What are we practicing towards?

The more years I spend practicing yoga I love the way my body feels when I’m moving and it becomes more open but I’m also far less focused on what my practice looks like or what I can or can’t do.

If you have a daily practice too, you’ll know the fleeting nature of yoga – somedays you can see real external progress and the next day you could feel tired and stiff and the body looks, feels and acts differently. Yoga poses by design are impermanent so you can experience them, but you can’t tick them off or add them to your collection forever.

Yoga isn’t about doing the poses but one way to access this lesson of non-attachment is by doing the poses, it’s kind of clever like that.

One thing I take away from practicing poses that are challenging the edge of my comfort zone is that we never really ‘achieve’ a pose. Our comfort zone is a moving boundary and there are moments where the pose is accessible and others where it isn’t. And of course, if you think about an ageing body there will be a time when we will have to let some of these poses go completely, they aren’t built to stay with us for a lifetime, but yoga is still a lifelong practice.

It helps me to have this constant reminder of the pose coming in and out of being – and the deeper inner work is how you react to it. Before you judge any of your reactions or frustrations around your own practice, there is no good or bad but an awareness. Next time you’re on your mat see if you can find the space to bring a softness towards any reaction, maybe that softness looks like compassion and acceptance. The practice of taking the pose inward is where the magic really starts.

As humans we are very intellectual but the intelligence around our minds and bodies is still evolving. We may understand logically that it’s unlikely we’ll still have the same range of motion forever, but does that mean it won’t be hard to let go? Humans are creatures of habit and if these lessons are experienced daily they can start to fall into the subconscious so we can begin to accept the fleeting nature of all things in life, but before you go for the big picture – start small and learn it on the mat.

 

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