We come to the mat for many reasons but mostly because we feel good from doing the practice – either during, after or both. The asanas reveal to us the state of the vehicle and demonstrate for the mind what we are lacking and what we are capable of. I love this practice, for this reason, to see where I am, to witness what I can. To watch my body shake or be stable in the poses, to have an aversion or be excited and witness both experiences, turning toward what I have an aversion to (reluctantly), and I explore more joy in what I feel excited about. I love the sensation of accomplishing a certain pose and to see myself falling into a joint and lift up out of the joint and gain strength from my heart to the muscle. I love falling out of a pose and re-entering it with a different perspective.
My dharma talks this week in our Livestream classes was on
finding stability in the asanas (pose(s)) versus the tendency of gripping and clenching.
To gain the most benefit of the asana instead of stress in the pose to ‘get through it.’
To hug the muscles of the bones instead of clench.
To watch with mindful inner eyes when the tendency of fear enters and engages with stability instead of clenching.
To breathe into the pose instead of holding the breath.
To embrace the pose with strength and flexibility instead of compressing the bones and instead of holding back from its possible depth.
In other words, to lean into the pose for its full benefit, to use what we have and empower that which we may not know or trust yet by tapping into an internal will and strength.
To be Stable.
Where there is stress and tightness due to fear of the unknown elicits more fear and stress in the body, which can cause the very thing we were working to protect.
To be Fearless.
I then used this physical metaphor, asana, and pranayama (breathwork) practice to weave the emotional experience of fear, clenching, grasping, and aversion. To turn toward the emotional body just as we had the challenge asanas, to lean into it the feeling of fear, grasping or aversion and just notice it, then to find the harnessed inner personal power and mental control just as we had been doing with the body in the asanas.
To watch the breath mindfully diminishes what is not real, untrue, or uncontrollable.
To Control the Mind
These times of trying to stay safe with the pandemic, witnessing social and racial unrest, economic and political uncertainty, not to mention personal matters of the heart and mind, can create fear. I want to remind you that you are not alone but also to not hold it in your mind or in your body. During this time of the season (Fall) and the continued state of the virus, especially, your immune system needs to be at its strongest; please know that fear can weaken and the immune system. The emotion of fear is meant only to survive in an instant when there is a true “tiger at your door” and not a long-lasting way of life from a thought or previous trauma. This is easy to say and harder to accomplish when you feel alone in the emotion. So… I’ve made a breathing, affirmation and 3 pose asana practice for you here:
Im are rooting for you to feel safe and have Fearless Stability in your mind and body. Remember what is in your mind is reflected in your body and vice versa. You are Safe. The more this mantra becomes vibrated through your body and into your mind, the more you will feel it and seek it if for some reason you are not safe where you are or what you are doing.
We need each other.
One way we can be are here for you is through our Livestream and On-demand classes.
We need this practice.
The path and practice of yoga increases your sure-footed, sure-mindfulness, and increases your immune function and response.
You are Safe.
It is okay for you to feel your breath move through you and be fearless.
Here’s to yoga.
Here’s to you.
We’re in this together.