The disconnect between the mind and body is a theme of a Reuters article today, featuring an interview with a yoga instructor convinced that using fitness jargon can be detrimental to a client’s progress.
According to the article:
Sara Ivanhoe, a yoga instructor with YogaWorks, a national chain of studios, said often anatomical terms don’t translate well even to the most intelligent student.
“If I’m telling someone to soften their floating ribs in, or rotate their inner upper thighs back, people often have no idea what that means,” said Ivanhoe, who is based in Los Angeles.
A student of Sanskrit, Ivanhoe uses the ancient language of Hinduism alongside her anatomical vocabulary to connect students to the spiritual side of the practice, and to each other.
“Sanskrit is one of the things that unify us as yogis. It’s the international yoga language,” she said.
If I go to Italy and they say ‘trikonasana’ (triangle pose), I don’t need to know Italian to know what to do.”
She said the sound of Sanskrit itself is meant to be healing.
“Sanskrit is what’s called a vibrational language,” she said. “Hearing it still has value even if the practitioner never learns the meaning of a word of it. The sound itself is meant to unlock things.”
Unfortunately, the article doesn’t explore the philosophical or spiritual origins of the claims by this yoga instructor regarding the healing powers of Sanskrit.
From an integral perspective, it stands to reason that if the sound of Sanskrit transmits healing vibrations, then Sanskrit is not the only language so blessed. It is questionable to claim that “trikonasana” heals where the word “triangle” does not, unless there is something unique about Sanskrit that is lost by English and other contemporary languages.
In an evolving world, a world in which culture evolves alongside psyche and nature, how is it that language once sacred and healing is now devoid of sacredness and incapable of transmitting healing? Or are there sacred dimensions to ordinary speech that have heretofore escaped widespread notice? Answering these questions could surely aid in our efforts to repair the split between mind and body.