Upayoga and Angamardana

In the Indian languages, the word upayoga has unfortunately degenerated to mean: that which is useful. The word upa means sub or semi, so Upayoga is sub-yoga or semi-yoga. Yoga is for union. That means it is for a committed practitioner who wants to attain to his ultimate nature. For someone who does not have such desires or intentions, semi-yoga or Upayoga is appropriate.


Upayoga is a system of yoga which is not very strongly oriented towards the spiritual, it is more towards the physical, which includes psychological and energy dimensions of a human being. It is for one to live a complete physical life.

One aspect of Upayoga is to understand the body’s needs and operate accordingly. The joints in the human body are storehouses of energy because the nadis behave in a certain way in the joints. So, one aspect of Upayoga is towards activating the lubricants and energy nodes in the joints so that the rest of the system begins to function.

Angamardana is a unique system of yoga that strengthens both the physical and the energy systems. Unfortunately, it is almost completely lost these days. It is not like asanas, it is a very intense exercise where you don’t need any equipment. You just use your body and build a completely different level of physical strength and tenacity.

In Angamardana, you use your own body weight and momentum to increase the flexibility of the muscles over a period of time, and in terms of health and well-being it can do miracles. It is a phenomenal process and is so complete. All you need is a six-by-six space; your body is every- thing. So, wherever you are you can do it. It is as effective in building the body as any weight training is, and it does not create any unnecessary stress on the system.

The word “Angamardana” means to have mastery over your limbs or body parts. Mastery over limbs need not necessarily mean you are going to be muscular or you can climb up the mountain. That may also happen but it is basically to strengthen the energy structure of the body. The important thing about whatever sadhana you are doing, whether it is Angamardana or anything else, is that we are trying to work up the energy system to a certain level of energy and integrity of energy.

If grace has to transmit itself, you need to have an appropriate body. If you do not have an appropriate body and grace descends on you big-time, you will only fuse out. Many people want big experiences but they are not willing to transform their body to be able to conduct those experiences. In yoga, you don’t chase an experience, you only prepare. If your spiritual process is something more than just talk-shop, that means you should have some mastery over your limbs.
Courtesy: www.ishafoundation.org

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