Yoga poses are intoxicating. The shapes are mesmerizing to witness. They even can be fun to achieve.
The physical attractiveness of the practice lures us to it, especially here in the West. That yoga also can act as exercise makes it even more appealing. This combination makes it perfect for our time.
As a result, the poses have become the focus of the practice, even though this was not the case historically. My guess is that yoga is meeting us where we are to draw more practitioners to it.
This is compassionate of yoga. Not because its poses can give you a strong core, flexible hamstrings, or the ability to do awesome party tricks. But because they can release tension and pain that your body stores from the past.
I will release a secret, something that we do not talk about much in yoga: The poses can wring the past out of us. We store past emotional attachment to pain in our bodies. By manipulating areas of the body that typically receive little movement, yoga poses can purge the past from us.
When many of us come to yoga, our bodies are rigid. They are bound by years – if not decades – of old emotional pain.
If your body is tight, most likely, your mind is too. As you practice poses, your body begins to loosen, and your mind follows.
This is how the poses work their “magic” on us. The poses make us more physically and mentally flexible by lessening our attachment to the past.
As we become more flexible, we can become active participants in letting go of how we were in the past, including the pain that we held. To partner with your poses on purging your past, try the following breath as you move:
- Visualize yourself inhaling into your belly.
- Visualize yourself exhaling down your legs, through your feet and into the ground.
The process of releasing the past might take a little or a lot of time and might cause a little or a lot of discomfort, depending on how much pain you have stored and how willing you are to let it go.
Do not let time or discomfort discourage you from living with less pain. Keep showing up to your practice to keep wringing the past from your body. Let the poses liberate you from your pain.
As you learn to let go of pain, you might notice that life gets easier. As a result, you also might notice that you start to store less pain than you did before.
As you start to live with less pain, you might notice that your life can look just as beautiful as the poses. You can feel as intoxicating as they look.
This lighter way of being can be just as mesmerizing as the poses. It too even can be fun to achieve.
A Maur Unity collaboration, edited by Maura Bogue