How Do I Win at Yoga?

March 15, 2016

Recently The Onion, an online source of satirical commentary, posted about meditation and I found one line in this funny article to be especially interesting:

 

"With consistent practice, you should start developing calluses on your chakras in no time."


This made me chuckle, and then it made me think.

Yoga has recently come under fire because of its apparent obsession with the physical form; yoga selfies are now a thing to be debated; there's an entire movement dedicated to educating the public that you can do yoga with any body shape or size, and instructors like Annie Carlin and Dana Falsetti have been getting a lot of traction as they demonstrate via pictures and videos how size doesn't matter in asana.

So why are we so concerned with how the pose looks?

Do the ancient yogic texts spend countless words on the precise alignment and sensation in each pose? As someone who has skimmed some of these texts (don't call me an expert!), I can tell you that asana is very rarely mentioned.

So why do we spend countless hours practicing yoga? Aligning this way and that... Checking our alignment in the mirror and asking for other's opinions about our postures. What is it we are really practicing for?

As The Onion author so cleverly illustrated, it's hard to quantify results from a subtle practice. In fact, I would say that the deeper and more subtle my practice gets, the less I want to quantify or even discuss it. Everything I try to say about my non-physical practice of yoga falls short or sounds arrogant.

But show me a picture of my navasana from 6 months ago and compare it to today's, and I'll see those quantifiable changes. And that will feed my ego just enough to keep coming back to the mat, which is where the real practice begins anyway, the practice that brings calluses to my chakras.
 

Lorien in the Wild! 

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Sun, April 24 @ Breathe Los Gatos, CA

 

 

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