When we try to implement new ideas and express higher energies in our lives, we find that in most cases we are stymied by the limitations of the body and the physical consciousness. The body has fixed habits of response and action which have developed over many millennia, and which emphasize the physical comforts and “needs”, due to a predominance of Tamas, at the expense of those new ideas and higher energies. When pushed the body can respond for some time, but the ensuing reaction can bring about weakness, disease or injury if pushed too far or too fast. It is of course possible, through systematic training and repetition to reprogram the body’s responses to some degree, as we see in various fields of physical endeavour, as well as in the practice of Hatha Yoga. In such instances, we recognize the possibility of changing the dynamic and making the body receptive and capable of a much more powerful action than was previously thought possible.
Sri Aurobindo notes: “The first thing the will has to do with the body is to impose on it progressively a new habit of all its being, consciousness, force and outward and inward action. It must be taught an entire passivity in the hands first of the higher instruments, but eventually in the hands of the spirit and its controlling and informing Shakti. It must be accustomed not to impose its own limits on the nobler members, but to shape its action and its response to their demands, to develop, one might say, a higher notation, a higher scale of responses.”
“…the body and the physical consciousness must develop the habit of admitting and shaping themselves to these higher strains and not they, but the nobler parts of the nature must determine the music of our life and being.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 14, The Power of the Instruments, pg. 702