Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Yoga and the present moment
Last week, I decided that I wanted to try to be in the present moment a little bit more...
Well it is going well... I have been working really hard at it... constantly reminding myself to be here and now as soon as I realise I am not... but I also notice that it happens less and less.... so there are some progress... of course I keep doing my yoga, meditation and breathing... and it helps!!!
Talking about yoga, my friend Rita from the Busy woman and the stipy cat reminded me of something when I read her blog this morning... when I first started practicing yoga years ago, I did it to get better, to manage stress and to improve my health... When that happened, I started looking into more advanced type of yoga... more advance asanas... and I found some "goal" asana that I wanted to be able to do in my practice... I worked really hard on them... and most of them I got (back then I was so competitive)! I could physically do them.... I even managed to do the complete ashtanga serie as it is designed... but by doing so I was going against what yoga is really! Let me explain what I mean....
Of course yoga is a beautiful discipline... a way of life... it teaches you a philosophy of life to which I like to adhere as it is really in sink with my own personal values... who I am! Yoga also is asanas (or physical posture)... and some can be quite challenging... and the flow from one to another can be very difficult to master... if you look at the video's in Rita's blog you'll see what I mean... Initially there were a very limited set of asanas (20 or so if I remember correctly) and today, there are hundreds of them... there are as many types of yoga as there are "gurus" that invented their own method that is supposedly better than the others... REALLY? This kind of upsets me... when you know that the Sun Salutation in itself if complete... when you know that using roughly the sun salute and a few extra poses can "do the job".... WHY? Why do people feel the need to "invent" or "improve" yoga? Yoga is now becoming a popular trend and as anything that is popular in this world, it needs to be made more complicated, better, more expensive, less attainable, more selective.... but all that goes against yoga... sad but true!
Yoga is perfect as it is... as it has been for thousands of years.... the purpose of the asanas is to make your body stronger to sustain a longer meditation practice... the purpose of the life style is to improve you "karma", to become a better person... to sustain your mediation practice... and as you live in sink with your meditation practice you'll see your quality of life improve and stress level decrease.... and thus eventually reach what they call nirvana... You'll be healthier and happier than ever before!!! YOGA means union... union of all parts of yourself into one! Body, mind, spirit!
Yoga is not designed to make circus artists... or rich gurus to whom you give your money in exchange for the perfect solution to everything... Yoga is not to obtain the perfect physical body....
Yoga is all within you... once you know the basic asanas and teaching, you actually need to practice... practice... and practice some more... 24/7... all your life... you have to become yoga in your every cell.... every breath... for it to transform you... and the world around you...
Every good yoga teacher will direct you towards yourself... within your own body, mind and spirit.... all the answers and resources are there... Of course, you can get books and DVD to help you out.... or attend a course... but all that is accessory... and they are tools to help you with your practice... but all that cannot do the work for you... or give you the answers...
As Rita said, you're better off practicing 15 minutes per day the asanas then 90 minutes per week with an teacher... and I must add, that in between the 15 minutes of asanas, you need to "practice" everything else yoga is... constantly... it is NOT easy!!! But so worthwhile... It's a philosophy, a way of life... it requires discipline... inside and out!
There is nothing wrong with doing the asanas for the physical well being of the thing... but that is s whole different story... and you will get physical benefits... and nice shape... but you will not experience yoga as a whole... and you might miss on something greater than you can ever imagine!
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love and peace,