Steadiness and ease

I remember quite well when I heard this for the first time; it was in my teacher training and my only thought was: now she (my teacher) lost her mind.

I was sweating my heart out, my concentration at a peak, my muscles sore, my entire body a mess of tension. Ease? Really? I rather felt like made of concrete, ease was a term I wasn’t even dreaming of!

It took some time to get an idea of what this means, to find steadiness and same time ease in a posture. Stability and consistency without effort. When holding a posture, while being in correct alignment, there’s a certain moment when it feels just easy, almost like a relief! This is ease.

The best postures to understand the concept of steadiness and ease for me are headstand and handstand. There is this moment, when all of a sudden you feel weightless, your body is in every detail in the right alignment. As if you can stay forever in this posture, almost levitating.

This happens when it all comes together: concentration and an inward view through drishti (focus point), proper ujjayi breath, stability through activating  the bandhas and correct alignment. For me it’s additionally about not thinking how to do a pose, but just do it. 

Then your yoga starts.

Yoga is about…

Last weekend I attended a workshop and the key message was: yoga is about alignment with your vital state, the living spirit. The book I’m currently reading says, yoga is about the search for space. I’ve got a lot of yoga books, lots of different words, that explain what yoga is about. On this webpage, you’ll find my thoughts on what yoga is. Who’s right? Everybody. Are we lost in translation? Honestly, don’t let anybody tell you what yoga is. You define it. Put it in words, what yoga means to you. In your own words. We might all think more or less the same, but articulate it differently, using different words. For your understanding your words are key, as the devil is in the detail. Whatever your definition is, just don’t put it in stone, but rethink from time to time.

In todays practice my mind wandered a lot. Millions of thoughts, far away from my mat. I didn’t had any focus and was internally complaining, that all of a sudden I wasn’t able to go deep into certain postures any longer. I heard myself and started laughing. It’s not just about my limitations today, I wasn’t practicing yoga at all. Just doing postures, I wouldn’t even call them asanas.

And this is what makes the difference in my practice: as soon as I’m connected, listening to my Ujjay breath, keeping my bandhas activated, I’ll be in my flow. When my focus goes internal, I follow my rhythm, I’m practicing yoga, I’m practicing a moving meditation. Today was exercise. Which is ok. I’ll be back tomorrow!