Last night, in class, I talked about the real purpose of poses. When we fold, we surrender. When we open our hips, we free our emotions. When we take Savasana, we gesture to the world that we are at peace in the moment and open to what will arise. Yoga asana practice is not meant to string us along, with ideals and a checklist of fancy poses. It is meant to reveal what is concealed in our inner beings. It is meant to serve as a vehicle to transport us to the deepest part of ourselves. It is only the beginning -- a jumping off point.
Today, I came across this excerpt in an article in Yoga Journal: "For many of us, hatha yoga practices can easily become another opportunity to over-effort or get caught up in accomplishing or striving to get better at a pose." That approach to yoga seems divergent -- a veering off point.
My yoga classes are curated to move your physical body. I like to be creative with sequencing and variations on poses. I like for each and every person in my classes to really feel things in their muscles and bones. -- That is because experiencing things in a physical sense aids us in exploring our subtler layers of self.
Speaking for myself: Surrender is far more important than stretching my hamstrings; Freeing my emotions feels way better than Flying Pigeon; Savasana teaches me far more than any perfectly aligned and executed pose.
While the intention behind my practice changes daily, I can certainly benefit, every time I hit my mat, from balanced effort instead of over-effort, connecting instead of getting caught up, accepting instead of accomplishing, understanding instead of striving to get better at a pose.