Yoga is a smooth flowing melody of movement, engaging the mind to concentrate internally on muscles and anatomy, holding postures as we breathe and letting go of negative “muscle memory” for improved health and wellness. The rhythmic flow of yoga is a practice to calm the mind and let go of tension and stress stored in the body.
Yoga teaches the body to gracefully move and to replenish fresh oxygenated blood which is what we call “deep breathing” or the “healing breath.” Practicing yoga challenges the mind and body to gradually “let go” of the past and move forward with purpose.
Through studying yoga, we learn to move at our own pace, doing what the body is able to initiate, enhancing each posture with practice. The rhythm of initiating yoga postures is like a wave “flowing with intensity,” thereby integrating postures into everyday activity. Yoga is not necessarily slow moving, but at any pace, it is intense, generating body heat from within. When we practice yoga, we don’t turn up the thermostat in the room for “Hot Yoga” we ignite the “fire from within” to burn calories and release negative energy lodged in tissues, bones and muscles.
If we have established rigid thinking habits, the body may be more rigid in movement. Rigidity in past habit patterns, fed into the body like osmosis, breeds tension and inflexibility, going against our natural desire to flow like a wave with the melodious current of life, both positive and negative. When we concentrate on the present moment, we are rewarded with good feelings. We transmute “the negative” into positive action. We grow stronger.
“The sense organs are like animals which instinctively imitate their master. If the master is weak, the sense organs follow suit. We have to control the mind before we can control the body” (The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali).
Physical evolution of the body takes time and patience, especially if we have established long term habits that are not beneficial to our health or we have infirmaries that restrict free movement. We need to focus attention on our purpose, goals and how we can actively achieve them each day.
These “new to yoga” students: Mie Mie, Sally Christina and Kaci are rotating their central core into a twist, as they lengthen a long arm down the bent leg, reaching the opposite arm into the sky. This pose, “Revolved Triangle,” challenges us to lengthen, hold the pose in the correct form and continuing to breathe deeply into each body part with the left leg forward, extending the back leg straight and balancing in the posture. It is not an easy pose but these ladies generate proactive energy to maintain it, allowing the body time to relax while breathing deeply into the movement. Good for them!
Yoga is a challenge and a “feel good” relief, building strength and flexibility and integrating “yoga flow” into everyday activity with ease and grace.