Asan, the foundation of spiritual practice

I wrote about the Asan in my previous post on the use of leather here. So here is a full fledged post on this very important tool in your Sadhana/spiritual practice. The asan is a 4 layered mat on which sages then and even now sit for doing their spiritual practice. The asan is a highly individual energy tool. Ideally no one other than you should even touch your personal asan. You cannot pass it on, or share with anyone else, or use an asan already used by someone else. Once laid out, this Asan is never to be refolded and stored away. Unless you shift house or something like that.

When you do Dhyan, the vital energies/pran of your body are amplified and re-directed by the act of slow breathing, repeating a mantra in synchrony with the breath and focussing on your ajnya chakra/third eye. When you focus on the third eye, which is the opening of one of the two branches of the sushumna nadi, the energy generated is distributed through out the body and this pran/vital energy starts cleaning out all the big/small nadis of the body. Thus the objective of this 4 layered mat is to insulate the body perfectly. It stops prana/vital energies from being transferred to the ground by earthing.

Lowest Layer One – Darbha/Kusha grass mat associated with Muladhar chakra.

  • This is a grass mat made of Darbha/Kusha grass (botanically Desmostachya bipinnata), the dried grass is just tied together with either strands of the same grass or pure cotton/jute threads.
  • It is found plentifully in marshy areas in the Gangetic plains. It has several medicinal values however from our point of view, Darbh is the best insulator for your body’s electrochemical energies, specific to the earthy energies of the Muladhar chakra.
  • The second major property is that it stabilizes the Muladhar chakra, which is associated with survival and animal tendencies. It is an advantage as this chakra related thoughts do not arise in the mind to distract your focus.
  • Modern science has proved that this mat is so effective that it can stop even X-rays.
  • darbha mat

Second Layer – Deer skin associated with Swadhishthan chakra

  • This is only for academic interest as you cannot legally buy deer skin in India. And the skin has to come from a naturally dead deer not hunted or butchered. Also in case your family as such a deer skin, (remote chance) you cannot use it if it were already used by some one else. Deer skin of the chital deer, spotted deer was used by our Maharishis.
  • This is also primarily an insulator, it is specific to the swadhisthana chakra’s energies. This chakra is the energies of every type of creation and also of reproduction as it is basically a creative act.
  • The deer skin is leather so has all the properties of leather and in addition it stabilizes the watery energies of Swadhisthana chakra.
  • This means that you are not distracted by the urges of the body governed by this chakra, and your mind remains calm and focussed.
  • The deer skin is laid out such that it is completely within the boundary of the Darbha grass mat, layer one.
  • deer skin

Third Layer – Pure wool mat associated with the Manipur chakra.

  • This layer of pure wool stabilizes the fiery energies of the Manipur chakra. Now individual will, ego, purpose, and self image etc are all under control and do not disturb the mind during the Dhyan.
  • It is also a specific insulator for the energies of Manipur chakra. So the manipur-specific energies generated during the Dhyan process do not get earthed and absorbed by the earth. Instead these energies are absorbed at the Manipur making it rotate faster with more energy. Also the nadis associated with Manipur start getting cleaned out, blockages removed, and better flow of prana through them.
  • This item is easily available. I use a white pure wool shawl bought from Khadi India. It is set such that it is entirely within the area of the second deer-skin layer.
  • wool-mat.png

Fourth and top-most Layer – Pure silk associated with the Anahata chakra.

  • This layer of pure silk is again set so that it lies entirely within the boundaries of the earlier wool layer. This piece of silk is not to be stitched/hemmed with cotton thread\
  • This layer is linked to the space energies of the Anahata chakra. There is another opinion that Anahata is the energy of the air, but I have always felt the Vishuddhi to resonate more with airy energies and the Anahata to resonate with space/Vyom. It is my personal experience.
  • The silk provides specific grounding for the energies generated for speeding up the Anahata chakra. And also controls and stabilizes the thought patterns linked with it.
  • So the mind is not disturbed by any imbalance in the Anahata and can focus more deeply on the Consciousness.
  • I have bought 1mX1m cream silk piece from Khadi India.
  • silk-mat.jpg

So when you sit on this asan your entire body should be within the area of the silk mat, so that you are properly insulated. The electrical properties of these 4 layers stabilise the lower 4 chakras so you are free to really work on the higher chakras. Your spiritual progress becomes faster.

This the real Asan, the foundation of your sadhana. In todays life getting a complete 4 layered set is impossible, you cannot obtain an appropriate spotted deer skin. But even without the deer skin it is good enough.

  • So if you feel so inclined, dedicated and have that much space in your house, you should really get a Darbh mat, pure wool and pure silk and make an Asan for yourself.
  • If the darbh grass mat is not available where you live, wool and silk is available everywhere. So please if you can afford it buy 1mx1m pieces of pure wool and silk and make this into your asan.

But I know this, perhaps 1% or less people will actually get this privilage of an Asan. But this knowledge is valuable and should be put on the Internet so that someone who needs it will find it by chance. Serendipity!

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