A posture is achieved when effort stops and the mind is merging meditatively into infinity.
In morden yoga practices, we call the postures asanas. However, following Patanjali’s yoga sutras, the term asana only refers to a seated posture, literally asana meaning „seat“. This could be Padmasana (Lotus pose), or any other seated pose, with the aim to sit firm and still for a longer period of time. Obviously this is not Bharadvajasana, as in the picture!
Interestingly in the early times of yoga, any standing and dynamic postures have rather been named tapas. Studying the yoga philosophy we might find the term tapas translated as devotional austerity, but literally it means „heat“.
So, how comes that we are calling the postures asanas? Shouldn’t tapas be the better matching term for what our physical practice is today? Well, our asana practice today has at least a similar ambition – through steadiness and ease, reaching a state of moving meditation.
Good morning practice!
I played with the 2nd, the intermediate series recently – fuuuuun! While some of the super fancy transitions and advanced inversions are still out of reach for me right now, I was quite surprised that many postures are fully accessible for me and I’am quite close to others.
Someone said once, if you always do the same, you can’t expect different results. Well, I don’t agree when it comes to the yoga practice. In the Ashtanga method we do exactly that, we practice the same sequence, the same postures every day. And with this slide more and more into a moving meditation. But not just that, with practice, the body opens, we go deeper and deeper into the poses. Once in a while I try a posture that I couldn’t access before and notice that all of a sudden I can. Without even working on this specific pose. The body changed.
And I’m transitioning more and more into the next series. A new chapter to start, exciting!
The older I get, the more does my yoga practice change. No, I’m not talking about anything I can’t do anymore, on the contrary, I’m taking about freedom.
The freedom to decide what it means to dedicate myself to a daily practice. Yes, it means to show up. No, it doesn’t mean to practice the full primary series 6 days a week. Well there are weeks when I do exactly this, but the difference is, my dedication is to practice yoga in a way that suits my body needs that particular day.
This means letting go of bondage. I do practice on my mat daily. Without feeling guilty to listen to my body and do exactly what I need that moment. Mindful practice without forcing myself. Some days this might mean practicing yin yoga. Others I might do some sun salutations and a simple flow to get my body long and stretched. It can also mean to just sit in stillness and meditate. Challenging enough! And still most days, I do the full primary series. Some days I think, let’s do a slow flow following some matching music, while some time later I recognize that I’m in the midst of my Ashtanga practice. And it feels great to just move without thinking, led by my body, doing what I love.
I also let go of the need to master advanced postures. I know they will come anyhow when I’m ready. Working on them without pressure and the need to follow the crowd. This too is yoga.
This is what I call freedom. It’s my practice and I stopped judging me. No labels needed, it’s just that, yoga. This is my way to create space in body and mind.
Photo by Nadja Kappeler
Have you ever asked yourself if you are a beginner or advanced yogi? Or even after some time practicing, do you still name yourself a beginner? Read more about this labels in my new article @ Yoga like a Boss (German)!
Was eigentlich definiert einen Anfänger und was einen Fortgeschrittenen?
… Kommt der Ausdruck Anfänger nicht von anfangen? Bin ich dann ein Anfänger, wenn ich gerade anfange etwas zu tun? Was, wenn ich hyperflexibel bin und ich schon in meiner ersten Yogastunde zur Brezel werde? Und meine Matten-Nachbarin mich beeindruckt fragt, wie lange ich das geübt habe, bin ich dann kein Anfänger mehr?
Umgekehrt, wenn ich nach Jahrelanger Praxis noch immer nicht an meine Zehen komme, bin ich dann noch immer ein Anfänger? Gar ein hoffnungsloser Fall? …