Birds eye view of person with legs crossed on a purple yoga mat

Not Just a Physical Practice

I have noticed over the years that some students become disheartened by the physical limitations of their body and consequently give up on their yoga practice. Bizarrely, this often happens when they are on the cusp of making real progress and overcoming the difficulties.

However, the focus on the accomplishment of the pose negates the main purpose of the asana practice. This is what Prashant Iyengar has to say…

‘Asanas are done primarily to change the mental state, the mind-set and then the deeper layers of the mind, up to the consciousness and conscience’. (p11)

To elaborate on this further, some people practice yoga for health and this is often stressed then amplified by our attachment to this outcome. Prashant tells us;

‘ The by product is so enticing that the main aim is not even thought about. ’ (p13)

So when you come along to a yoga class and are faced with your physical obstacles you should also pay attention to the mental state. It is not striving for the perfect pose that is the goal, but in that striving, we are trying to find our own equilibrium, inner peace. Asanas are tools to help this process.

With Iyengar Yoga, you can begin at any age in life and the benefits will be felt. We all have imperfections and if we could do the perfect pose we would perhaps miss the point. The illusion is that we will be happier once we have ‘mastered’ Sirsasana or whatever pose we are trying to perfect. Our body has limitations but our mind has no such constriction. Allow the poses to free your mind and don’t give up.

‘ The ocean between the body and chitta is crossed and penetrated through the technicalities of asanas. ‘ (p20)

Chittavijnana of Yogasanas – Prashant Iyengar

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