This article is contributed by Mallika Jayanti. The source of the above article is: http://www.dhdi.free.fr/recherches/horizonsinterculturels/articles/bharatanatyamyoga.htm
SIMILARITIES BETWEEN THE APPROACHES OF YOGA AND BHARATANATYAM
There are a great many facets of Yoga and Bharatanatyam that are similar to each other. Some of these will be described in this section.
This is an important quality required in both Yoga and Bharatanatyam . Yoga can be defined as discipline and one of the important aspects of Yoga is the emphasis on Tapas as discipline. Yoga also emphasizes that Abhyasa or dedicated and determined practice is vital for success. No dancer can ever expect to master this art without a similar approach of dedicated, determined, sincere and regular Riaz or Sadhana. Sadhana and Abhyasa are vital for success.
Both arts stress the importance of Guru Bhakti and the role of Guru Krupa in achieving success in all endeavors. The Guru is held even higher than God and this is explained in the following way. A hypothetical question is asked as follows. If God and Guru appear before you at the same time, to whom will you bow down first? The answer is that we will bow to the Guru first as he is the one who will show us God. Without the Guru we cannot recognize the Divine even if he is standing in front of us.
The traditional method of learning in both of these arts was the Guru-Chela relationship that was often in the Gurukula pattern where the student lived with the Guru as a family member learning 24-hours-a- day for many years before mastering the art. This was a real trial by fire in many cases and only the true seeker would be able to pass such a test. Nowadays both these arts have become academic in nature and a lot has been lost in this transition from Gurukula to college method of imparting instruction.
BHAKTI RASA AND BHAKTI YOGA:
One of the important streams of Yoga is Bhakti Yoga and this is related to the Bhakti Rasa of Bharatanatyam . All great Bhakti Yogis of our ancient Indian history were deeply immersed in music and dance in their love for the divine. Meerabhai, Thiyagaraja, Chaithanya Maha Prabhu, Andal, Karaikal Ammaiyar, Nandanar and Avvaiyar are some of the few examples of such Bhakti Yogis. It is said that Lord Shiva danced the Ananda Tandava at Thillai (Chidambaram) following the request of his great Bhaktas, Sage Patanjali and Sage Vyagrapadha. Similarly he also is believed to have given the benevolent Darshan of his Cosmic Dance for the great woman saint, Karaikal Ammaiyar.
Mantra Yoga and Nada Yoga are related to the Indian Classical Music that is an integral part of Bharatanatyam . The vibrations produced by the sounds of music and the use of the Bhija Mantras of Laya Yoga and Mantra Yoga has a similar effect in arousing latent and potent energies of our inner being. Bharatanatyam utilises numerous shapes that are similar to the Mandalas of Yoga and Yantra and these shapes also produce a bio-electo-magnetic field that energizes not only the dancer but also her audience too. All matter is vibration and the differences are only due to the different speeds of vibration that result in differing degrees of freedom. This is well understood by modern physicists, one of whom, Fritjov Capra even went to the extent of declaring the principle of Lord Nataraja as the most apt symbol of quantum physics itself in his book, “The Tao of Physics”.