February 11, 2010

Finding Stillness and Energy in Yoga Home Practice

Finding stillness and quiet in the vibrating energy of life is my greatest challenge. Hands down, the greatest and biggest challenge.

I can work my way into those pretzel yoga poses. I do not shy from challenges of the balancing poses, even as I work my way away from the wall and face my fears. But stillness during practice still comes with unease.

I remember my unfinished attempt at the bible of Stillness, the Eric Schiffman book, and have picked it up recently as a reminder. I am once again lost and found in Schiffman’s poetic prose on ways to move into meditative stillness and on why our practice of asana and meditation are inseparable.

Meditation must happen during practice. Or else we are just stretching into beautiful figures like a ballerina or a gymnast.

Acting on that inspiration, I am focusing again on my home practice and sharing a bit of that inspiration with you dear readers of Elephant Journal.

Note: The video below was originally posted on my blog as a series of home practice. Enjoy it!

A video used to be embedded here but the service that it was hosted on has shut down.

The purpose of the yoga series videos is to inspire myself and you to establish a devotion to our home practice, and to find meaning and lessons in each practice, be it 5 minutes or an hour. In this short clip, here are a few simple takeaways.

The 3 Lessons from this Yoga Flow:

  1. The beauty of the Utterly Unplanned things in life: This flow was not initially intended for any viewing beyond my own. I was testing my brand new Canon VIXIA video camera to find the best position and angle for the tripod. I could not get it to cover my standing poses so I opted for seated positions. I had no poses in mind, no flow planned, no agenda at all. After viewing it, I liked it and decided to do a new series the next day with a full schedule and sequence of poses. The next day just did not happen. And I realized in this short clip, I was doing yoga straight from the heart, full of intention and free of any judgement or expectations, letting go of all the perfection because it was a test video. That is the spirit I wanted to capture after all and it all happened in the unplanned.
  2. Letting go of Perfection: This comes hard to me. Very hard. Even if I never reach perfection in anything, I obsess and pursue it relentlessly. There is no perfection in any of these poses. There are errors. There is struggle. There is room to improve. I am letting go of my obsession by purposely sharing this video as it is. I like to see that I could have been more open here, folded more deeply there, and transitioned more gracefully from one to another pose. I am celebrating the progress toward excellence, and letting go of perfection.
  3. Believing in the power of yoga for healing: Persistent physical pain can try any one’s patience, and mine is not particularly deep. My left arm has been in enormous pain for weeks and weeks. No permanent relief from any of the therapies, and yet I am grateful that with all the pain, my arm seems to love yoga. So I am turning to yoga and to good posture, the open heart and shoulders, the broad collar bone, the relaxed upper body, and the strong abs to find healing. I am persistent, and I will find it because I firmly believe in the healing powers of yoga.

Parting Inspiration: Practice yoga for you, be in harmony and unison with your flow, your breath, your poses, and look for your stillness til you find it.

And now, if you did the flow with me, what did the practice do for you? Tell us your thoughts!

About the Author: Farnoosh is a new columnist at Elephant Journal. She created her own blog, Prolific Living, with a vision of embodying the essence of vitality by living a prolific life by conscious eating, voracious reading, diligent yoga, constant traveling, insatiable appreciation of the arts and by imparting that experience to its beloved readers, you!

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