Lets start by the beginning…
yogash chitta vritti nirodhah
Yoga is the ability to direct the mind towards an object without any distraction or Yoga is the restriction, elimination of mental fluctuations.
When defining yoga it is the mind that appears, not the body, not the posture. Yoga is something mental, the yoga of the mind, a yoga of internalization.
Many times, in my own classes or when I attend classes of great teachers and classmates, we find that students are not looking for yoga, but simply a dynamic of exercises to cultivate their body and / or maintain their state of health. They want more, they demand more, and they fill you with comments like “is that if I do not have stiffness in the morning I feel like I have not done anything”. The culture of doing, doing, doing. Less to do and more to feel!
We have to accept that each person has their time and their process and the vigor or requirement in yoga is given by both students and teachers. Yoga begins in the mind to purify it, empty it, center it and take us to that something else. The physical practice of yoga postures is only a complement, that harmonizes the body, connects us with our state and our breathing and that will help us to take care of our body to be able to seat in it the mind.
My teacher always reminded us of the circle of doing – thinking – being – feeling. Because we must be more than doing, and feel more than thinking to harmonize doing, thinking, being and feeling. So that our actions and our practice become more internal and deep and not routine and sports. Our physical body must be a tool and practice yoga too. It should not be the ultimate goal. Because in the end, if we only practice with the body, who dominates who ?:
“The control of the body in all its forms is an indispensable basis, a body that dominates you is an enemy, it is a disorder that you can not accept, it is the enlightened will in the mind that must govern the body, and not the body he must impose his law on the mind. “
Health and healing in yoga – Conversations with The Mother – Sri Auriobindo Ashram Pondicherry
It is not necessary to renounce the body by parking it or forgetting it, nor turning our body into a vain god. The practice takes you inside, where you recognize yourself, where you observe your tendencies, your fears, your patterns. Remembering that the physical body is only the first of the wrappings of our being. Let’s not stay alone in it.
That is why we propose, or that it is from time to time, back to static.
Maintaining postures in static is key to this inner discovery. Only by maintaining the posture more than a few breaths counted is when we can perceive all that it offers us. About us? How do we practice? Where there is pain, discomfort, tension? Where is our mind at this time?
Static practice helps us release physical, mental and emotional resistance. In most people, the body acts by somatizing emotions, attitudes and thoughts towards diseases or ailments, especially in the joints, organs and internal tissues, accumulating tensions of all kinds. The static will take the practitioner from the most superficial tension to the deepest. It provides observation and acceptance capacity.
To do this I propose three different approaches or styles of practice but seeking this goal of awareness and internalization:
The yin yoga is basically a yoga on the floor, slow movements, static postures maintained for long minutes. The body meridians, deep relaxation and the energy and emotional field are worked into the postures. The body is not activated from the musculature but we look for long stretches that stimulate the body’s fascia. It works with consciousness and sensations, both external and internal. It seeks to loosen and loosen. “Feel, Let go, Smile.” You must work from inaction, without activating a single muscle. In yin tension is sought through stretching. Creating a stretch where the fascia meets its rigidity, undo it and continue stretching.
Feel the posture with all its pleasant and unpleasant sensations, release the possible discomfort by loosening all the muscles and allowing the posture to act, smiling towards our body, posture, breathing and state at this moment.
Another more static, and closer, style would be restorative yoga or body awareness. Through Restorative Yoga we look for positions that help us to compensate habits and discomforts of all kinds. Unlike the Yin we do not look for long stretches but postures that are maintained from an active relaxation. Our body does not collapse, but we are active, but without tension. Keeping consciousness in the same way in our state, our posture, our mind. We help ourselves with conscious breathing to reach a deeper understanding of the postures.
Finally we can adapt our traditional Hatha Yoga practice to be more time in the postures. Each active posture, stimulates, and works different parts of the body, not only physical, but also at the energetic and emotional level. Giving them more time we will observe our tendency, that we activate, from where our strength is born, there is something in tension that we can release, etc. When we return to the same position day after day, we go deeper and observe new facets of it. There are teachers who only practice 10 or 12 postures, yes, they keep them for minutes, even hours. Devoting time to each posture, observing them, tasting them.
So you already know yogis, I invite you to practice from the internal self-knowledge, from the pause in each position. Go back to the static from time to time to observe and continue.