Beyond the Body

Yoga teacher Stephanie Snyder reminds us that asana is essentially meant to help us get beyond our physical distractions, setting us up for meditation:

“Hatha yoga is a means to command the physical form in order to have command over the distraction of it (not to get ‘good’ at it) so that you can move from the physical into the subtle into the cosmic self.  

Do the pose and then leave it there while you merge with the om that vibrates through every cell of your body and through every particle of the universe.”

@stephaniesnyderyoga Instagram, December 23, 2018

The goal of yoga is not to get good at our practice, but to use it to gain control of the things that distract us. The same is true of meditation. Both of these practices are tools that we use to gain results, but not necessarily the results one might think.

Especially in the age of social media, it is easy to begin to look at our yoga  practice from an aesthetic viewpoint. That is, we try to make our shapes look like the shapes we see others post because theirs looks so good. The outward signs of their practice seem stronger than our own.

But yoga is often described as “an inside job” and it’s true that ultimately what counts is how you feel when you are performing an asana pose. Ask yourself:

  • What is my relationship to my body in this pose?
  • Does the pose make me feel strong or weak?
  • Do I enjoy my time in the pose? Why or why not?
  • Can I allow my body time to ‘melt’into the pose on its own?
  • Am I accepting my performance of this pose right now, today?

Any form of judgement of our practice is counterproductive. The important thing is to show up and to do what needs to be done.