Talk at the End of the Asana & Meditation Class
Wednesday, March 9, 2022
Reflecting Daily Life in Practice of Asana:
The Value of Holding
Asana—from the outside it looks like a physical training, we are making forms with the physical body…but one of the things that I am learning through the practice of asana that Shri Mahayogi teaches, is that it is actually a phenomenal training. A training for something that is not really something we can see with our eyes. Asana is training for the breath, the mind, for prana, and ultimately for daily life. Shri Mahayogi teaches us that in asana we are actually taking prana into the body, and many of the small details of the positions are helping to do that and to not let that prana escape, so that we can receive the most benefit possible. Surely this can be of great benefit physiologically. But paying attention to those details, holding the poses, and practicing consistently are the integral building blocks to be able to receive benefit.
Now, one of the challenges in asana is that sometimes, it is not very comfortable or easy to hold. In the midst of experiencing discomfort or challenge, one of the first things we may want to do is: get out! Yet we have to be still, hold it, and bring our mind back to focus on the breath. By doing this again and again, the mind gets stronger and over time, what made us want to “get out of it” at the beginning may not even be noticeable anymore. This is important training for our daily lives. We are constantly faced with circumstances and things that are pleasing and comfortable AND that are displeasing and uncomfortable. When those uncomfortable ones come along, the mind reacts just like in asana—it wants out!—though often times in much more dramatic ways that can also be much more difficult to control or face calmly. There’s no way to avoid uncomfortable circumstances, they come to us all. Without the preparation of training and strengthening the mind through asana, it’s very difficult to do anything but follow the mind’s every reaction, which often leads to trouble!
Through the help of the experience in practicing asana, I think we can learn that, just like in asana, in daily life there’s a value in holding tight and not trying to escape. And asana helps us gain the strength to simply try “not escaping” so we can see for ourselves what happens. For me, it seems that almost always there is a lesson to learn.
Either way, whether in asana or in daily life, paying attention to the instructions or the teachings, trying to apply them again and again, and building strength overtime through consistent training—surely these are the building blocks that are absolutely necessary.
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