My dear friend and I walked along a trail earlier this month. We talked yoga, as we often do. Spirituality. Beliefs. Change. Though new to yogic philosophy, he naturally embodies it. Reading. Learning. Living it, honestly and truthfully.
"You should start your asana practice," I tell him.
The words come out of him slowly. "I want to wait until I know more."
"You just have to... begin," I say. "It'll help you with the rest."
But how does something our culture sees as exercise – or stretching – help with philosophy? Spirituality, even? Asana's roots extend far deeper than what many of us experience or see in studios. Yes, asana builds flexibility and strength. Lets us touch our toes. Provides us with exercise. But its origin...its origin is as a tool. As a beautiful, loving, practical way to ground the body for meditation. Prepare for periods of sitting and stillness. Quiet the mind. Love. Be.
After all, silence the internal dialogue and chatter, and you are in the middle of yoga. The middle of everything. Life. Suddenly, in your vinyasa, the past is the past and the future is not even a thought. There is no mourning. No analyzing. No wondering. Just presence. Tranquility. Serenity.
BKS Iyengar, founder of Iyengar yoga said, "The body is the bow, asana is the arrow, and the soul is the target."
So, friend, time to step on your mat.