Another teaching Manorama gave from her teacher was: "The degree to which you draw in is the degree of force you will have in your outer life." She talked at length about how the contemplative practices of yoga are designed to draw us inward and while one might worry that so much introspective focus might weaken one's ability to function well in the outer world, it is actually the opposite. Drawing in gives us the force to extend out.
It is not that yogi's are opposed to the idea of extending out and functioning well in the outer world. But the thing to understand is that energy flowing down and out is the way f the world. It is going to happen naturally, without any involvement or effort; our senses are designed to involve and direct our attention outward. And the yogi says "Well everyone is doing that, we should go inside, we should do the "super natural" thing and instead of gazing outward all the time, let's go in. Then established inside at our source, we can get involved in the outer world." And the way it works is that connection to our inner life yields force in the outer life. It does not weaken us.
So this is our primary flows f energy, is it not? Muscle energy draws in, organic energy extends out and the amount of force we have to expand is directly related to the amount of force we generate by drawing in. So we worked with this last night in class with back bends and it was a fantastic class. We had a great turn out with new folks, returning students and many regular attendees and yet the energy was 100%cohesive. Everyone did their best to bring the force of the attention to the practice, no one was on their own agenda or doing their own thing. We had people working very hard, asking great questions and if I do say so myself, we generated some Force. It just does not get much better than that to me.
This drawing in is also the whole idea of gravitas. When we say that about someone we are talking about a kind of force or weight a person has. Manorama gave the example of how some yoga teachers say things like "You are not your body and mind" and it sounds like New Age drivel. (My words not hers, she was kinder!) And when a sage or an awakened teacher says the very same words, you feel the weight of truth because they have realized it and their offering back out is seated in a place of deep knowing, not speculation or rhetoric. The words of the sage are not empty, they have weight, gravity. And what is gravity but that force that is always drawing us into the core? I mean, really, you have got to love this stuff.