There are many people who practice yoga are only interested in yoga as exercise, in an asana-oriented practice.
I’m not one of those people, however, so I thought it was worth discussing and throwing out some ideas about some of the more ethereal parts of yoga.
My scientific mind initially reacts and says that holding my hands in certain positions or using a mantra don’t have any true impact on my state of being. But if I dig deeper, I know that the body-mind connection is undeniable. I know from my massage practice as well how connected our emotional and spiritual states are to our bodies.
Beyond the issue of the intrinsic connection is intention.
If I hold my hands in anjali mudra (or namaste) at my heart and treat it as a physical offering, a physical manifestation of the intention to return to my heart, that’s what it will be. If my breath, my body and my heart are all trained to my intentions, my practice will reflect that.
As far as mantras are concerned, I could probably write a much longer blog on how language both creates and reflects our reality, but that’s another story for a different day. With mantra, either in Sanksrit or our own language, I believe intention comes into play a great deal too.
We all have “mindless” mantras: words or phrases that we overuse that color our perception of the world. How many times a day do we say things suck or that we’re “stressed out”? It’s fine to acknowledge the good and bad of the day, but we should also remember how powerful our words are. Mantras, when used with intention, can be a powerful addition to our practices.
On a less philosophical note, I have some serious blisters from the shoes I wore dancing last night.
They are a pair I love, but not really dance-friendly as it turns out. This is one of those things that falls more under the heading of annoyance than injury. Still, I wanted to be careful not to make any of them worse.
So, I’m all taped up as not to irritate them or make them worse this morning.
How do you modify your practice when you are ill or injured?
Do you find that these things derail you, or do you just adapt and adjust to accommodate them? I believe pain—physical or otherwise—and how we respond to it has a lot to teach us. Sometimes the response needs to be to slow down, be more gentle with ourselves. And other times, it means we accept that things are a little bit painful right now and carry on anyway.
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