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Don’t force it!

February 26, 2010

Upon rolling out my yoga mat this morning, and before I had even settled into my breath and my space, I found myself twisting and contorting my body into advanced poses that my tired and hormonal body was not ready to move into. And although I didn’t hurt my physical self, my deeper sense of self was yearning for a mellow, gentler yoga experience. Feeling floaty and ungrounded, I cut my asana practice short this morning and opted instead to twist and contort my mind into the Yoga Sutras. The Sutras are an ancient yogic text dating to the second or third century AD. I alighted upon Sutra II, 47, which was a perfectly timed reminder to check my ego at the mat.

Yoga pose is mastered
by relaxation of effort,
lessening the tendency
for restless breathing,
and promoting an identification
of oneself as living
the infinite breath of life.

– Patanjali, Sutra II, 47

Time after time I am reminded that yoga is not to be forced upon oneself or others. True, deep, beautiful yoga is found by relaxing one’s body and breath and allowing one’s light to radiantly shine forth. I am grateful to the universe for reminding me of this, and I think that I am now centered enough to step back onto my mat in a way that embraces my inner self.

Have you ever applied force to your physical body, whether in yoga or otherwise? What did you learn from that experience?


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