What I Don’t Love About Yoga

I don’t love all the emphasis on postures and doing postures perfectly.

I don’t love the obsession with achieving the “aesthetic” goals of yoga: The high arching backbends, the Yoga-Journal-perfect expression of Side Crow.

I realize there are also functional goals in yoga, like being able to balance, or getting stronger or more flexible, but to tell the truth, I’m not all that concerned with functional goals either.

I am not all that interested in the body practice of yoga.

The only thing I am interested in is using my body to help me gain mental clarity, or become a more creative problem-solver, or to achieve altered states of consciousness (through intense pranayama,).

And that’s it.

I am not that into yoga postures, but I am totally committed to yoga as a life hack.

I like trying out the insights I get on my mat in my real life and seeing how they play out, how successful they are in allowing me to express myself authentically.

But don’t get me wrong. I’ve gone through intense phases where I was hell-bent on trying to master certain postures. And that was fun, if only because the disciplined day-after-day work made me suppler and stronger.

But the body is just the vehicle for insight, and I don’t think it should be the sole focus of attention in a practice.

I now practice the kind of yoga that uses the body to try to find unexplored channels of energy inside myself. It’s a lot like like personal spelunking. And I often need a headlamp. (It’s mighty dark in that cave.)

I also appreciate that the payoff for all this physical practice is that it gives me tons of energy to keep my personal projects moving forward in the world.

  And I love the daily discipline of practice. I especially like how when I hit my mat consistently, day after day, with an attitude of curiosity, I start to realize things.

Things like: how large the universe is and how small I am; or how long time is, but how briefly I get to experience it.

Then what happens is that the way I talk, and act, and think, and spend my time, changes. It changes to align with these realizations.

It has to. It has no choice.

The body practice of yoga allows me to test how much and where I can open up more energy streams in my body.

Recently I was talking to someone about my  finances and she advised that if I wanted to become richer, I needed to open up more “income streams.”

It’s the same thing with yoga. The more energy streams I can open up in my body, the more alive I can be. And the more alive I can be, the richer my life is in all its possibilities.

And that, I believe, is my best shot at accessing my full human potential.

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