Yoga poses (asanas) are a balance between effort and
relaxation. As we move into stretches and poses,
we learn to scan the body, noticing tightness and tension.
We send our breath to the areas of greatest sensation
and mindfully encourage relaxation. As we breathe into
these sensations, we relax the tension. Sometimes we need
to modify the pose to avoid pain, possible injury, and
unnecessary stress. Perhaps we need to choose a resting
pose instead. A yoga practice is a good metaphor for life:
finding balance between effort, tension, and relaxation.
Noticing the breath helps us determine our personal edge.
If we are having difficulty breathing, slow deep inhale/
slow complete exhale, we have gone beyond our personal
edge. We back off and adjust or modify what we are doing.
Rather than judge ourselves, we learn to just notice how we
feel, and honor our body. We listen to our body. Our mind
remains focused on breathing and body sensations.
Life off the yoga mat is filled with sensations too. We can use
the deep breathing that we learn on the yoga mat to help us
remain calm under stress. We can notice how we feel without
narrative or judgment. We can take the peace we experience,
on the mat in final relaxation, during Savasana, with us when
students, are still learning as part of their continuing education.
As we dedicate ourselves to a yoga practice, we become
more focused, flexible, balanced, stronger, and more relaxed in
our mind and body. Yoga is often described as the union of
mind, body, and spirit. It changes us internally and externally,
on and off the mat.