Realistic ExpectationsJuly 29, 2007
Become one with your yoga practice – asanas are your prayers
What can you expect from your practice? In my classes I always stress relaxation as the key to progress. We are holding all of our emotional experiences in our bodies. Once we can stretch and relax our muscles, tendons and ligaments these emotional experiences begin to surface. This happens often during our practice when instantly an old experience appears in our mind. The best way to handle these experiences is just to let the mind’s picture drift out of our psyche. Just let it go and don’t be surprised if it reappears. Let it go again and again until it seems to float away. This letting go of stored experiences takes time. However it eventually results in the relaxation of the tensed muscles which were holding on and the subsequent feelings of calmness and tranquility which start to emanate from the newly relaxed muscles and nerves in the vicinity.
Our bodies are our temples and our asana are our prayers. Your practice is a religious experience without adhering to any specific religious doctrine. We practice just to practice, not looking for goals. This state of consciousness is a possibility for all practioners. However we must all follow certain guidelines. Our practice must be disciplined, meaning we do it according to a set schedule which we have devised. In the style of yoga I teach we always stick to the same sequence of asana periodically adding new asana to the series. The asana must me done over and over again so that they wind up in the subconscious mind. During practice we don’t have to think about how to execute the asana. Actually at some point the asana does us. We just let it happen..
So we have relaxation and discipline. Now we focus on the breath. Our pathway into the body. All extensions are done on the inhale and all contractions are done on the exhale. As our hands reach up to heaven we inhale, as our hands fall to the earth we exhale. As we hold the poses we relax and watch the breath. In time, according to our rate of practice we actually start to feel that the breath is actually breathing us, just like the asana is just doing us. We give in to the practice, we ride the breath. The breath is everything, we are the breath. Deeper and deeper we go inside of ourselves. Our minds calm, thoughts appear as if they are clouds slowly moving thru our psyche. Time disappears, our one hour practice feels like 5 minutes. We are one with our breath. The postures keep flowing on the breath without any effort. We feel as if we could go on forever.
With practice the possibilities are endless. We become one with our yoga practice. Our hearts open up, our minds calm, our bodies relax. We just are and have always been.