Akshai Narain was a practising yogi in the Indian Himalayas before crossing the waters to England to teach at our Bamford Wellness Spa in the Cotswolds. His passion is to sync ageless wisdom with our modern day world. Here, he reflects on the eternal connection between the life-giving force of the sun and the restorative practice of yoga.
The possibility of life on earth started with the sun. That is to say, the science of life started with the sun – the myriad ways in which we live our daily lives are all owing to the balance that has been attained in the universe, affording an entire planet of many different species and ecosystems the right conditions needed to thrive in unison. Yet millions of years into human existence, we continue to discover and learn from small ways in which we may apply those scientific principles that have existed since the beginning of time.
The sun witnessed the dawn of yoga many thousands of years ago. Thus yoga, too, starts with the sun. Today, we see the bright noon of yoga lighting up the world as its popularity has spread from its origins in Northern India across the globe. This large-scale enlightenment of how to achieve holistic well-being through yoga has manifested itself in the West as many different schools and styles that each emphasise a different aspect of the same ancestral practice. The sun salutation – considered an all-purpose yoga sequence linking several asanas into one unified flow – usually has twelve steps, representing the twelve months in the solar calendar. We invoke this eternal energy with sun salutations and mantras in our practice, and it is an invocation of that energy – born from the sun – of which human beings are a tiny manifestation.
'As we keep immersing ourselves deeper into the yoga practice, we start understanding the sacred relationship, the connection between the inner and outer world.'
The mythical yogis are said to possess miraculous powers; not at odds with the scientific laws that governs us, but rather as part of the eternal science that we humans strive to comprehend. The understanding of this relationship between yoga and the universe lies in experience, not in idle talk. If we commit to make our body and mind the laboratory, if we commit to make consistent and disciplined yogic practice our scientific experiments, then the existence of life can be understood. We can realise that we embody the life force within us.
It is a journey that begins on the mat. It takes us deep within ourselves. As we pass through the portals of our energetic body, we pause behind the navel at the Manipura Chakra (pictured above). The digestive power we each possess acts as a miniature sun: what we put into our bodies through our food is a sacred offering to that sun. Our thoughts and actions are determined by the quality of energy this miniature sun produces in our bodies. We must ask ourselves: do our actions shine with the brightness of a clear summer day? Or is our life clouded by conflict and confusion?
As we keep immersing ourselves deeper into the yoga practice, we start understanding the sacred relationship, the connection between the inner and outer world. When we start syncing our external interactions with how our body and mind feel on the inside, we experience a luminosity we never thought was possible. Instead of looking up at the sky, awestruck by the power of the sun that heats our planet, we turn to the sun within us. We start emanating a mysterious energy that invites others to look up to us for warmth and inspiration. What others consider a mystery, a secret charm or charisma, yogis call it the science of life.
WORDS: AKSHAI NARAIN
Akshai is a resident yoga teacher and wellness specialist at our Bamford Wellness Spa in the Cotswolds. Whilst our spas and studios are closed at this time, you can practise yoga with him through our online classes or join him as he shares his wisdom on our Virtual Wellness Retreats. Learn more.
Join us for our Summer Solstice Retreat
We invite you to celebrate the longest day of the year with us for a two day virtual event that will guide you on an uplifting journey to celebrate light and life. Enjoy our curated agenda of workshops with our Bamford expert practitioners hosted virtually from the Cotswolds on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st June - with the option to join our retreat for one or two days, our sessions will leave you with a nurtured heart and lighter mind.