From ancient times to Vedic age and till the modern age, Indian culture believes Shiva and Shakti are two counter-qualities originating from the same source. They represent the dualistic principle contained in the matter of the World. As far as everything in the World, beginning with «primitive» organic forms to the most «exquisite» organized forms, is inter-connected, so “Ha” and “Tha” qualities cover every-thing existing in this World.
“Ha” quality corresponds to light, sun, activity, absence of inertia, maleness etc., whereas “Tha” quality corresponds to dark, moon, passivity, inertia, femaleness, etc. It is absolutely obvious that a detailed analysis of all the material and energy manifestations in the world extends to infinity.
From the very beginning, it is necessary to understand that Shiva and Shakti are two different qualitative energy.
Human body, physical organs and senses are controlled instruments and with respect to the Power of Will, they possess “Tha” qualities. It may be conscious or unconscious, and respectively pertain to consciousness.
Any practice designed to overcome personal weaknesses require effort, expression of will and the Ha quality of the Power of the Spirit, whereas any practice related to the relaxation of the body, senses, and the mind imply “Tha” quality of the Power of the Spirit.
Therefore, it is necessary to realize what is happening with the controlled instruments during training and what the state of the Spirit is. With this understanding one should strive to reconcile the state of the Spirit with the qualities required to perform particular exercises.
Asanas, Pranayamas, Pratyahara or Dharana — regardless of whether while practicing them one strains or stretches the muscles, whether the breath is deep or relaxed, or whether the rays of attention are distracted from the object or are fixed on it and withdrawal of the senses — all require will-based control, concentration and “Ha” of Spirit.
Shiva-style training means ultimate capacity in all practices and concentration of the mind. This is an enhancing practice for new qualities in all subordinate bodies under the control of the will. Compression and concentration of the “Fire” in the ultimate limiting point reaches a critical higher level, which is followed by an essence-transforming explosion. In this style the active male energies of self-assurance and worship of the Personal Power dominate.
In the first three sutras of Sage Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras it is said:
Atha yogah anushasanam.
Yogah chitta vritti nirodha.
Tadha drashta swaroope awasthanam.
These three sutras convey the concept of the external mind and the internal mind. The first sutra says, ‘the disciplines of yoga’. This leads to the second sutra, ’Quieting the dissipated mental behavior, which is the external face of the mind. Once this quieting of the external behavior, the dissipation and agitations have been brought to a minimum, then the peaceful state of mind makes one look inward. That is the third sutra, ’Then the observer realizes his true nature’.
According to these sutras, true nature is looking inwards and false nature is looking outwards. The false nature connects one with maya (illusion) and the true nature connects one with atma (consciousness).
When you are in maya (illusion), you are involved, you are the enjoyer and the doer, the bhokta(receiver) and the karta(doer). Karta is the performer or the doer and bhokta is the enjoyer. Coming out of the identification of karta and bhokta, which relates you with maya, makes you observe your essential, spiritual nature and that is drashta an observer.
You may be aware but you are not the observer. You may be awake, active and interactive, in the world but you are not observing. Yoga uses a specific word ‘drashta’ to indicate a condition of mind which is observing itself.
The mind is dissipated, distracted, running in all directions. When you sit down for meditation you begin to think, ‘I need to control my mind, I need to become still, I need to become focused’, and you make the effort. What is happening there? It is the mind which is distracted, dissipated, disturbed and it is the same mind which thinks, ‘I want to become stable, quiet and peaceful’.
These are the two faces of the mind. For the sake of easy understanding let us consider that the mind has two faces, the external and the internal face. Just imagine two faces back to back; one is looking this way and the other is looking that way. When you are awake, you are identifying with the face of the mind which is in the front looking ahead, but when you are sleeping, your awareness or the identification of the mind is with the mind which is looking inward, so you are not aware of the outside.
It is inaccurate to say that there are two faces of the mind, but for the sake of talk, discussion and understanding. In normal life we are in the front face but in meditation we block out the front through pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses from its objects), and we direct our gaze inwards into the other side. We start looking inwards and the moment we begin to look inwards, there is this awareness that ‘I’m looking in’. That is the state of drashta or observer.
Shiva Yoga, on the other hand, deals with the personality aspects, with recognition and acceptance of the self, but is more than that. Shiva Yoga evolves all of a person’s potential, the physical, vital, mental, emotional, psychic and spiritual qualities. In this style of yoga practice one gets in touch with all levels of the mind. One becomes familiar with the sense of awareness, witnesses one’s awareness and evolves the drashta attitude of the mind. Being the witness of one’s awareness, the drashta, and the attitude of non-identification leads to a higher mental and spiritual process.
In the process of life, you are all the time identified with your mind, your thoughts, your emotions, your ego. You are trying to understand ‘the movie of your life’ by being involved in it. You remain stuck to your ego; even though your ego is psychoanalyzed and purified, in a way, you are still that ego. This identification does not lead you to inner freedom, cannot give you the delight of simple joy.
As soon as you realize this ‘game’ of the mind, which is a false attitude of protection, you understand one aspect of your emotional personality. However, even after this understanding and acceptance, you still identify with this aspect of your being. It is yourself. Anger is still you. On this path, you are the body, you are the anger, and you are your ‘angry’ mind and heart. To be aware of it is really important, but it is not liberating!
Shiva Yoga moves further. You are not the body, you are not the mind; you try not to identify with the doer, the performer. You have to learn to be a spectator of the movie of your life, thoughts and behavior. From the yogic aspect, through practices such as antar mouna (Inner Silence) you can understand the type and source of your anger, but you are learning to recognize yourself as an observer, a witness, detached from anger.
In Shiva yoga, the drashta attitude is the first step towards connecting with joy, freedom and light for it propels you out of your ego! Developing the drashta. you focus on yourself with an attitude of non-attachment, you stop being the center of your thoughts and observe yourself by keeping a distance. You are like a good loving friend to your mind, a friend who is always there but does not intervene.
To be an observer and at the same time able to control the mind in the way you want can be a path to the freedom of all the bondages. The drashta attitude is part of the mechanics of Shiva Yoga to transform in different dimensions.
The real longevity is given by the quality of mental experiences. For us as ordinary human beings the experience of life takes a form of a slice of time. Every now and then we have a slice of conscious experience, a very brief time of which usually we don’t retain anything. It is not so for a Drashta. The slices of time are united, a continuous flow of awareness is present and retained in the memory. This state doesn’t last for 24 hours continuously. It varies, perhaps our genetic structure doesn’t allow us to have this experience as a dominant feature of mind, but no doubt there are people having this ability. Some people having this extraordinary ability can hold longer perhaps for hours, even during sleep in certain conditions the Yoga awareness can be held. In conclusion, it can be said that longevity in Yoga is a matter of quality of experience. If we compare the intensity of life experiences between an ordinary person and a Drashta for a certain numbers of years, it can be said that a Drashta has lived the equivalent of hundreds of years because of the ability to have a higher level of awareness. This perspective is outstanding, the many spiritual paths somehow or another talk about awareness as a soteriological and eschatological issue. In other words salvation is a matter of awareness.
There are three level of yoga practices in Shiva yoga.
Level-1(Duration 90 mins) Level-2 (Duration- 2Hours) Level-3 (Duration-3 hours)
In Shiva yoga the practice of basic ethical guidelines and moral conducts to pacify the modifications of Chitta of the practitioners, Selected Niyama (discipline of mind and body) practices will help to train and guide the practitioner’s mind and body to prepare the practitioner for other practices. The unique blend of Asana, Pranayama, Bandha, Mudras etc. practices in this session will purify and strengthen the body and mind. These practices surely awakens the energies and redirect them in to the body. The practice of pranayama brings the peace and joy along with develop the concentration. All these practices allow your feelings and your reactions out, while at the same time witnessing and observing them. In a second stage you witness them before they come out. Finally, you can transform the pattern of your mind which is working on many levels in the third level of Shiva Yoga classes. While practicing all classes of Shiva yoga, the Practitioners become a drashta (Observer or witness of himself) during the whole session. The in-depth practice of Dharana (concentration) leads to the meditative state in Advance classes of Shiva yoga.