Yoga is a sophisticated technology for enquiry into our own nature. The practice takes us to a place of profound intimacy with our minds and hearts; its elegance lies in the fact that as we refine our relationship with ourselves, we simultaneously deepen our connection to the world around us. We become more intimate with the breath, the source of life itself.
Asana practice combined with ujayi breath is a vehicle for working with the mind aswell as the body. Asana is a doorway to yoga. Yoga is the practice of coming back to the present moment, to the breath, the pose, and it is in the very merging of our awareness with our breath that we can transcend the fluctuations of the mind and experience ourselves as one with the flow, with the universal pulse.
There are yogas to suit every temperament and proclivity, whether it’s the devotion of bhakti, the intellectual rigor of jnana, the call to service of karma yoga, the embodied exploration of asana, the fascination and wonder of meditation. I mainly practice and teach asana and meditation and have found them to be exquisite tools for transformation.
Sustained practice over time allows us to see our habitual patterns and offers us the opportunity to work with those tendencies, to dissolve them and choose responsiveness over reaction. The ability to expand our comfort zone in the physical practice of postures strengthens our ability to hang out in challenging situations off the yoga mat. In my experience, this is where it really matters.
But asana practice is also a source of sheer delight. To experience your body in a variety of shapes and positions, surfing on the wave of your own breath is a beautiful thing. It’s fun to practice arm balances and inversions, to push the edge and see how far you can go, and it’s immensely rewarding to observe the effects of the practice over the years, how the body becomes stronger, more supple, the poses become a part of the somatic lexicon, a natural extension of your being. There is nothing like the deliciousness of your body tingling with prana post-savasana, molecules dancing, every fibre of your being vibrating as radiant sensation. Quite simply, yoga feels good.