The True purpose of yoga is to discover that aspect of your being that can never be lost ~ Deepak Chopra
An experienced yoga practitioner gets on the yoga mat each day; struggles with some of the poses. Others feel effortless. The struggle at times leaves us with feelings of inadequacy. A sense that we should have mastered it by now. The effortless poses make us feel good. We feel like we are accomplished. Have we mastered yoga?
There are times that I ask my class to come to a pose as if it’s the first time doing it. To cultivate a beginners mind. To notice the small details again. To notice where we just take the pose without making an effort. Somewhere between being a beginner to yoga and being experienced we sometimes get a little lazy in our mind and body. We’ve learned how to make the pose easier. We’ve learned where we can come out of the pose while maintaining the basic shape so that we don’t have to work so hard. Maybe the knee isn’t over the ankle in our warrior pose. Maybe the arms aren’t quite at shoulder height anymore. What happens if we come back to the details and notice where we have developed habits that allow us to lose the work? Not only will we find that the practice is more challenging physically, but also mentally. We suddenly have to come back to that place where we observe our bodies more closely, and that brings us into the present moment. Rather than getting lost in our thoughts and just taking the poses from habit, we begin to come to ourselves again. We begin to truly practice yoga again. To detach from the outcome of getting the final pose, to truly notice how the body feels in this moment, to observe where our thoughts go as we hold uncomfortable positions, to ensure we do no harm to ourselves, to find the contentment that is in the moment, and to find the self-discipline in body and mind. Through the practice on the mat we can learn more about the self. We learn how to respond to stress in the body, which helps us to respond to stress in the world. We learn how to surrender to what is. And in the surrender we find peace. And that is the true aspect of ourselves. That part of ourselves that once uncovered is always there. It may get clouded over from time to time, but we always know it to be there. We can always find it again. How you do your yoga on the mat matters. Develop the beginners mind again and come face to face with your true self.