Yoga Related Tips
The essence of Hatha Yoga is symbolized in the word Hatha.
‘Ha’ means sun and ‘Tha’ means moon in Sanskrit. You bring two opposite qualities to bear on each posture: relaxation (Tha) and effort (Ha). Noticing how you do this as you do a posture is all you need to ‘know’. Believe it or not, it is just that simple.
The body will tend to either relax or effort itself naturally. For example, when you are doing a forward bend your knee caps can tend to relax and your face can tend to tighten. Your task is to notice what you tend to do naturally, and do the opposite. That probably sounds bizarre and un-natural, eh? Think of this process as no different than when the sage desires not to desire. Desiring not to desire is going against what comes naturally, i.e., the original desire.
So, in the example above, doing the opposite of what comes naturally means ‘tighten’ your knee caps and ‘relax’ your face. Relax what involuntarily tenses and tense (put effort into) what involuntarily relaxes (goes lazy). The graceful ability to be more passive in action, and more active in passivity helps you maintain overall equilibrium throughout life.
Naturally, there are potential problems with this approach, all of which stem from going to extremes! Watch your emotions,… a gentle and gradual approach plays a fundamental role in this process. This is something you return daily to face for the rest of your life. There is no hurry, but do seize the moment… it is all you truly have.
Are you sometimes tempted to skip your yoga…
(or what ever your daily ‘rut’ is) and just get on with it – the day? This is a by-path most of us have. In fact, though, ‘ruts‘ such as this are how we can outflank life. This may sound odd at first, until you consider life a low level war of sorts. In war, the reason a superior general wins battle after battle is that he is able to outflank his opponent. Ironically though, his first opponent is his own desire. Thus, to win a battle, a commander must first drop the desire to ‘just get on with it‘, and in patience be as be as careful at the end as at the beginning. We are our own worst enemy in life. This same principle applies to all of life really, e.g., investing in the stock market, raising children, diet…
A Simple Secret To Success In Yoga
Every day do at least ONE posture, like Utthita Trikonasana (extended three angle posture). See posture #3 , on page 13. This ‘less is more’ approach can, in the long run, lead to what you truly want out of life, both in yoga and in general.
I’ve suggested this to people having a problem keeping up a daily yoga routine. Doing just one posture takes only a minute or two; nothing could be easier! Yet, curiously, I’ve never known anyone capable of doing this. This may be due to our generally ‘all or nothing’ approach to life. The irony is that doing just one a day consistently is a way of letting our wheels move only along old ruts. It is a step along the ‘middle way’, the ‘golden mean’.
The fact is that we are just so driven by our ‘more is better’ biology that returning to ‘less’ is almost impossible for us to put into practice. The Tao Te Ching points to this clearly in, My words are very easy to understand and very easy to put into practice, yet no one in the world can understand them or put them into practice.
This is a very sobering dilemma indeed.