Affirmations are exquisite, priceless jewels of Ananda Yoga. They adorn the asanas and the practitioner with grace, blessings and priceless wisdom. The affirmations uplift consciousness to a level, inaccessible by a sheer physical practice of aligning bones, muscles and movement.
The purpose of yoga is spiritual, sage Patanjali emphasised this in the Yoga Sutras. Affirmations are in several ways, the fastest route to experience asanas beyond the body, awaken soul qualities and concentrate the mind deeply at the moment with positive attitudes. In some ways, these asana affirmations are like mini mantras for our times. Mantras are healing and attract almost an instant blessing when chanted with faith and a doorway to higher realms.
Swami Kriyananda was in a very high state when these affirmations came to him. He tuned into the spiritual quality of the asana and paired each asana with an affirmation. Every word, with divinely arranged beauty and harmony, like jewels in a necklace, echo the spiritual qualities one can experience in the asana. When practised correctly (here I mean with a receptive attitude), they transport you to the ‘portable paradise’ within. The restless mind and weary body are healed during sadhana and recharged with an experience of blissful joy, Ananda.
Before I came to Ananda, I learnt and practised yoga from a few other traditions. The practise emphasised alignment and sequences for physical and psychological benefits, but almost to a point of exhaustion. On some days my mind wandered a lot, leaving me scattered and tired. I was looking for something more. It was during Ananda Yoga classes with late Nayaswami Tushti, that I first experienced the power of affirmations. To this day, I can hear her gentle, gracious voice when I practise some of the asanas as if she were inviting me to go deeper within, from a distant world.
It is quite magical how in Vrikasana, you can transform from a bush banging around in the wind of life and living, to a tree, rooted and firm, experiencing deep stillness and calm of body, mind and soul as you affirm – “I am calm, I am poised.” It is almost an instant blessing you attract when you are receptive. You don’t just affirm, you become. Every, bone muscle and sinew in you vibrate with feeling, devotion and surrender.
Another of my favourites is the Garudasana (Eagle Pose) affirmation – At the centre of life’s storms, I stand serene. Amid a chaotic day, I have felt comforted with this affirmation, almost as if I were swept in from the peripheries to the centre of my being; a place where no one and nothing can break my peace. From someone almost swirling in the storm, I go within and see what is trying to happen, with calmness and perspective of emotional detachment.
I invite you to adorn these priceless gems, make them your own, on the mat and beyond. Let the essence of asana, the light of soulful qualities they espouse and the uplifting attitudes of the mind, deepen your connection with the divine in fulfilling and joy-filled ways.