Inside Yoga 209 (4/9/2017)
Many of us reach a point when all we want to do is to wipe the slate clean and start again. In such situations all we want to do is restart or reboot, like we do when our computer has stopped working for from overuse and overload.
Our yoga practice offers us a way to wipe the slate clean, because one of the principle aims of the practice is to shed what we don’t need, whether it is physical fatigue, tension or restlessness or emotional stress, pain or restlessness.
By practising we gradually strip away those negativities leaving us feeling lighter and clearer, in other words, we wipe our personal slate clean, leaving us ready for the rest of the day, rest of the week, or to deal with whatever situation is causing our overload.
We might seek through yoga to achieve a permanent state of enlightenment and exaltation but the truth is more mundane. Even if we do find the answers to our existence and the meaning of life, we will still find our moods, our thoughts , our whole sense of being is continues to change, and as a result, we will continue to need a restart and to wipe the slate clean.
The principle aim of practice is to clear away the obstacles which block of our path whatever this route might be, whether it is physical or emotional, and help us to see more clearly, feel more energised and simply feel liberated of the shackles which hold us back and down. Using another analogy, we have a mountain to climb but feel we are holding it in our arms instead. We need to find a way of letting go of it, ie, dropping it, so we can walk on up.
Moment to moment everything is always in flux, and it’s this constantly changing reality which asks us to keep practising, repeatedly clearing the slate so we are better prepared to with anything life might throw at us.
So when practising whether it’s an yoga asana (posture), pranayamas (breathing exercises) or in seated meditation, we are aiming to quieten everything down, to clear our thoughts and focus on the simplicity of the body and breathing. It’s the exercise first and foremost which we focus on, not the desired results and by doing this we might achieve our goals: hence the often quoted saying that this is a “journey without goals”.
To go back to the computer reference, when it has frozen we don’t get caught up in asking questions we cannot answer, but we simply press restart. Usually then when the device turns back on the problem has gone and the computer is ready to work normally. This is the approach we want to have with ourselves, by turning to practice as a way of restarting and refreshing. We do not always need to know why or what is stopping us etc, we just want to get on, like we do with our computer, we restart.
And that a good reason to keep practicising… and as I am back after summer break teaching, hope to see you at a class very soon.
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