Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Yoga is NOT just for stillness.

I know. Before I hear it for posting about something as slooooow as yoga, let me tell you something.

It's anything but...and yet it's stillness training.
(Because after all that difficult work, all you want to do is be still.)

I think the stillest thing about yoga, is that you have to sit and listen for your breath. You also have to find the patience to take in all those deep breaths and patterns...most importantly you have to deal with the energy that builds and releases around this practice. But once you've established that, you begin the physical practice.

A strong yogic practice that I conduct begins with pranayama and meditation. The prana, or breath, is the energy we use to live. If not established, we will suffer and die. Well, eventually, not immediately. But if we aren't breathing, we are definitely running down our experience of life. We are taking in less of life than we truly need, and eventually begin to feel fatigue, illness or disease filling the body. So we need to breathe.

Next,  the physical practice warms and lifts and builds the bodily processes until there is a strong flow of energy towards the middle of the practice session. Once you get through those first few sun salutations, the body begins to feel really open and fresh. You are wringing out the tissues, building synovial fluid in the joints, and in combination with the breathing, building a sense of ease in the body. It opens the fascia and connective tissues in order to release emotional and physiological energy and information that gets stored in the tissues. You may feel a deep sense of release, pain, memory or simple relief come about as a result of practice. You may even feel sad, angry or tired, depending on your experience.

At this point, when I'm teaching, after the body is relaxed, I give you balance postures, open the heart, the hips and I turn you upside down, to gain new perspective. After which, relaxation sets in and hopefully a deep sense of peace is felt.

If you do enough sun salutations, from the western perspective and way of life, it will rock you into stillness, which is the ultimate goal of yoga. This is so much so, that when you spend time in this yogic state, you will find yourself being able to meditate more and more....

If not, keep practicing...

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