When we do not expect anything we can be ourselves. That is our way, to live fully in each moment of time.
The aims and goals we bring to Yoga for any of us may differ in so many ways. Weight loss, physical flexibility, strength, help with mental stress or physical pain or other difficulties are common areas of concern. It continues to amaze me how Yoga can help with so many disparate concerns so effectively. I believe the reason for it’s great potential for healing lies in the fact that of its underlying assumption…that we are already whole(healed). In a Yoga practices done skillfully we are seeking to become more and more connected to a deep realization of that state of being. Under these conditions responsible medical and other interventions operate to support our well-being and align ourselves with this process.
From this point of view the usual goals we come to Yoga with involve addressing concerns that stem somehow from the tension that comes from the belief we are lacking in some way. In our Yoga and wellness practices we see the effects of physical and emotional pain or other symptoms of stress in body and mind as having a single core cause, a disconnect from our innate wisdom. Although in practice the means of healing are many,according to many healers they bring us toward the same essential solution.
What I believe sets Yoga apart is that in skillful conscious practice of movement and Yoga asana we are not creating anything new or struggling or contending with ourselves to attain our aims. Instead we seek to re-gain our connection to how our body moves and grows in strength, balance and ease. In the ever evolving understanding of ourselves. This is often not immediately apparent as we begin our journey in Yoga or meditation practice. We often are drawn to practices such as these fueled by some sense of deep concern about ourselves and that something is quite wrong indeed. Changing this mindset by cultivating self acceptance and a judgment free way of seeing ourselves is an important first step in most students process.
I have found great joy and profound benefit in incorporating the insights and practices of modern movement masters such as Moshe Feldenkrais, Thomas Hanna, Pete Egoscue and others my teaching, therapeutic work and personal Yoga practice. It is no accident that each of these discipline highlights the faculty of heightened awareness as the key to lasting healing change. This awareness comes most fully when judgments are set aside and a sense of exploration and discovery are emphasized.
If it is true that the effects of the stress that the chronic struggle inherent this forgotten connection to ourselves sows the seeds of dis-ease, then I have come to believe that the benefits of Yoga done with a deeper inner focus that is common to these disciplines can be what infuses us with greater calm and ease to allow a more natural and joyful healing experience. Even after so many years teaching Yoga it is remains remarkable to me that simply slowing down a bit, feeling things more clearly and taking time and care to relearn and work with how our bodies and self operates are the simple changes many of us need to get unstuck from seemingly intractable difficulties.
In a process the works with the whole self our healing includes being able to move move more freely and painlessly, remaining mentally centered, calm and more fully in the moment and therefore able to appropriately and powerfully operate on the challenges of life as they unfold. It is common to hear students report so many other benefits and experiences, from the mundane to the seemingly miraculous as they deepen their practice over time.
Therefore, the ultimate aim of Yoga can be seen as growing in the capacity to be present in this way, empowered to live our lives from the only time that truly exists. Discovering the deeper truths of mind and body that Yogis and other movement masters have discovered and codified can be profound and joyous work.
So when we practice Yoga, posture (asana), breath work (pranayama) and meditation (dyana) with compassion and awareness we take a clear step toward eliminating the undue symptomatic effects of busy lives. Whether it is new or older effects of physical injury or chronic pain patterns, mental stress, held emotional or physical trauma; the imprint on our self of these stressors is seen as taking us away from the innate wisdom of our bodies and ourselves. I believe the skillful practice of Yoga done with an explorer’s eye can be a rewarding process of finding our way back home to a connection to our deepest self that we have forgotten but that is our birthright.