This week’s Jaipur Talk was by Shurjo Jha and Narayani Anaya – members of the Ananda World Brotherhood Communities’ movement. Shurjo and Narayani were in town and gave a wonderful talk at the BAG Library store and shared their experiences from their travels across the world as Yoga teachers and their spiritual journey which started after Shurjo read Paramhansa Yogananda’s book “Autobiography of a Yogi”. Shurjo, a fashion designer from a prestigious design school, left his career to become a Yogi himself. He met his Spanish wife Narayani who was also a devout disciple and was Swami Kriyananda’s personal assistant. Both Shurjo and Narayani have been trained by Swami Kriyananda, a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda.
The talk started with some mind and body stimulating activities/exercises. Shurjo Jha started the talk by pointing out two habits that people have created in their life that don’t allow us to live to our fullest abilities – slow breathing and bad sitting posture (where our spinal code is not straight). He said, Paramahansa Yogananda explained that energy enters our body through the medulla oblongata and it goes down the spine and from the spine it goes out into our various parts of our body. Medulla oblongata is also the first cell that is formed when the sperm and ovum units.
Shurjo dwelled into some other forms of yoga. He said, when the yogis created the hatha yoga to get control of their body they wanted everything to lead to that inner practice. Each posture that they created was to see what attitude, qualities and energies it awaken within self. “So be mindful of your body posture in daily life, say for example when you are standing in a line.”
He explained how important breathing is. “When you breathe you should breathe from your diaphragm. We hold lot of tension and unnecessary pressure around out chest and we block the muscle that is used for breathing. Another important thing about breathe is that it is very closely related to our mental strength. When we are reckless we breathe faster. When we want to concentrate hard on one thing our breathing slows down. While breathing we exhale toxins out from our body.” In Kriya yoga which is a pranayama technique, there is a breathing technique to calm our mind and to interiorise our energy called the Hoangsa technique. Shurjo said that stress is a reactive process and because we are in a habit of stress we react to life. “We should respond to life. Response is conscious and a aware reaction.” Through this yoga technique, we withdraw our energy back into our spinal cord and over a period of time of meditation and performing this yoga we control this energy and we can send it out when it needs to go out or withdraw it inside. Another simple technique to release stress is even counting breathing, where we concentrate on our breathing and count the even numbers while inhaling and exhaling. This will relax the body anytime we feel a little agitated. This will bring us into the responsive mode rather than reactive. This eventually helps us get away from the extremes of emotions. We sort of balance our emotions in every situation. We should be present in the moment. Just be in right now.
Towards the end of the talk Shurjo says that energy is just one. “We don’t need different energy to do different things. It just needs you to channel it. So, stress is just an energy that is blocked up a little and it just needs to be channeled in a particular way that you choose. Find things that inspire you.”