“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” ~~ Viktor E. Frankl
Photo Courtesy of Dahn Yoga
Many of us begin a yoga practice for a specific reason. To reduce stress, tone our bodies, improve flexibility. Those are all completely fine and acceptable reasons to practice. In my opinion, whatever gets you on the mat is a good thing!
But the longer you practice, you begin to notice that there’s more to yoga than what you may have originally thought. You start to realize that it’s not about getting somewhere. It’s more about releasing and emptying. Releasing and emptying your mind, body and soul of all the “junk” that creates stress, chaos and illness. If we can’t let go of those things, we become consumed by all the negative things, and we feel “stuck”.
So, as you step onto your mat this week, make space. Make space and sit with whatever IS. Pay attention to the present moment and be OK with whatever you’re experiencing in it. To advance in yoga is not about pushing through to find the next crazy variation of a pose. It’s to understand the various layers of yourself and each pose.
When you can approach your practice on the mat in this way, you’ll discover how you must always incorporate equal qualities of effort and ease when moving into your poses, no matter how difficult they may be for you. Many of us muscle through the challenging poses, and let our egos get in the way. If you continually approach your practice in this way, the tension will build up and spill into your life off the mat.
Instead, try to make sure that in each pose, no matter how difficult, you try to find the element of relaxation in it. Find that sweet spot where you feel like you are putting in equal amounts of effort and ease. This is how we grow, both in our physical practice on the mat, and in our lives off the mat. When you can practice in this way, you may notice a newfound sense of freedom permeate your entire being. Now isn’t that worth the effort?