga’ starts not before that! Everything else is preparation!
Most of the present audience had not seen this perspective before and am so grateful and thankful that they played along with me and shared their insights and glimpses they occasionally had of what is shown as ‘i’ here! So they acknowledged they had experienced this dimension at some points in their life but mostly unknowingly and unconsciously.
So here all we were doing is sharing a system to reach there consciously; a system that has been established by the sages of Himalayas who themselves have trodden the path and left the trail for us.
And breath is one of the more tangible aspects to get hold onto to and train this mind-body complex and get more productive in one’s day to day life.
We worked on how to train the body, before one trains the breath in order to slow down the mind. So through this workshop we were able to create an awareness about the most important function happening in the human mechanism — Breathing! and realizing that it is not an involuntary, unconscious process. It’s very much a conscious process. And once one becomes aware of it, one gets in charge of their own thought process, emotions and decisions. And as one gets in charge of one’s own life; one can design it the way one needs it.
But there’s a map and a system to transition from unconscious to conscious (in the diagram from left — right). And that’s what participants received gracefully in this workshop through the presence of the teachings of Himalayan Masters.
I end this article here by sharing the short film we made in India with the young nuns; this simple and profound practice will widen the perception and perspective of one’s own life.
Originally posted on Medium.