This is what yoga is, a conversation with the only thing in your life that is truly yours...the wise body you live in. So we step on our mats, and find that our practice is an opportunity to deepen our relationship with this body, by listening to what it tells us when we move and breathe and stretch.
It’s easy to ignore what we hear, because the voice of the mind is insistent, and rarely satisfied. When we focus on the mind’s desires, it becomes easy to push and force ourselves, in an effort to achieve better, stronger, different forms than the ones we have now. This damages our relationship with the body, because we say with our actions that we will withhold respect and love for a day in the future when the mind is satisfied. In 1982, Jayne Fonda introduced the infamous phase, “no pain no gain” in her aerobics videos, and our culture assimilated the idea. Causing pain and using force to reach a goal become the way we encountered movement and strength and flexibility.
Today can be different. We can begin to be aware of what we’re feeling, as we feel it. Whether we choose to roll out our yoga mats, be aware of warm water on our skin as we shower, or notice the taste and texture of an apple...we are remembering that our bodies love our own attention. We are then embodying the very definition of yoga: Union. Our mind and body and soul unifies. When our mind’s attention focuses on the experience of the body, our soul sings...then we come together, then we come home.