This blog includes reflections, creative work and resources. It is a glimpse of one person's journey within the realm of inquiry, experience with the human body and spirit. Look for ideas rather than answers. No claims are made. Perfection is not implied. I write as inspired to do so. Take what works for you, leave the rest. If you share anything from this blog, either verbally or in writing, please do your best to give credit where credit is due. Thank you for visiting.

Monday, June 18, 2012

What is asana practice about if the body is in a state of dis-ease or phase of decline?

Asana practice can be and is about building the body up so the speak:  more fluid, flexible, stronger, more agile and less tense with more awareness.  And, your body in the moment is the body you are working with.  The practice is always within the context of NOW.  This is where honoring the nature of duality* comes in.  We move with and work with the vitality and accept the impermanence of our physical form.  So using the same list from above, it's sometimes appropriate to let go of the idea of improvement and say to yourself a little more fluid, a little more flexible, a little stronger, a little more agile and a little less tense with more awareness.

Self-improvement has its place.  It is the expression of Rajas.  And I've seen a lot of unhappiness (imbalance) come out of the notion that we (and others) must always be improving or else _____________ (fill in the blank).  "Unfortunately, by constantly comparing yourself to an ideal standard, you conclude that self-improvement is necessary for self-acceptance." - Byron Brown, Soul Without Shame, Chapter 12.  [I am no master and humbly admit to being in a place (a lifetime!) of balancing the expression of control related to a self-improvement compulsion with the sense of Tamasic release.]  

As the saying goes, "the only constant is change" or "change is the only constant".  This and the balancing of duality are core aspects of Eastern thought.  If the physical form is in a phase of perceived decline or in a state of dis-ease, there are opportunities to work awareness of the changes and find equilibrium with the body you have today. 

There is one practice which addresses, and perhaps celebrates in a quiet way, the ultimate physical change.  Most everyone does this in just about every yoga session.  Perhaps appropriately, it is not talked about much but Savasana translates as "corpse pose".  It is an opportunity to prepare for the biggest body transition we will all face, and that is death. Ultimately we will let go of physical form.  The idea, if one wishes to embrace it, is to practice for the transition.  Whether you actually reflect on this deeper idea or simply rest at the end of asana practice, in Savasana we let go of the body.  We let it release and go to the back burner so to speak.  In physical rest, we allow for awareness to step forward. 

Remember, acceptance is part of asana. Listen to your self talk.  Would you say these things to a person you care about?  Another person in class?  What would you say to a friend who is frustrated with her body with regard to asana?  Sometimes we speak to ourselves in ways we would never speak to people we care about.

*Tamas-Rajas, Yin-Yang, Masculine-Feminine, Sun-Moon, Heat-Cold, Right-Left, Inhale-Exhale

No comments:

Post a Comment