Archive for November, 2008

Dear Body, This is Me.

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

BKS Iyengar writes in his book Light on Life “it is better to do a good pose minimum than a bad pose maximum”.

In your yoga class do you ask something of yourself in your asana practice without even knowing where you are in the moment, quickly growing frustrated and impatient before giving yourself a chance to discover just where your body comes against its limitation?  When you learn to swim do you immediately dive into the deep end, or do you begin by getting your toes wet and stepping into the shallow end?  While dedicated practice and patience can propel one into greater depths within postures, ambitious practice keeps one in the “yoga rat race” of competition and injury.

When you first meet someone and they invite you into their home, do you go straight into their kitchen and raid the refrigerator?  Do you meet a stranger and immediately drown them with all of your deepest darkest secrets?  Hopefully not. 

Yoga is one practice where you step into a state of mind to learn and to explore about yourself within a quiet inner search. You meet yourself in new territory with each posture.

When you meet yourself in this new and sometimes confronting experience of Yoga, you must be with yourself in your body and cultivate a communication between body and mind through the subtle inner direction of your breath. Yoga can be very confronting, revealing weaknesses, imbalances and mental impatience.   Instead of quietly responding to what is being revealed to us, we react with frustration and defeat; we are completely in our head and not breathing at all.  We give more respect and courtesy to a complete stranger than we give respect and find patience for ourselves in this new exploration. Taking that same respectful approach with yourself as you discover your own limitations is when your practice begins.  Not just your physical practice but how your mind and your ego respond rather than react to what is being shown to you through your practice.  With this change in your attitude, Gratitude in your yoga experience will be the next state of mind and heart.

Pain in any posture is resistance.

Knee to chest Pose:

Lying on the floor, straighten one leg and bend the opposite leg at your knee towards your chest, wrapping your arms around your shin.  Go as deep as your body/breath invite you.  Keep the straight leg very strong and continue to lengthen your spine as you inhale.  Begin with an exhalation. Inhale slowly. Upon the movement of your leg exhale.  Notice the reactions of your breathing with your movements.  When your breathing stops or is strained, WAIT and stay with your pose until your breathing softens and smoothes. 

You are now meeting yourself in the pose and you will know when your body/breath invites you to move deeper.  This is a very easy posture, but you can translate this approach to all Yoga poses, from the beginners level to the advanced poses.