Inside Yoga 280 (30/9/2019)
Yoga is a practice which offers us a base where we can seek refuge and rebalance our self, ready for the world beyond our own body and mind.
This is one of the reasons why our yoga practice is designed to be repetitive, with its postures, breathing and meditation, because we use them to ground ourselves in something familiar, reassuring and stabilising.
Travel writer Bruce Chatwin wrote about wanderers and pointed out that even someone who appears rootless and always moving will need a base to return to; whether it is a physical home or something which is familiar like a box filled with mementoes from this person’s life, it offers a base. Similarly, with our wandering mind and restless body, our yoga practice offers us a base to retreat to in order to calm and quieten our mind, be it distracted or agitated, and ground our restless or anxious body.
Those who practice yoga regularly will notice that the moment we start our practice it feels familiar and reassuring, as if we have turned on a familiar programme. One of my first yoga teachers explained that our yoga practice aims to reach every cell in our body. It starts as unfamiliar and perhaps awkward and then deepens, becoming reassuringly comfortable as the practice reaches every cell, and our practice becomes fixed within every cell, so that when we practice it does not take long for our whole body and mind to switch to yoga mode. Like a computer we have reprogrammed ourselves into yoga beings.
As the word “yoga” means when translated from Sanskrit “union” the yoga practice helps to establish a connection with our base, physically, mentally and emotionally.
Examine this when practising: notice how you feel as you hold a posture, and the way your body and mind settles into the familiarity of the practice.
In this impermanent and unpredictable world, it can be reassuring to know that our base is our yoga practice, not the bricks and mortar we live in, nor is it the work we feel that is so important. Yoga will always be there for you.
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