Monday, May 9, 2011

The Subtractive Nature of Yoga

Sharon Gannon once said that we can't DO yoga, yoga is our natural state, but we can practice yoga exercises that reveal to us where we are resisting our natural state. The more we practice, the more clear this becomes.

As we practice mindfulness and re-align the body with asanas, as we continue the attentiveness in our daily life, as we eat whole plant-based foods, we cleanse our body and our energy. We lighten the weight of learned suffering, avoidance, stress, expectation. We lessen our karmic load as well, systematically learning to make choices that reflect our inherent oneness. We learn to empower and enrich ourselves and all others with our daily choices. We the more our consciousness expands, we begin to experience deeper and deeper states of inter-being, of oneness.

Many people come into yoga primarilly for the workout or the stretch, but the mental-emotional-energetic impact still effects them. When you cleanse, harmonize, and re-align your body, you optimize the flow of energy through the energy channels (nadis). For every practice you are removing debris and stagnation of energy is dissipated.

If you come into yoga seeking enlightenment or an attractive physique, you are still practicing on both levels. When you consciously embrace the wholeness of the practice you realize faster results. When you dedicate yourself to enlightenment, the other benefits fall into place effortlessly in their own time.

The wholeness to which yoga refers is not an additive wholeness, we are not getting more of something from the outside to make us complete. Rather, it is subtractive, we are removing everything that is not self, not our whole state of harmony. So when we find or tweak some small factor that releases an inspiring burst of joy and energy, and we feel "more ourselves", its not so much that we found a piece of ourselves in the external factor that we experienced, but that we released some form of blockage and became a little freer from non-self debris.

Letting-go, non-resistence (surrender) and open attention are powerful concepts and tools on this journey. Using our mindfulness, we will discover numerous opportunities to release tension, blockages, resistances, limiting mental concepts, opinions, judgements, views and other egoic elements. Pride is another manifestation of ego or false-self. We can learn to exist with the thinnest shred of ego, and be expansive, creative, inspired and free once again.

This is why they say that the seed of enlightenment is within us all, that we all have Buddha-nature. It is our natural state. It is all the heavy, oppressive false ideas and views that we carry that weigh us down, miring us in ignorance. They are like heaps of baggage, distracting us from our reality. To practice yoga and yogic lifestyle is to cast away that baggage, one piece at a time. Slowly, our innate lightness and exapansiveness is revealed.

On this journey the body is a mirror of the state of our energy. As we clear away the false-self, blockages and resistance, we clear away disease, excess weight and imbalance. Slowly, our body comes to reflect the perfect strength, flexibility and harmony that is our true self- expansive, balanced and light.

The more we practice, the more we hasten this process of revelation. Practicing asanas daily and mindfulness all day everyday creates a lifestyle of unfolding the expansive awareness that reveals the true self clearer and clearer every day.


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