Thursday, March 8, 2012

Your yoga practice is perfect just the way it is today

This might sound a bit cheesy but can you try to practice with the notion that you are perfect just the way you are, that your yoga practice is perfect just the way it is today, that there is nowhere to go, nothing more to strive for. That yoga isn't something that happens when you finally get into that challenging armbalance or when you can sit in meditation for several minutes in stillness without your mind racing in the speed of a Ducati on the highway..

Can you try to grasp the idea that there is nowhere to go, nothing to aim for but being in the present moment? And that this moment is perfect just the way it is, with all its' flaws and imperfections. That your yoga practice is perfect with all your bodily aches and stiffnesses. Yoga is presence. Yoga is here and now. A practice of awareness and mindfullness.

I teach alignment based flow classes; meaning that I focus on alignment and details in the poses as well as dynamic movements. This focus on alignment helps us to be safe in the various poses, it helps us to avoid injuries and it enables us to come as deep and correct into the asanas (poses) as possible.
But we also use this focus on details and alignment as a tool for meditation, in order for us to become more present in the HERE AND NOW. How so? We shift our focus from our never ending stream of thoughts; our monkey minds that wander from thoughts to thoughts, to bodily awareness. Our bodies are something concrete, something tangable and easy for the mind to grasp. Something gross as oppose to something subtle. We can see, touch and feel our bodies as oppose to more subtle aspects of our beings such as our thoughts, feelings, levels of energy.

So by focusing on different parts of the body at the same time; like in Warrior 2...all four corners of the feet pressing equally down in the mat, the front thight being paralell to the floor, the front knee pointing to the pinkie toe, our arms elongating out to the sides etc.. focusing on these different parts of the body all at the same time becomes then a meditation of its' own; our fluctuating minds might become still for a while and we get into the present moment through our bodies. Like Mr Iyengar said; 'Focusing on one point is concentration, focusing on several points at the same time is meditation'.

This said there is no doubt then that alignment-based yoga is something that appeals to me; both in my own practice and in my teaching. However, this focus can sometimes make me forget the most essential part of yoga; that yoga is presence, something happening here and now... yoga is doing and being at the same time, yoga is a state of mind, a practice of awareness and mindfullness. And it's not so much about mastering that challenging pose or having to practice 90 minutes 6 days a week to be a able to call my practice a genuine yoga practice.
This is what yoga is to me anyhow, it might feel different for you.

So my practice is perfect just the way it is today, with all it's flaws and imperfections. No where to go, nothing to strive for except for being in the present moment.

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