Both Krishnamacharya and Desikachar translate Yoga Sutra 1.9 as, "Imagination is the comprehension of an object based only on words and expressions, even though the object is absent."
Read the word after this sentence and then quickly close your eyes to see what image you come up with. Apple.
What did you see? When I was asked to do this at a workshop a couple of years ago, I saw an eye as in "apple of my eye." Did you see an actual apple? Was it green, red, yellow, or maybe all three? Close your eyes again and see yourself taking a bite out of a juicy red apple and imagine how it tastes as the sweet juices flood your taste buds. If that was difficult for you, try again but replace the apple with a lemon. Bite into its sourness and see if your mouth really starts to water!
"A daydream is a meal at which images are eaten. Some of us are gourmets, some gourmands, and a good many take their images precooked out of a can and swallow them down whole, absent-mindedly and with little relish."- W. H. Auden
Vikalpa is a Sanskrit word that means imagination by using a mental process to form opinion, thoughts and beliefs. Our minds actually manifest a link between our initial thought and our imagined reaction. Why did your mouth water when you imagined biting into a lemon? The reality is that the lemon you saw in your mind is imperceptible; it doesn't actually exist in the tangible sense. But your mind hooked your body up with the thought and your mouth physically reacted as though the lemon was very real.
We do this all the time when we try to imagine outcomes! Sometimes this is vary good for us and other times, so bad, our imagination stresses us out.
"Often we speak of a thought process, which is one of living in the future. The mind is really taking the current thoughts, rearranging them this or that way, and then fantasizing some new combination as being the future, even though that fantasy is occurring in the present moment." swamij.com
Try to daydream a yoga pose. Let's choose handstand. Don't worry! We are only practicing the pose in our head. Close your eyes and see yourself easily floating up in to a handstand. Feel how strong your arms are. Feel the power of balance in each hand. Feel how steady, effortless and strong this pose feels. Notice the sensation of blood slowly coursing down towards the head. Feel how light and unburdened the souls of the feet are as they explore air, rather than earth. Feel a sense of accomplishment.
Daydreaming can be a powerful tool. Edgar Allen Poe wrote, " Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night."
I dream... (Poem)
I dream of floating away on a cloud
I dream of catching a falling star
I dream of my prince charming
I dream of how I'll save him from the dragon
I dream of cows on the moon
And pink grass
I dream of old ladies knitting socks
I dream the twelve Olympians are real
I dream I'll meet them someday
I dream of vast sugar cane fields
I dream of a bed of roses
And how prickly that must be
I dream of firefly friends
I dream of a lighting bug show
I dream of riding a striped horse down the aisle
I dream of hot air balloons
I dream of polar bears
I dream of snow
I dream of rain
I dream of summer
I dream of fall
I dream of day
I dream of the moon
I dream of stars
I dream of going to Mars
I dream of how I'll be queen of the Martians
I dream of how I'll love my subjects
And people always said I belonged on another planet
I dream of love
I dream of faith
I dream of hope
I dream of culture
I dream of life
And I dream sweet dream
By Sai Srujana