Daoist Yoga

ImageI’ve read a few articles recently relating one’s yoga practice to a relationship. I like this idea. I think it is important to embrace the fact that if you make yoga a daily practice, it will not always be fun or completely enjoyable, but this is what makes it a practice, and this is one of the ways in which we learn from the practice. 

One of the things that my Daoism teacher said that stuck with me was that it is important to pay more attention to thebody and pay more attention to detail, especially in the modern world that is so involved with virtual “reality.” In order to pay more attention to the body and to detail, repeated postures practiced everyday can help us notice changes inour bodies and mind from day to day that might otherwise go unnoticed. And if practicing a repeated set of postures is new, simply embodying the postures for the first time can help us become more aware of our bodies in a more basic manner. 

I know it is extremely difficult but when practicing, instead of thinking about things outside of your practice, or even dwelling on how difficult the class is or how much you are sweating, try to actually feel your body in the pose. Acknowledge discomfort, and try to feel where you are clenching your muscles, where you are holding the discomfort.Sometimes just sending energy through your pinky finger helps summon energy; sometimes finding space between your neck and shoulders greatly increases ease in the pose. 

My point is, the yoga practice gives us a set of postures that we can do everyday. These postures might improve strength and flexibility and even improve subtle energy flow within the body. However, even if they don’t do any of these things, even if the postures themselves are completely meaningless, they are shapes that we can take everyday so that we can stop thinking about where we were or where we are headed, and stop thinking about things going on outside of our bodies that are in or out ofour control. We take these shapes so that we can pay attention to detail within our bodies and realign ourselves, both mentally and physically, with the changing flow of day to day life. 

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