The Metaphor of YogaPosted: May 16, 2011
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how my yoga practice is the physical manifestation of my emotional life. One of the reasons I love Anusara yoga is that its principles make it so perfectly and eloquently clear what doing asana (the physical poses) translates into on the mental/spiritual/emotional plane. It’s an amazing, simple, clear reminder every time I practice.
I love any kind of analogy, when different classes of things or ideas align perfectly. This happens over and over in the philosophy and principles of Anusara, and in the actual doing of it, as well. That kind of elegant, repetitive harmony is all the proof I need of something higher.
I can’t emphasize enough how much my physical practice has impacted my feelings, my thoughts, and the way I interact with other people. The way I handle everything from typical daily conflict to life-changing upheaval is radically different, to the point that I sometimes notice the absence of mental and emotional distress and find it strange, because it’s so opposite from the way I used to experience things.
I am able to keep my center when external things get rocky or tricky or painful. I am able to remind myself that I’m okay, and that I can handle whatever it is without shutting down, running away or falling apart.
In one class recently we practiced staying present when you’re somewhere difficult. We put our backs against the wall and bent our knees into chair pose. Then we just stayed there, engaging our muscles and breathing fully instead of tensing up and praying for it to be over. Amazingly, it’s actually easier and even kind of pleasurable to be in that pose (and it’s one I decidedly do not love) when you’ve got that kind of awareness.
I don’t have to explain to you how easily this translates into the emotional realm.
Every time I do a pose and it’s easier, or I can go deeper, and I even start to enjoy being in a physical place I used to hate, it’s an indicator of how adept I’m becoming. The stronger and more supple you get physically, the stronger and more supple you can be emotionally. You’re a lot harder to topple.