Hatha Yoga, the branch of
yoga that's focused on connecting (“yoking”
**) our bodies and minds through physical movement is not just, or even
primarily, about holding poses. Rather,
it is about transitioning into, through, and out of poses in a way that enables
us to feel fully connected to the whole experience. And while it is
important to attend to the physical dimensions of these transitions - the parts
that involve activating muscles and balance while attending to safety and
comfort concerns – setting our attention
on being present and conscious as we find and release one posture after another is a key aspect
of the Hatha Yoga experience, one that
can be as challenging as it is rewarding and often more challenging than the
When we dwell primarily on the physical aspects of the pose, the notion
that we are doing these poses or not doing these poses right or "good enough" may become dominate. On "good days," we may notice how stress-free, graceful or energized we feel - and our egos celebrate! On "less than good days," we may feel stiff, less capable, and disappointed in our inability to hold poses in the way we feel we should. When our yoga practice becomes about judging ourselves rather than experiencing and accepting ourselves, our capacity for yoking our minds and bodies together into a state of greater awareness and harmony becomes less available.
By anchoring our practice purely in the physical aspect, we miss the benefits of being present and focused in the
moments between poses, the moments in which we can become deeply conscious of ourselves
and the journey we are taking from one present moment to and through the next. It is this journey through a series of conscious moments that can connect us to a deeper sense of harmony, flow, grounded-ness and, most importantly, a
welcoming awareness and acceptance of who we are.
Training ourselves to feel a sense of "arrival" in the
moment – every moment - and not just at points of perceived destination is worthy of our best
So as we transition from one season to another, from summer
into fall, from August into September, let's challenge ourselves to focus on yoga as a practice of peaceful transitions, strengthening and stretching our physical practice as
well as our hearts and minds.
Enjoy the August wild flowers.
** Yoga, a word from ancient
Sanskrit, is derived from “yoking
together” as in yoking oxen or horses.