Working in tandem


With yoga, you can make the mind work in harmony with the body

A couple of years ago, I conducted an 11-day workshop for the Symbiosis Institute of Management. On the first day, the participants were enthusiastic and alert. It was scheduled from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The next 10 days were two-hour sessions scheduled at 6 in the morning. I soon realized the focus needed to be on relaxation. Shavasana accompanied with kriyas (movements co-ordinates with breath) for letting go of tension was much needed. The students had pushed themselves because of examination and assignment pressures. Many complained of backache, restlessness and fatigue. Some were very sick. The mind had made the body to overstretch itself. This indicated that the mind was dominating over the body instead of working in harmony with it.

When two entities or organisms work or live together, then the relationship is symbiotic. There are different symbiotic relationships depending on whether the relationship benefits one or both the associates. Survival of the fittest is the rule of the jungle. In today’s age, it is survival of the smartest people. Many believe if they outsmart others, they can survive. They cause suffering to others to feed their needs and desires. In biological terms, this kind of symbiosis is called parasitism. So if you find such people, you have all the right to move or push them away. Or if you feel you are doing the same thing, remember it can become an addiction.

Synchronization of energy when directed towards a common, positive goal is beneficial to both. The strengths of two or more members can be used to propel the evolution of all involved. In the yogic system, the gurukula is such a set-up where the student and the teacher are benefited. If this is kept in mind, then disharmony arising from competition can be avoided. This does not mean there is harmony always. The teacher or co-students may mirror the student, which he/she may resent. This is in fact to show the student his own parasitic pattern or his indulgence of a parasite so that he may change.

Biologist Lynn Margulis says symbiosis is a major driving force behind evolution. She considers Darwin’s notion of evolution, driven by competition, as incomplete, and claims evolution is strongly based on co-operation, interaction, and mutual dependence among organisms.

According to Margulis and Sagan (1986), “Life did not take over the globe by combat, but by networking.” As in humans, organisms that cooperate with others of their own or different species often outdo those that don’t.

Win-win situation
Thus one has to move consciously to a state of mutually beneficial associations. This is true yoga or yuj or union. It is a win-win situation. This kind of symbiosis is called mutualism in biology.

Yoga is an excellent methodology to train the mind to work in harmony with the body. Not force the body into contortions. This internal synergy will reflect itself as an external harmony. We automatically enlist others to combine their resources rather than force them. Thus we co-create harmonious environments.

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