I know I have been talking a lot about Yoga for the past few days, and I promise this is the last of the series for a little while. If you are interested in reading more, you can read here about movements in between poses and here about the moments in between poses.
I go to a Yoga Teacher’s class at Moksha Yoga Downtown, and I wish to talk about something he said in class. He’s an amazing teacher, with a lot of insight to offer in class, about yoga and life. He doesn’t preach, but just talks about a lot of random things as if he were talking to a friend. I do not usually like male yoga teachers, but he is calming, and about yoga, rather than building up strength, doing a lot of chaturangas (push-up position in yoga) and power, power, power, which I find a lot of male yoga teachers concentrate on.
He does a Yoga class on Saturdays at 10am, that has a series of Yoga Nidra, that was particularly inspiring to me. It helped me relax my body as never before. My arms and legs were so deadened, that it truly felt like I was in corpse pose for the first time in my life. After the class, I had a hard time lifting up my hands to put on a pair of pants, or open the door of the studio to leave.
But this blog post isn’t about extolling the virtues of this teacher – but about alignment. Something he said, that made me laugh, but also think, was the following: Yoga is all about alignment. Otherwise, all you are doing is standing on one leg, with very few clothes on, in a really hot room, waiting for the pose to end.
Humorous? Yes! But, think about alignment. How often do we go into a yoga pose, and stand there doing the pose badly, waiting for it to end. Even worse, how often do we go into a pose, and go really deep into it, screwing up balance in another part of the body. We wish to prove to ourselves that we can. We can do it. So our body, our poses, our alignment, all have to suffer, to bow down to the greatness of our thinking mind.
How can we prevent that? Careful alignment into the pose, by going into each pose slowly, as slowly as possible. Not rushing into the pose helps, but what else helps, is just paying attention. Notice yourself, and every part of your body as you move into a pose. Are your shoulders hunching up? Is one hip over the other? Is your jaw clenched? Are your eyes in their sockets? Have you not blinked for the past 5 minutes? Notice everything, and fix. Take your time.
This yoga class is about you, about your body being in alignment and balance, not about some mysterious goal that you somehow have to reach in your head.