What matters most in the process of Yoga is a state of relaxation and an attitude of care. You are learning how to be relaxed in your action. The way in which you practise Yoga should be of great concern.
If you keep plants at home and you care for them they are bound to flourish and grow. The same is true for the body. If you care for your body lovingly through your Yoga practice, then it will grow and become powerful and strong. The same is true for any living thing.
When you give it loving care it will be nourished, without a doubt. If you are careless and use fertilisers and pesticides on your beloved plants then they will suffer. Accordingly, if you are out of touch with the needs of your body, and are unaware of its need for nutrition, cleanliness, and daily maintenance it will suffer as a result. Equally, if you feed your body with negative thoughts, judging how it looks with an attitude of worry and stress then, of course, it will suffer. Learn to care less about how you think it should look and care more about how it should be maintained. Just as you avoid putting unnecessary additives onto your plants, apply the same principle to your body, whether the additives are in the form of chemical medicines or toxic thoughts. Learn to give care to your body in every way including through right practice of Yoga.
Taking care is also about eradicating doubts and fears. When you take care you are not fearful. In the same way as you take care when you put your seat belt on to drive, in the Himalayan Iyengar Yoga method we shorten the front foot in Parsva Utthanasana by bringing the toes of the front foot close to the heel and then pressing down the mounds. This prevents the knee from being strained. We take careful precautions so that we know we are safe. If you are fearful you don’t get anywhere, you practice in a state of uncertainty and doubt. What the Himalyan Iyengar Yoga practice offers are carefully tried and tested precautions that ensure the safety of the practitioner so that they can go forwards with confidence.
In the pose Trianga Mukha Ekha Pada Paschimottanasana some yoga teachers will tell you to abuse the straightness of your body by forward bending all the way down, and they tell you to try and touch the head to the legs. If you do that you are abusing the body by taking away its balance and harmony. Like an addict who is constantly seeking the next fix, your desire overrides the value for working within limitations and with care; the quest for freedom through Yoga is stunted by the ego. Desire creates tension and in Yoga practice we aim to dissolve all tensions. Rather than bending forward with the attitude of succeeding, getting it right, or attaining something, instead bend forward with love and respect. Always respect the straightness of your body. Stop abusing and start caring and then you can watch your body flourish.
Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre
Yoga Master Teacher Sharat Arora
Article derived from the teachings of Yoga Master Teacher Sharat Arora,
5 Day Course, Israel 2015