I had a revelation this morning during my practice.
So many times we hear it’s not possible to progress further in the physical yoga practice (and the overall yoga practice) if you only think about the body. Sometimes we might just believe it because it kind of sounds logical and since other more experienced students and teachers say it, well it must be true. But the beauty of yoga stays in its experimental nature. Yoga is a philosophy you experience, not talk about it. It is hard to understand it while only talking about it.
This morning, I totally experienced it. There has been a time when I was practicing just postures. Then I entered a new chapter during which I started to get more curious about what yoga beyond bending is. I started to get to know myself better. Now…it’s getting deeper and I start to find meaning. I get access to different parts of my being that were hidden from me or maybe deep within myself I knew they are there, but it was too painful to accept them. Now…I am not afraid anymore to accept them. And let the pain be the guide, not the reason to hold me back.
It might sound completely incomprehensible to the beginner mind or to the one practicing only to feel good and pamper oneself, but it is not possible to progress into the practice only by thinking about the body. Many times people hurt themselves because they are too eager to strike a pose. Or they are hold back, because they are afraid and don’t believe in themselves.
Regular practice makes us have more confidence in ourselves. It shows us we are more capable than we thought we are. It removes the false perceptions of the ego and opens the heart.
Yoga is not a practice to take and to put back on the shelf at your convenience. If one wants to practice yoga, then one should practice even when bored, sad, have a headache or just being lazy. It can be a nice therapy, but if you want to move further then you need to learn how to discipline yourself, not punish yourself, but not indulge yourself either. You must define the purpose. It’s not a yummy practice, it’s a damn hard practice! Working with yourself might be the hardest thing you’ll ever be doing. But nobody else can do it for you. And that’s the awesome part!
If you only think about the body, you will reach a certain limit that at some point will be hard to cross. It will require a new approach and new doors to open in order to access a new chapter. Regular practice and letting go of your ego are the main ingredients to progress in the practice. But we modern people when we think about progress, we are in a rush even without knowing it sometimes. We create our own perception of what progress should mean and be when in reality progress happens over a long period of time. Progress might not always be noticeable.
Many people don’t have patience to build gradually and this is one of the things that create suffering. But if we learn to cultivate patience and non-judgement towards ourselves and others, things will start to flourish.
In some yoga styles, there is focus on sitting meditation and asanas are just a way to prepare the body for it. Asanas don’t play a big importance and they might not even practice so many of them.
In other styles, like Ashtanga, asanas are super important, because the practice itself even though it looks physical it’s in fact very spiritual. A regular practice removes the fake impressions you created about yourself and the world and lets the inner self shine. When you decide to be open and non-judgmental more awareness will come to your life.
I am simply amazed by the fact it’s so easy to make your life happier. Only by changing your thinking, your life will change too. If you really want to, everything is possible. You just need to believe it and put the work for it.
It’s amazing how something that looks so physical on the outside can be so deep on the inside. Letting go of your ego and switching off the mind when you do your practice will definitely bring a meditative state in your asanas, more meaning to all the weird postures you are doing and eventually more calmness and happiness in your every day life. The purpose is not to get attached to the practice, but to let the practice reveal your true self.
I start to feel more and more comfortable in the postures. Some of them feel effortless, others super challenging. I try to learn from both. Body is getting stronger and more stable, mind is getting stronger and more stable. I’m learning how to switch off the mind, stop thinking that I’m creating something and feel more how stuff is created through me allowing it to happen. In discipline and weird postures on a yoga mat, I am starting to find my freedom.
Oh boy…I’m entering a new chapter of my life. And it’s beautiful! 🙂
Thank you to my teachers and my students who led me where I am now!
Keep practicing! It can only get better. Be humble, remain open!
© Unfold Your Mat 2016