Asanas and the Art of Being

My instagram feed is a steady stream of one gorgeous yoga post after another, a constant source of inspiration. And, if I am honest, a little bit of yoga envy. Sometimes, I get so enamoured by how beautiful a pose looks, that I forget to enquire what it’s all about.

Every pose has a purpose – either to strengthen or stretch a particular group of muscles, to help your alignment, to cleanse and energise or to go deeper with your breath and find your centre. Or all of the above.

Following that purpose has nothing to do with how a pose looks from the outside but how you approach it from the inside.

The goal is not to ‘do’ the pose but to ‘be’ the pose. With awareness and focus. To find that sweet spot where the world disappears, and you are left with nothing but your breath. Where the ‘doing ‘ceases and the ‘being’ happens.

sthiram, sukham, asanam.
Stable and comfortable is true asana.
YogaSutra

Being comfortable in the posture and in our ability at any given point in time, being focussed on the purpose, feeling grounded, being calm in the mind but alive in our hearts is the true measure of asana practice. That is what heals, strengthens and transforms us. This is true whether you are just sitting still and breathing or standing on your head.

As I progress on my own yoga journey, many poses like touching my toes in Paschimottanasana are tantalisingly out of reach. But, I remind myself that I am not trying to practice the art of doing beautiful poses, it is in fact the opposite. I am trying to practice the art of being.

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