Sahaja Spirit: The Way Nature Moves
“Don’t move the way fear makes you move. Move the way love makes you move. Move the way joy makes you move.” -Osho
Sahaja is the sanskrit term for spontaneity that I have come to understand as the spontaneous flow of consciousness or the way nature moves. My teacher, Shiva Rea, introduced this word to me through the practice of Prana Vinyasa Flow yoga. Sahaja, like yoga, is a state of being that can not be understood through the mind only, but must be experienced in the body and heart.
Under first impressions, it is easy to misunderstand spontaneity for whim, abandon or acting carelessly on any and every impulse. However, after experiencing Sahaja directly, one taps into a deeper current - the spontaneous flow of consciousness moving through them. Similarly to how a river flows freely and spontaneously, yet is guided by the structure of its banks and the rocks in its path, Sahaja moves the way nature moves, guided by universal intelligence.
Horizon lines, rivers, spines, flames, kudzu vines, wind and tendrils of sun-kissed hair - nature moves in creative and diverse pathways. Embodying these meandering pathways through the practice of Sahaja brings us closer to our natural essence. Nature is in continuous motion even beneath the surface of perceived stillness. Moving the way nature moves in time with the biological rhythm of our breath invites us to remember our essential nature and connection to the source of creation within our Selves.
In Prana Vinyasa we experience Sahaja within asanas by tracing the flow of breath through the body with free form movement. For instance, in Sahaja Bhujangasana, as taught by Shiva and the Global Collective of Prana Vinyasa teachers, lying on our bellies, we alternatively roll our shoulders through a figure-eight-like pathway that allows the movement of the breath to reveal itself. The asana comes to life through Sahaja. The moment in Sahaja Bhujangasana that one feels the breath as the source of movement, and is not leading from their head or a mental notion of what they should look like from the outside, is the moment that they have tapped into the creative flow of universal intelligence and embodied Sahaja.
While I discovered Sahaja through Prana Vinyasa yoga, elements of it are present in both GYROTONIC exercises and Emergent Improvisation as well. The circular and spiral movements of the Gyrotonic Method open creative and diverse pathways through the whole body returning the practitioner to a naturally balanced state of being, so that they can move freely with the spontaneous flow of consciousness. Emergent Improvisation moves the way nature moves through the practice of self-organizing improvisational structures that emulate that of a flock of geese or a herd of antelope.
The Sahaja spirit in all movement forms invites us let go, soften and listen to the natural intelligence that spontaneously arises through the practice and in life. This inner connection to the feeling, the bhavana, of Sahaja - freedom, adventure, curiosity, discovery - reveals a sense of co-creation and oneness with the source of movement and life that breathes us all. Sahaja teaches us to trust the currents of consciousness that are guiding our meandering life path as moving the way nature moves. May we embrace the creative processes of our lives.