Sometimes we can get carried away with trying to perfect ourselves: our health, our mind, our spirit. When this happens we have strayed from the ultimate goal of liberation. There is a fine line between creating a life of peace and creating a life of imbalance be it on the positive or the negative side of the spectrum. Someone who is overly enthusiastic and happy is no better off than someone who is depressed and pessimistic. Both extremes are blocks to enlightenment. Through the path of yoga we work towards balance, towards equalizing opposites. Yoga teaches us to accept our present state and from there we move towards harmony. There is nothing aggressive in yoga practice, only kindness and compassion. The harder we work the further we are from the goal. We do not actively force samadhi (enlightenment), rather, we prepare ourselves through gentle and consistent practice to receive the gift of transcendence.
Yoga Practice: Paschimottanasana (seated forward bend)
This asana (pose) offers rest to an unsettled mind. It is an asana that guides us to our innermost self and allows us to rest there and become acquainted with who we really are. From that knowledge we can learn which steps to take in order to arrive at peace.
- Sit on the floor with legs together and extending in front of you, hips tilting forward (opposite of tailbone tucked under)
- you may sit on the edge of a folded blanket if your lower back is arching
- Inhale, extend your arms overhead
- Exhale as you slowly stretch up and forward as you fold from the hips, stop as soon as you feel your back begin to arch
- Lower your arms
- Head follows the natural curve of the spine
- You may continue folding forward until you feel discomfort in your body
- Stay in the pose for 5 minutes
- Inhale and rise up
- Lay back into savasana (corpse pose) and examine how you feel