Postures are arranged on the string of the breath, like prayer beads are strung on a mala or rosary. By stringing postures in such a way asana practice becomes transformed into prayer in motion. On the deepest level asanas are a way of expressing our appreciation and love for the Divine in a form other than words. They are a way of saying, “Thank you for being and I love you.”
As we progress in posture practice we may become absorbed in achieving and conquering more and more postures, believing to cement our own grandeur. In prayer this would be akin to a scholar becoming able to express love for God more and more eloquently. However, the Puranas (a class of Indian sacred scriptures) have stated over and over again that the Divine does not care about how eloquently we express our love but only about the sincerity of our offering. Because of this a simple posture practice offered with sincere devotion to the Divine may do much more good for yourself and all beings, than the fanciest and most athletic of advanced practices.
Nobody less but the great Shankaracharya has described in his Aparokshanubhuti what true purpose of posture is: True posture is that what supports the view of the Brahman (the Divine as formless Absolute) effortless and not that what hurts and causes suffering. A great reminder for us physical yogis that if our postures hurt and do not help us in seeing and serving the Divine, they ain’t yoga postures.
Let’s keep reminding ourselves that practising asana is a way of giving back to the Divine some of the love that we received. Try it out and see what happens.
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- Review of Matthew Remski’s Do Your Practice - May 25, 2019
- Gregor on Ashtanga Dispatch - March 16, 2019
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- Monica on Ashtanga Dispatch - February 16, 2019
- Uddiyana Bandha elusive no more - February 12, 2019
- Mula Bandha Elusive no More - January 18, 2019
- Clearing the Floor when Jumping Through - January 7, 2019
- Truth and Reconciliation in Ashtanga Yoga – Gregor interviewed by J. Brown - November 21, 2018