BEYOND THE POSES

27 Feb

CONTINUED CONVERSATION ABOUT YOGA BEYOND THE POSES….

Everyone’s experience is different as we work through the assortment of options for personal growth and fulfillment.  Yoga is but one option and it can provide different types of value to the practitioner.  No matter where we are and which option we’re moving towards, consistency challenges often derail many.  The Yoga Sutras, as other similar guides, can be filled with useful gems but can also overwhelm.

A good grounding exercise is to remember the importance of the relationship between two underlying concepts explained by Patanjali, the Yoga Sutras author.  Practice (abhyasa) and nonattachment or renunciation (vairagya) create the framework for a sustainable practice.

Making space for new often involves removing something old.  Vairagya is the practice of letting go.  It is the elimination of unhelpful things.  Those can include negative self-talk, self-defeating behaviors, or poor choices.  We seem to be hard wired for a propensity to hold on to things, even when they don’t serve us well.  The physical part of yoga (asana) helps us learn to be present with ourselves by learning body awareness, breath awareness and feelings awareness.  Once we progress in our ability to experience nonjudgmental self-awareness, we are then poised and open to respond differently.

One way to support the release of unhelpful things is to commit to abhyasa, your practice.  That means getting onto the mat every day and it also involves nurturing an attitude of dedication to your practice.  Abhyasa is a personalized realization of your choices with ferocious and unswerving faithfulness to your best self.

Renunciation (vairagya) by itself has no staying power.  Intentions and thoughts commonly are only temporarily turned into actions.  Then, something else catches our attention and off we go!  Practice (abhyasa) is walking the talk.   A consistent practice starting with simply doing the poses (asana) and breath work (pranayama) is perfect because it can provide the energy and the sense of purpose needed to stay steady during the harder moments.  Even a daily ten minutes on the mat can provide that.

Yoga doesn’t magically remove old behaviors or beliefs.  Instead it is the steadying space for permitting whatever changes are needed.   It is a commitment to self and to growth.

Once yoga is part of our self-image, we have a safe and reliable platform for letting go while also being nourished by the self-care time on the mat.

Together practice and renunciation nurture progress along a more consistent path.

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