While undergoing the Teacher’s Training Programme of Yoga, one of the major techniques which are taught is – Anityabhavana.
'Anitya' is a Sanskrit word, meaning ‘what is not permanent.
'Bhavana' is also a Sanskrit word, meaning ‘referred to notions of cultivating, bringing into existence and meditating’.
Nothing is permanent, it is just a flow of emotions, appears to us as permanent, but it's always in motion. All that is physical and mental is not metaphysically real and, therefore, not permanent.
Hindu and yogic philosophy assert that humans are trapped in a cycle of suffering, death, and rebirth. To achieve liberation from this cycle, the yogi must overcome 'Anitya' by finding permanence (Nitya) within oneself. In Yoga, that means union with Self and Supreme.
How do you practice Anitya Bhavana?
Sit in any meditative posture.
Close the eyes and start thinking, or mentally go over the day's events chronologically and sequentially: starting from the moment you woke up till the present moment, one after the other.
It is more of reflecting and remembering, working out the actual sequence of the events of the day – Do not get involved in the sequence of or actual events.
Think, recollect and review the day’s events in the order as mentioned above.
Do not analyze or judge the events, this will do away with the witness like attitude crucial to this technique!
Do not go back and forth, move ahead in case you miss out on something.
Go in a proper sequence and finish the entire day’s events even if you jump over some.
It should be done for the same day, the last thing before you go to bed, or sleep.
Initially, it will be challenging, Monkey sitting in your head will not let you go further, or pull you inwards in it, hold it there and there, tell yourself, you are not that person, you are just the observer.
As we reflect more and more, we start identifying our thought patterns, whether they are negative or positive in nature, this infuses in us the understanding of the concept of cause and effect in our thoughts and the actions we take daily. This way we start becoming less impulsive and avoid unpleasant experiences. The technique of reflection also trains us to look at ourselves from a third person's angle (as a witness) so that we can evaluate our goals and the paths set to achieve them in a more objective environment.
How it is relevant in today’s time –
For students – who are undergoing stress and anxiety of handling so many comments on their behavior at home, coping up with the uncertainty of studies, exams, and growth,
It will help them plan for their better future, control their socially unacceptable behavior, will not become resentful.
For parents – who are judging their kids now and then, passing their comments or evaluating them based on unrealistic parameters or benchmark,
It will help them think before they react, understand growing kids’ mindset, help them become better humans, and not strain the relations with the young generation by being judgemental.
For working individuals – who are struggling with WFH and balancing the home life, if they have any other responsibilities/liabilities,
It will help them progress in their career, plan their life in a much-organized manner, schedule things, think through the processes and appreciate how to handle this uncertainty of work-life balance.
For those who are in business – everything in lockdown has troubled these strata very badly, how to find a working model from this bad time, how to sustain through it, how to cater to ever-growing demands of family and liabilities and responsibilities,
It will help them think through it, a balance between their emotional and logical state, get through with irritated state or grumbling state, and think more clearly.
My takeaways –
It has helped me ‘Let go’, not holding back things to let my emotional state get disturbed.
It is empowering me to become more focused on my work, plan things, while maintaining my and my family’s priorities, taking out time for the activities that I enjoy, and rejuvenates me, I am more focused than before.
I recommend to one and all to start practicing it, not that easy initially, but it is said, Tough time shall also pass if you are tough!