June 25, 2014.
Once I was asked to give a lecture and demonstration on yoga poses at a local junior high school. I thought it would be inspiring to show them some of the more complicated poses—more complicated than I was capable of, so I asked a friend who was an adept Hatha Yogi to come with me. I spoke and he demonstrated.
All went well until one of the more chipper students yelled at me, “Hey! Why are you just sitting doing nothing? Why don’t you do some poses too?” In fact, I had been sitting still, only moving my head, tongue, and arms for 45 minutes. It was time to move to the next lesson of yoga.
“I am doing a very difficult pose,” I replied and gestured to my seated posture. My comment was met with boos of disbelief. “Okay, then, let’s all try it. Just sit in your seats with your feet on the floor. Let’s sit still for five full minutes. Okay?”
“Ah, that’s easy!” They chided back. After 30 seconds, there were perceptible squirms; and, after one minute, the wiggles and giggles began. They reluctantly admitted that sitting still was indeed a challenge of yoga they were not quite ready to take on.
Yoga, of course, is much more than showy poses. It can be much more difficult to keep it simple and keep your awareness on how each pose affects your body. Take your time. There is no competition. Feel how each movement, each asana is for your unique body—and not only for your body in general, but how it is at that particular time. It can be different on different days, in different circumstances.
Honor your body and give it love through your yoga asanas, breathing practices, deep relaxation, and it will reward you many times over.
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