The short answer.. when our practice no longer serves the ego.
The long answer.. yoga becomes Yoga when the mind functions as a ‘sense’ organ. Just like the nose smells, and the tongue tastes, the mind of a Yogi locates. We sense ourselves here and now: in time and space.. in moment. We live in the power of our own presence.
A yoga practice is a process of experiencing the tensions of past and future (time): we practice to feel.. for example, how the front body projects forward (toward future) and the back body (our past) strains to support us, as we fall away from the centre of gravity (from the here and now).
In Yoga, the mind practices to establish boundaries, whether that be an inner thigh or an outer calf; to establish anchors, like a back heel, so that expansion and extension reference MOMENT. The mind learns to check it self because it recongises ignorance. Life becomes action arising from situational intelligence rather than reactions based on imagination or delusion. We practice as a path to re-member how to remain present. Practice is a process within which we come to understand our fears and desires. It is the place where we learn to check our habitual tendencies.
Only when we are sick of the suffering, when we have reached a place where actions and effort feel hollow or meaningless; or the thrill is just not that big a thrill anymore; or when happiness is mixed with self-doubt and we find ourselves on auto pilot; when we feel brave enough to admit even one of these things to ourselves about ourselves, then we are ready to pose the question of contentment, forgiveness and a life of peace, then we are tilling the soil in which a yoga practice can spout Yoga.
Yoga exists as a state of being within all of us. We often though do not recognise this, and so we have no sense of the body as fertile ground. Rather our earth (our body) gets either flooded with emotion that rips away the nutrient from the soil, or mental hardness dries our (body) earth that makes it impossible for love to flourish.
In moment, when mind is disciplined and courageous enough to remain present, action is from the experience of arising: from the base of a pose; from the reflexive force of gravity. Actions from the arising are possible when there is space in our mental fluctuations – space between the rise and fall of thoughts. Beyond the thinking mind, we act in congruence with the requirements of each situation of life. In this way we learn to experience peace.
Interested to study with Polly?
Polly is teaching a 7 day retreat in Woodgate Beach. This retreat is suitable for students of hatha yoga who have at least 2 years experience. It commences Monday 9th November 2020. The last session finishes around lunch time on Sunday 15. There is a lot of holiday accommodatin in Woodgate so a perfect opportunity to link up with some othe yogi friends.
Yoga provides a context in which teens, living in a sea of peer pressure, performance stress and emotional change, learn restraint and self reflective awareness. This course for teenagers aged between 12 and 15 years of age, will both challenge and nourish them.
Facing the Gestapo at his door, the man spoke with confidence and authority, “No Jews here”. The man was of course lying. A family of Jews had been living in the basement for many months. An exploration of why internal clarity and inner authority is necessary to navigate life.
Due to poor balance I had never consider yoga was for me as the images most often seen in posters and magazines show perfect bodies with amazing balance. October 2014 a few weeks before my 71st birthday I walked into my first yoga class. I have been asked “is it worth all the effort at your age?" My answer is “YES” yoga is even more important as we age. Seniors have experienced a life time of stress, raising a family, paying the mortgage, working at our chosen careers as well as balancing a family household. We have all experience grief, loosing grand parents, parents, aunts and uncles now at age 76 I am loosing cousins and life long friends. Our bodies have endured a life time of wear and tear from injuries, poor posture due to sitting and working at desks and repetitive actions such as housework and gardening.Yoga is ideal for all seniors even those with physical limitations, in our classes it can be quite normal to have several variations of a pose to suit individual needs. Learning to work with your body not against it is the same challenge regardless of age. Nursing several old injuries I do not want to add to them, I am very grateful to have well qualified teachers who are attentive to my needs and dedicated to keeping all students safe whilst practising. Yoga is not a quick fix for all ailments, I still experience some back and ankle discomfort but now rarely need to take pain medication. Today I am sleeping more soundly but occasionally still have a restless night. My time management has improved although at times I still talk to myself and loose focus. The big difference is I feel I am in control of my afflictions they are not controlling me. I am coping better and with my regular yoga practise I hope to prevent my health concerns from becoming chronic. Hopefully I can reach savasana with less suffering and with more dignity than my mother. Joan