My practice of yoga postures or asanas is the practice of creating space in my body so that when I leave my yoga mat, that space remains. Emotions and thoughts are free to enter and flow through my mind without attachment.
Asana is one part of my yoga practice. Sometimes my asana practice is difficult and messy. Sometimes I fall, and I get up again. I place my body in situations with mindful intention. For me, this translates off the mat into finding a bit more ease along life’s journey.
Asana practice is remembering that all things are impermanent. The discomfort or even fear in a pose is temporary, as is this precious human life.
Asana practice is a moving meditation for me. When I am linking breath with movement, the only thing I can do is be present.
Asana practice is a tool and a metaphor for mindful living.
Set and an intention that is pure. Work mindfully toward the fulfillment of that intention. You will struggle. You may fall. You will get back up. You may lose your breath, and you will always come back to it. You will create the space to accept these truths because both the physical body and the mind are opened and tension is released. Judgement is abandoned and the present truth is accepted.
When practiced with pure intention in mind, asana practice creates positive energy and merit that we can then dedicate to other sentient beings in their struggle to find happiness.
Asana may be difficult, and for good reason. The difficulty of a balance like Warrior 3 is nothing compared to the intricacies of human relationships. It is what I learn on my mat with dedicated practice that guides me and helps me face truths about myself, others, and the world we live in. In facing these truths, I am always practicing yoga.
A flag doesn’t hold on to the wind, yet it couldn’t be more immersed in it. Our job is not to stop or gather the life of feeling but to let it keep moving through us, the way a flag opens itself to the wind.
-Mark Nepo from The One Live We’re Given