There are many truths in your yoga practice. On your mat, you encounter the physical reality of how you've been treating your body. You might notice the compression of over-seated achy back. You might notice the instability of distracted mind. You might notice how you are actually doing. When I teach, I often encourage my students to: "check in with what they brought in." Basically, I'm asking them to do more then physically show up. Showing up matters. Because, if we want to 'go' anywhere, we must first arrive and acknowledge where we are.
Our Asana and Pranayama (physical posture and breath control) practices encourage us to be (and embrace!) where we are. We use our physical reality to come out of our whirling story, and ultimately, build a stronger one: the real one. In yoga practice, we first (re)learn our physical reality, as we to watch and challenge our preconceptions and 'truths' about our bodily experience. On the mat, yoga asana has a sneaky way of making us examine those stories about 'who we are' and 'what we can do'!
Asana has a way of saying 'Yes! Yes, you can.' Asana asks 'Why?' when your mind is playing a James Dean. We all have these stories: The time you finally 'did' that pose… (HINT: You don't 'do' a pose– you remember what you can already do…) The time you cried on your mat… And, that is the MAGIG of asana. Asana moves your mind.
Unroll yourself. Start where you are. (Not where you imagine yourself to be!) Practically, this is why Asana and Pranayama are are taught before the much more subtle practices of the mind (Pratyahara, Dharana, and Dhyana – withdrawal / control of senses, focus / awareness, and mediation / devotion). The Eight Limbs of Yoga were not set up by accident!
Simply, if you want to change your life, know your life. Get close to it. What does your life physically feel like?! (Note: This is NOT the same thing as where your life 'should' be going, or, what happened last week…) Notice how you are really doing. Notice what you are really doing. Then, breathe around it. Let this be your 'Hello Asana'. Then, keeping practicing!
As we rock more asana, the effects of physical practice will imbue our entire lives. Whether in metaphor or remembrance, our physical practice transcends our bodily reality. Your mind (and life!) cannot help but follow…