Take a deep breath. No seriously, take a big nice juicy breath in, right now. Okay, now let it out. Ahhh. It feels good, doesn’t it? When most people think of Yoga they think of pretzel bodies and expensive tight pants. But yoga is so much more than its postures and products. Yoga is an art and a science. It is the Dharma and the Greg. Yoga is for EVERYONE.
There are many branches of Yoga stemming from breath work to ethical guidelines that lead us to a fit, healthy and balanced lifestyle. Though we will start with a focus on the body and alignment, please note dear friends, that Yoga is a practice of living not just of postures. According to the yoga sutras, there are 8 limbs to Yoga and we will cover all 8, but let's start with posture. ASANA.
If you have ever stopped to take a deep breath or if you have ever stretched your arms up over your head in the morning -you have practiced yoga asana. Yoga asana is just the fancy Sanskrit term for body position or a position in which the body can sit. It makes sense to me that as we dive into the world of yoga we begin with a posture or asana that allows us to sit on our seat rather than our heads- we will get to that later. Sukasana or “Easy Pose” is the perfect place to start Yoga practice whether you are a beginner or an experienced yogi. We often start a yoga class by tuning in with this posture. Most of us learn this pose in Kindergarten. Yogasana, the physical practice, was originally created to allow the ancient yogis to sit still in meditation for extended periods of time, so coming into a place where we can allow the body to just sit and be present is an ideal (and safe) place to jump in.
“Eazy-er Said Than Dunn”
Stillness has been one of my dearest discoveries in all that I do! But, it is hard to sit still! In this wild time of fast-paced living, I find that it can be extremely difficult to just allow yourself the time to sit and be still. On top of that, if we can make (and take) the time to “just sit” we often cannot even dream of a moment where the body- let alone the mind- can be quiet and at peace. So, being a gal of the real word, I say embrace the conversation! Yes, embrace the conversation like you do over a big bottle of cheap red wine and infuse it with consciousness and awareness. Ask yourself, what is the conversation about? Ask yourself what it has to do with the present moment.
Lately, instead of thinking of this first posture as “The Easy Pose” I like to think of it as a place where I practice finding more ease. Trust me, finding more ease ain’t always easy. But it is so rewarding and you will be amazed at how this yoga stuff starts to bleed into your everyday life. It can take a lot of trial and error to come into a place where you can just sit and be still, but through this practice, you will find yoga. This is what yoga is all about. It takes a lot of trial and error to balance on one foot, to balance your checkbook and to balance… well, you fill in the blank.
Beyond sitting comfortably we have discovered that we way we hold our bodies has a profound effect on the people that we are. Our personalities, our emotions, even our mental state is affected and informed by the way we carry our bodies. As we come into our first seated posture, I invite you to ask yourself what the conversation is about. I will offer you some physical conversation starters and invite you to really stop what you are doing and take a deep breath. Let the body have the conversation in order to let the mind rest. Seriously the mind, or manas as we call it in the Yoga lands, needs to freaking take 10. At least.
Use the “how to” of the pose as a conversation starter with your body. Take a seat. Breathe. Feel supported by the earth, your mat, your pillow, your throne. Sit up tall to start talking with your body. When you come across something that doesn’t feel good- notice it- and then come back to the sound of your breath. Breathe Y'all! Open yourself up to a new experience. Safely. Here in the present. I got your back. Let me know how it goes…