When a Yogi Loses Her Asana

October 10, 2018

When a yogi loses her asana, the whole world can come crumbling down.

Us in the West have a tendency to be rather, peculiar, when it comes to our yoga practices. Because so much of our current cultural values (albeit changing ones) honor beauty, fitness, and the appearance of health, we become obsessed with the physical practice of yoga and how well we perform the poses, as if we are trying to achieve some goal beyond “being here now.”

If we were here, now, we’d more times than not realize that we are exhausted from trying to keep up the physical fitness regimen of an 18 year old triathlete and turn to a true practice of restoration, relaxation, and healing.

We would turn to practices like sage burning and house cleaning and lovemaking and tea drinking and nature walking and soaking up all that is beautiful and good in the pleasant, quiet moements of our world. We would realize that we have been burning ourselves with our firey practices that haven’t taken a rest in years. We’d let ourselves slow down. But, if you’re running from something within yourself, slowing down may be the last thing you want to do.

And so, much in the same way any addiction ends, yogis reach a point in their obsessive asana practices where the need to stop and feel takes priority over the physical practice. Asana can become unsustainable when practiced with too much force, too much effort, and not enough ease. You may have numbed yourself to the “backbend high.” The elation you once felt nailing side crow pose must now be found elsewhere. You can no longer take pride in your tripod headstand transition into crow pose. You must stop. You must feel. You must stare whatever is scaring you straight in the face and realize that what you fear is not you. It is simply a fear. Name it. See it. Watch it.

By letting fear control your actions, you let it control you; you let it win. Moving into faith requires a surrender of trust. You do not know what will happen. Truthfully, you never did. You only thought you did.

When you’re down and out and can’t revert to the old avoidance behaviors, you have no other option than to stay.

You will be okay.

In fact, the very thing you have been running from this whole time may be the most powerful energy you’ve ever felt- the energy of your self.

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