The other day I was sitting in a vinyasa yoga class waiting for the teacher to start when a woman walked in behind me. She rolled out her mat with a loud "thwap" and then dropped her blocks with a thud on the ground. I could hear her sit down heavily and take a drink out of a crinkly water bottle.
In an attempt to be kind, I thought, "This woman doesn't have very good body awareness......poor thing is probably just clumsy."
When class started, I was aware of her movements behind me. She moved quickly and noisily into the poses. I couldn't see her until we moved our mats to the wall for forearm stand. While most of the students were still positioning their mats against the wall, the woman had already kicked up vigorously into the pose.
What I saw next really surprised me. While I assumed the "poor clumsy" woman would be flopping all over the place trying to get into this advanced pose, she was actually holding a nearly perfect forearm stand.
Although she had learned to execute her poses beautifully, the manner with which she arrived there caused her to miss the most important teaching of the practice of vinyasa yoga.
Vinyasa means, "to place in a special way".
The idea is to approach the yoga practice with intention, awareness, and grace from start to finish. And not just the poses, but the whole class. The way you enter a room and set up your mat is as important as the way you move from pose to pose, which is as important as the way you gather your things to leave the room when class is over.
When we practice in this manner, the entire experience becomes a "moving meditation". Our deliberate and conscious movements create a focus and stillness in our minds despite the dynamic and changing environment of not only the class, but our bodies as well.
According to yoga philosophy, when we have a still mind, we are connected to our center, which is the source of peace, love, and knowing. Some yogis would even call this our personal connection to the Divine or God.
The philosophy and practice of yoga is intended to help us improve our lives.
Moving through a dynamic and challenging yoga practice with intention, awareness, and grace, can teach us to move through our dynamic and challenging lives with the same intention, awareness, and grace.
Our relationship with ourselves and others will surely improve if we approach whatever we are doing in "a special way". Whether we are cooking a meal, listening to a friend, communicating with coworkers, practicing yoga, or entering a room, we should be aware of our thoughts, words, and actions from beginning to end as we move through the experience.
"How you climb up a mountain is as important as how you get down it. So it is with life. In the end, it all comes down to grace."
All Abhyasa Ahimsa Aparigraha Asmita-Ego Attachment Baron Baptiste Beginner's Mind Bramacharya Carl Jung Clear Seeing Colorless Comfortable Discomfort Creating Spaciousness In Mind And Body Cultivate The Opposite Deepak Chopra Dharma Empty Your Cup Enthusiasm Equanimity Family Fight Or Flight Great Vows Inner-awareness Inner Critic John Kabbatzinnb2faff332d Listening Mirrors To Ourselves Monkey Hunting Non Stealing Patanjali Pause Pillar Pleasure And Pain Posseses Us Practice Pratipaksa Bhavana Pratyahara Present Moment Present Moment Awareness Respond Instead Of React Samadhi Samskara Santosha Satya Sauca Sensual Pleasures Shadow Side Spirituality Steadiness And Ease Sthira And Sukha Strength Sustained Attention Svadhyaya There You Are Thich Nat Hahn This Too Shall Pass True Self Uncertainty Universal Truth What We Possess Wherever You Go Wisdom Yoga Philosophy Yoga Sutra 1. 14 Yoga Sutra 1.33 Yoga Sutra 2.33 Yoga Sutra 2 37cfe9965fa2 Yoga Sutra 2. 46 Yoga Sutras