Did you know every action you take could be considered yoga if practiced mindfully? Did you know you could obtain the desired state of ‘still mind’ and body fitness simply by cultivating one very important technique, which could then be applied to everything without even ever stepping into a studio? That’s right, wouldn’t you like to know one of the most powerful yogic secrets for increasing your energy and calming your mind without the studio? What is that secret technique? Well, it’s not really a secret, just an overlooked facet of one of the fastest growing fitness crazes in the western world. In Sanskrit it is known as ‘Drashta’, the witness or the observer.
To observe something, in the quantum world, is to change it. In fact, the observer is the main factor in determining the results of any quantum experiment. In yoga, becoming the observer means that you cultivate the part of your awareness that can watch your thoughts and actions at the same time you are engaged in them. It is not a ‘spectator’, side-lines perspective, but an engaged participant who is also aware of every action and mental passage. In order to cultivate the witness attitude you must be able to stop yourself, while in an action or thought, and then continue to do it, continue to think it, while noticing what is happening simultaneously. The witness must be free of judgment and able to observe as a non-partial, interested participant.
When you can ‘observe’ yourself without attachment, meaning desire for a certain outcome, during everything you do and every thought you think something very powerful occurs. A different, previously inactive part of yourself becomes activated. You begin to move with more presence. With more presence comes more energy. You see, when you are doing something, but thinking about something else (which we are all known to do), energy is spread out in the direction of your thoughts and not toward the task at hand. It is almost like part of us is not there. Have you ever felt this way? That you were not completely present?
Becoming the witness frees up so much energy that was otherwise and previously being distributed to past and future ideas, past and future selves. This is an enormous amount of life force energy. This is the simplest secret of yoga which will increase your energy and change your life without ever having to go to the studio. When you bring all of that scattered energy back to this now moment, miraculous things happen. Muscles, that are being worked, for example, receive greater nourishment, attention and therefore develop at a quicker rate. Thoughts that are unnecessary and harmful begin to be quickly weeded out and replaced with helpful ones. Seemingly mundane tasks transform into meaningful expressions and creativity and inspiration seem to flow from an unknown field of possibility.
Becoming the witness sounds very simple, and it is, though it can take some practice to get proficient at. You begin by simply doing it, perhaps after the fact at first. You might catch yourself not doing it, and then make the choice to do it next time. Then you may stop yourself midway through a thought or action to bring the witness in. Finally, you will engage all of your activities with the natural observer, or drashta in place.
Will you become an over-all peaceful and happy person from this?
Let’s just say that your perspective on life will completely change from judging moments as ‘good’ or bad’ to simply beginning to see what is. It becomes totally natural to observe yourself working through intense emotions such as anger or fear and not beating yourself up for it. As the observer, you realize that it is okay and healthy for you to move through what is there, and not stuff it or try to hide it. When in drashta, you are able to ‘hold space’ for yourself, so to speak, and allow what needs to pass through in order to get to the other side. This brings peace and happiness in an unexpected way.
Yoga means ‘union’ and is a state of mind which unites the body, mind and emotions (some would add the spirit as well). In order to be ‘the witness’, you must bring all your faculties into present moment time, your emotions must be in the task at hand, your mind must be there, your body must be there. All parts of the self are engaged in the same modality or thought, you are not washing dishes while thinking about the argument that occurred earlier in the day, emotionally wrung out over the phone call you just hung up with. You are present with the dishes, feeling the water on your hands, noticing the weight of the dish and the smell of the soap. In that moment, there is no one else, only you and the dishes…the weight in your feet against the ground, the sounds in the room. This is what it means to be present.
As the ‘observer’ you notice all of these things and you are feeling and experiencing them. It is like you have two perspectives at once, the one acting in the play, and the writer of the script simultaneously. In this way, the mind is still from its incessant chatter, the emotions are calmed and the body is one pointed in action. As this is practiced in one area of life, it begins to flow into every moment, every interaction, every opportunity that arises. Simple ‘filler’ moments become monumental as you start to see that there are no small things, no small moments, all of life becomes grand.
If you desire increased energy and positive change all around in your life, you need not drive to your nearest gym or even yoga studio, for the secret lies within you. You can practice yoga in every moment of your life. You can chisel your body by paying attention to its every move, with detached awareness, affirming its glory by giving it your full conscious presence. This can and does happen with less effort when living consciously. It is said that age comes from directing life force energy out of the moment; that the body would not age were it filled with authentic presence and luminosity in the now. Luminosity is light, light is awareness, awareness is presence, presence is.
Written by: Stasia Bliss