Exquisite Asana

Sivananda Ashram, Kerala
Sivananda Ashram, Kerala

Here are some ‘exquisite’ words of Swami Sivananda Radha, a western female devotee of Swami Sivananda, about asana. The right words can express something so simply and beautifully without the fluff we hear a lot of in yoga classes these days, and indicate a deeper understanding of the process of yoga. Certainly, yoga is not ‘fluff’. Hope you enjoy:

All yoga postures are designed to create new patterns of sensation in the body that affect the nervous system and the mind, in such a way that we’re invited to enter into these patterns of sensation as a meditative exercise. [The] pattern gives rise to feelings that are uncomfortable, so we do everything we can to stay out of the internal form of the [asana], because it challenges the mind.

Our mind is filled with preferences [likes and dislikes]. The [asanas], when done well, push and pull on you like this. But what they are pushing and pulling on are your stories about yourself, and your stories about the body, and your memories, and very deep and old emotions.

What happens when you enter into the [asana] with steadiness and ease is that your effort relaxes, and the mind softens. Instead of saying, “There is me and my leg,” there’s just leg, different rotations in the bones, feelings in the muscles, and that just becomes energy. The energy does not belong to me or mine – suddenly the energy is just the natural world expressing itself as your leg. And then, as Patanjali says, the body and universe are indivisible”.

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