The Brilliant Absurdity of Yoga Asana
What is yoga asana? The simplicity and practicality of yoga asana are mind-bending.
We have made exercise and fitness so complicated with the multitude, or mountain, of ideas and philosophies. I like that old saying, “Keep it simple, stupid.” That’s what yoga does!
Everybody knows you cannot take care of something you do not touch. That is why there are so many asanas (poses). These poses are simply creative ways to access body parts. Just like you brush every tooth in your mouth. The five pillars of fitness – strength (tone), flexibility (suppleness), balance, cardio, and stamina – are also touched! Within the activation of each body part, there becomes circulation, which is the prerequisite for regeneration.
Ease of movement, physical comfort, suppleness, and elasticity are a by-product of gentle stretching and toning. To be gentle, one needs to tune into the physical sensation and discover what gentle and moderate means in that particular moment, and as one tunes in, all else tunes out. This allows stress to dissolve and mental habits to weaken. Those 1 ½ hour classes are because it’s difficult, if not impossible, to touch everything in a shorter period (although we do have shorter classes for you busybodies).
Gentle (moderate) touching of every place in the body and every aspect of fitness means a totally efficient and complete exercise. This approach is not meant to change you, because yoga doesn’t look at you like you are ugly, wrong and broken. This approach is simply meant to take care of you the only way possible, “by touching things gently.” This approach can be very confrontational, and it does not feed one’s vanity or machismo (ego), and also starts us in dealing with the habit patterns of our mind. Yet now we know, most disease originates in our mind (stress) and is deposited on our body. So tuning in for gentleness means not rolling in stress, but producing mental habit patterns (quiet & calm mind) helping us relax, which is the opposite of stress. Gently touching our bodies might not overdevelop one’s body to fit some image we have been brainwashed into believing we should like by our culture, but it certainly will prevent atrophy.
Our teacher is our life’s experiences, and our experiences have taught us, “the harder you are on anything, the faster you destroy it” so if you want to last as long as possible and feel as amazing as possible, the last thing you would ever want is to push your body hard. All relationships thrive within gentleness, including the relationship we have with our body, and all relationships deteriorate within force and aggression, including the one we have with our body. Keep it simple, stupid. :-)
Visit Poweryoga.com for the best well-rounded exercise on Earth, including a great sweat if you want one. Otherwise, try our yin and our restorative classes. For a deeper understanding and some positive reinforcement, check out my very succinct and efficient 5-day, 40-hour teacher training and immersions.