Tuesday, December 27, 2011
No, it's not grease lightning. It's yoga! The practice of yoga is a systematic approach to finding more joy and freedom in all that we do. Instead of just going to class and shouting, "I want to be free and happy", we break down this lofty intention into steps with a specific method, thus making it more accessible. I was thinking about this in relation to New Year's resolutions. For me, I can't just say I want to do something and then try to do it. A systematic (and usually very specific and detailed) plan helps me to break down the resolution into smaller components and makes it seem like I can actually do it. For instance, one of my resolutions is to post on my "Mat as Microcosm" blog 6 days per week. Instead of just saying this and then hoping I do it, I have to make an appointment with myself each of those 6 days (preferably at the same time each day), choose a location that is suitable for writing, generate (and jot down) ideas throughout the week that may provide good blog material, choose one of those ideas and write!
One of the reasons I love Anusara yoga is because of the systematic approach. "An elegant, concise set of alignment principles called the 'Universal Principles' of Alignment™' is applied to each asana (pose)" (John Friend). The five main principles briefly described are 1) Open to Grace-pause and take a breath and remind yourself of the big picture, your highest purpose; 2) Muscular Energy-conscious engagement of the muscles and drawing energy from the periphery to the core of the body; 3) Inner Spiral-an expanding spiral action that helps to open and free the hips and low back; 4) Outer Spiral-a contracting spiral that helps to tone and stabilize the lower body; 5) Organic Energy-extending energy from the core to the periphery of the body. The alignment principles are really just a subset of the Anusara methodology. The whole practice is a beautiful system to help you feel more alive, awake and connected. Anusara teachers don't just say "do it"; they explain HOW to do it step by step and you can really feel it working.
In my teaching this month, I will be going through the alignment principles (focusing on one each week) and emphasizing how each principle builds on the previous one to enhance your experience. Please join me and delight in the benefits of the SYSTEM. And who knows, you may find that a systematic approach to all of your New Year's resolutions enhances their possibility and accessibility.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!