I had just written a somewhat harsh assessment of another writer’s online list of the X number of things yoga would bring into your life when I accidentally deleted the post prior to saving it. An entire post gone. And I had been so articulate and exacting in my commentary. Oh well, maybe there was a message here for me.
You’ll find a lot of that in yoga. And I say that I mean stuff you really can’t explain. Oh sure you can experience it but explain it, well maybe not.
One of my favourite yoga teachers had attitude problems IMHO. She once came into a class of a half dozen of us regulars and proceeded to conduct a class where almost no words were spoken and each asana built on the last with each getting more and more ambitious. By the end of the class our teacher closed the class with a simple ending and walked out. We students all sat there stunned. We knew we had collectively shared something in that hour and that something was pretty serious and profound and we had done it together. One of the weirdest and most perplexing experiences of my life.
Yoga will do that to you.
All you have to do to have such experiences is show up and work hard.
And when I say work hard I don’t mean muscle your way through your practice. I mean breath deeply and in concert with your moves. If you’ve got a great instructor he or she will prompt you on when to breath in and when to breath out. Different yoga styles contradict each other on when to take an in breath and when to breathe out. Don’t worry about the contradictions. Follow your teacher.
Build on your asanas by listening closely to what your teacher is saying. The asanas are much more difficult that they first appear. There’s a lot of internal muscle work that needs to be done. This is serious stuff.
On a not so serious note, my Yoga Journal magazine arrived today and it’s filled with great suggestions on how to approach the asanas and a bunch of other stuff I find just plain silly.
People in yoga tend to complicate the practice IMHO and what passes for Eastern philosophy in our pop culture is pretty woo woo as far as I’m concerned.
Based on my personal experience above, I believe yoga allows us to access parts of ourselves and the universe around us that we don’t normally acknowledge. I just don’t think I’m going to find enlightenment in the pages of a magazine or from the guidance of some one with their 200-hour teaching certificate. And then again who knows.
The answer is to ignore the stuff that you don’t find useful and keep returning to your mat.