What I Notice a Lot in Yoga
Often when I teach yoga or rather Serenity Yoga, I see many struggling and fighting to achieve yoga poses. Often I see an internal struggle and tension between all opposing muscle groups going on inside people. I see people trying to stretch far beyond what their body wants to allow for now and I ask why that is. So what is yoga really about and how do we practice what I like to call “Serenity Yoga”?
There seems to be a somewhat natural tendency for most people to want to achieve in everything they do. Therefore, yoga practice does not escape from the pursuit of achievement. My hallucination is that one of the causes for this is that the understanding of yoga for many people is limited to its physical form. But yoga is much more than just physical stretching and strength. If we wanted that, we could also get that in a gym or by learning gymnastics.
Serenity Yoga Principles
From my understanding, a lot of the struggle can be removed from yoga practice if these yoga principles are incorporated and made part of every yoga practice session:
1) Precise Structural Alignment
2) Learning how to Create Relaxation from Tension
3) Mastery of Breathing
If these yoga principles were taught and emphasized more during yoga classes, I believe it would lead to a more relaxed form yoga – Serenity Yoga. Of course in order for this to work, these yoga principles must be kept in focus and be made the foundation of every yoga practice.
By focusing of the yoga principle of attaining precise structural alignment instead of how much more one can stretch, how much lower one can bend or twist, then improvements can be made much faster. Why? Because by aligning the body’s structure and joints properly in a yoga pose, the flow of blood and energy through the joints would be smoother and more free, encouraging healing, lengthening and realignment of muscles and joints faster.
Again, instead of trying to do too much too soon during yoga practice, if one were to use the mind more and use awareness to really go inside the body, see and feel every muscle, then one could practice and cultivate the art of creating relaxation out of tension. The only reason we get opposing muscles fighting each other as we lower or bend our bodies into yoga poses is because we haven’t developed enough muscle and nerve sensory acuity and awareness. That causes more muscles than necessary to contract and engage in yoga poses. Therefore if we actually use our mind and build awareness of each muscle, each cell in our body we can actually get to a point where we use just enough. This form of yoga practice and develop awareness of the body this way leads to a sense of ease even in the most strenuous of yoga poses and Serenity Yoga.
And finally, if mastery of breathing in yoga poses is encouraged and emphasized in yoga practice then this too will lead to more relaxation and ease in each yoga pose. Breath is life. Mastering breath equals the mastery of the life force, the essence that keeps you alive. Learning to breathe and use breath very specifically and making this part of not only yoga practice but life, allows you to learn to direct where you want the life force within you to go and how it should be used. If you keep developing this, it is even possible to breathe that life force into an area of tension and then breathe tension out.
Obviously this article is just a short introduction to the multitude of possibilities available to us through consistent yoga practice but the main thing to realize is that there is more to yoga when one applies these yoga principles and that it leads to a kind of Serenity Yoga.