The Four Vessels

The last few week of practices focusing on the Elements and the Doshas has brought us to take a closer look at our vital energy called Prana. Like a candle in a pot, we can draw on the Gheranda Samhita for a deeper understanding of how we practice. Using the object as a representation of our embodiment, the vessel is our body that holds the flame, wax and light.

  • Prana – Flame
  • Tejas – Light emanating 
  • Ojas – resource that fuels the flame

Prana is linked to Vata Dosha as it is the life force that stimulates and moves the other two Doshas. Ojas is linked to Kapha Dosha as it fuels the life force with its nutrient rich wax through our diet, rest and care. Tejas is linked to Pitta Dosha which shows our radiance, our energetic expression, our charisma.

In the Gheranda Samhita it states the 5 Stages of Prana.

  1. Activation
  2. Churn
  3. Consolidate
  4. Ignite
  5. Direct

Inspired by a Buddhist teaching on the embodiment of our life force, they see issues with the human condition as four vessels that we are consistently working on like potters; Closed VesselDirty VesselTilted VesselLeaky Vessel. We become the Yogi potter as we practice to mend, re-shape, clean out and repair as we put ourselves in the kiln of our Yoga practice. The desired heat in practice is Tapas, the heat for positive change. As we understand ourselves more, Svadhyaya, which vessel we identify with and bespoke our practice to promote healing, to inspire ourselves and transform. So our practice is one to first activate, then churn the Prana around unblocking and dissolving obstructions. With a stronger body and control of the Bandhas, we can consolidate the Prana, then ignite the Prana to burn brighter and direct it to either higher states of consciousness or our duties and responsibilities in our day as a result of practice.

Closed/Upside Down Vessel

  • Unable to hold content or receive.
  • Closed mind and heart. 
  • Can’t communicate. 
  • Not open to hearing or looking at source of problem.
  • Ignorant of themselves and how they affect others.

Dirty Vessel

  • Disturbed by physical, emotional and energetic toxicity.
  • Symbolic of prior conditioning of past experiences – Samskaras – which interferes with one’s ability to see, think and act clearly.
  • Whatever is put into vessel it gets contaminated. 

Tilted Vessel

  • Can’t fill to capacity. 
  • Distorted or tilted view of themselves and others.
  • Blame themselves or others for current situation.
  • Decreased ability to take in the teaching that might help them. 

Leaky Vessel

  • Let’s valuable content escape. 
  • They can hear the teachings, understand their importance, but get distracted not being able to hold attention to move in a positive way.
  • Choices dissipates the energy and is wasted on unhelpful thoughts, speech, behaviour and actions.
  • TV, Social Media, News, Emails, etc contribute to this leakage.

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Published on November 20, 2023