By Heidi Michel Fokine, April, 2010
Being is relaxed. Our deepest self, highest self, essential self, however you want to say it, is relaxed. Not collapsed. Relaxed, open, flowing with life force. All the benefits of yoga practice come by aligning with this essential beingness. Many yoga classes begin with a few moments of meditation and breath awareness. It’s a time to empty our minds and focus on the present. All too quickly most of us turn to concepts of right and wrong to organize our posture. In doing so we rely on accumulated knowledge from the past to adjust alignment, rather than what is arising that very moment in our bodies.
How often I have had an “ah-ha” moment, made a discovery that eases up a posture only to end up losing it for another favorite discovery down the road. I think this is a natural part of the process and certainly has kept my interest along the yogic journey, but I also sense it’s superficial nature.
Lately I’ve been playing with a different approach and I offer this experiment for your perusal:
Choose a posture that you can stay in for a few minutes. Set the pose to the best of your ability, back away from the “edge” a bit and stay. Breathe and observe how the pose begins to shift. Allow yourself to let go of the mental concepts that could be confining the flow of energy. Instead, ride the energetic currents inside the form. Relax into it. Then take this experiment into your normal practice.
In my experience I often hear voices of my past teachers, verbal cues for refining a posture that worked for them that I hadn’t fully integrated or hadn’t understood. Not only will you have an authentic yoga experience but you can connect to the generosity of your teachers and the entire lineage of this art form.