Yoga postures are simply positions we put our body in. They are not by themselves magical. What makes them powerful and beneficial is how we perform them. The attention we pay to our body and our mind and the intention's we set. A posture based in competition, comparison, perfectionism, fear or force, no matter how advanced it may be, will not give us the full benefits of yoga. A lot of us struggle with this, I know I most definitely do, the true challenge is to let them go.
How do we do this? How can we get the full benefits of our yoga asana practice?
Stephen Cope lays out 4 very simple ways in his wonderful book Yoga and the Quest for the True Self.* I lay it all out for you in this video.
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1. Create an environment in which concentration is supported
2. Keeping awareness focused on the internal sensations and feelings
3. Moving gently without strain
4. Cultivating persistence and patience
There is one more that I left out in my newness to this whole video thing. (oops!!) So I'll add it here:
5. Move slowly and deliberately.
The author describes this beautifully by comparing it to trying to untie a complicated knot. We know it is far more effective to look carefully and work gently as opposed to trying to force it.
All of these seem simple but they are so different than the messages we usually receive and so they can be difficult to actually practice.
Keep these ideas in mind next time you practice yoga and notice the differences you experience. Was it more difficult or more relaxing?
*Real Fit Yoga is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com