If your intention for the time set aside to practice yoga is for purification of your energy channels and cultivating gratitude and joy, consider this …
Nothing is so strong as gentleness,
nothing so gentle as real strength.
– St. Francis de Sales
Like water, be gentle and strong. Be gentle enough to follow the natural paths of the earth and strong enough to rise up and reshape the world.
– and that “world” referred above does not have to always mean to conquer the world, it can mean that of our inner world to really get to know with loving kindness … using multitude of meditation technique that resonates with you. Oftentimes in this busy world that prioritizes productivity and efficiency to trump all other virtues, that inner world is ignored, by-passed over the external validation…that cycle diminishes our immune system, our comfort … ultimately, that kind of life diminishes our energy. Our energy level in an ideal state is vibrating and pulsating with vibrant energy when you need to really switch to “ON” setting. So carving out the time and space to re-direct our attention, to re-focus on a journey of self-mastery yoga allows us to embark upon…
First … like with any travel plans, we need an itinerary, a design, a plan within the spontaneity and wonder … at least I do. Need a discipline. Because we don’t have so much time to spend hours doing yoga, why not mix Yang style of yoga or some exercise session (predominantly for muscular strength and cardio-vascular health); offset by Yin style of self-care (focus on fascia, expanding the range of motion – i.e., flexibility, internal organs & nervous system health and meditation weaved in); then some moderately active program that’s not extreme that you can stick with over time. The program can be adjusted to be gentle enough to be consistent with the rest of your activity level so that it’s about long-term supportive and sustaining practice that you can stick with.
Some degree of intensity for some people, sometimes may be needed to wake up the sluggish body and mind; to burn heat for a cardio-workout, muscle strengthening – all good – but something you gradually work up towards … slowly. Then, set aside this time to be kind and loving towards your body to realize who you really are. Clearing the cobwebs in the spaces within; cleansing the space so that then we can sharpen our 5-senses to feel … brainwaves re-calibration and clarity that’s brought on – so precious. So, wait, no rushing, no pushing, no pulling, AND gentle to boot? That is NOT easy … to move fluidly like water … to flow and recede like waves with utter conviction that such flow & ebb cycles are unchanging and eternal. In a world constant with changes and impermanence, cultivate that equanimity, that knowing, that within all of us is that divinity, that spark, that … light … that’s forever – That kind of gentleness, is my intention.
Yoga Book Club anyone? Reading them is great but then comes the actual … practice that balances the efforts with … ease. After all, isn’t that what we are seeking? To ward off dis-“ease”, to feel at ease, to move with ease, to abide in ease, after all the efforts we make for that “shift” and drop into delicious … ease.
For me, approaching yoga not so much as just an exercise regimen but more as a centering practice and a fitness and healing modality. A page out of Timothy McCall MD’s “Yoga as Medicine” shows promising evidence on how “gentle” style of yoga fits into whole lifestyle re-evaluation to promote wholesome wellness. Gentle is not easy.But give it a try.