Yoga Knowledge – January 2017

Yoga practice and self-transformation

Each practice is a movement into deeper self-transformation. This movement occurs within each breath, each asana, and each practice. “Cultivating a gradual, simple, stable, expanding awakening in this process of self-transformation revolves around continuously coming back to a sense of samasthihi – equanimity in body, breath, mind, and spirit. This gives the asana practice a quality of yoga chikitsa – literally “yoga therapy” – in which the body is restructured and a person’s entire energetic being is refined.” (Stephens 2010)

Here are some practical ways to maximize the benefits of each practice and your movement into deeper self-transformation:

• Rest as you feel the need: calm your breath and energy before resuming your practice; feel a sense of steadiness and ease throughout the class while practicing near the edge of your ability.

• Assess how you are feeling: stay with your intention and sense of samasthihi as you resume the asanas.

• Deepen your meditative experience: practice moving into a sense of stillness at the beginning of class, during asanas, or at the conclusion of the asana practice.

• Moving off the mat: reflect on how you are moving, breathing, thinking, and feeling – be conscious and present in the next transition – back out into the world.

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