Letting Your Body Show You
How to Do Yoga
Yoga means union of body, mind and breath, with moment to moment awareness of positions, stretches and movements. One definition of mindfulness is re-membering, or reconnecting of the mind with parts of the body. Yoga is often taught in a way where there is a lot of striving and achieving the goal of a particular position. In mindfulness yoga, however, the goal is simply moment to moment awareness of how we approach our limitations, how we react to approaching our limits, whether we tend to be tentative, staying well within our limits (and which is a good idea when we are first starting out in yoga practice to avoid hurting ourselves) or whether we tend to be aggressive and try to overshoot our limits -- and in general how we play at the edge of what we are capable of doing. As we practice, we learn to listen carefully to how our body is asking us to perform postures and stretches; we can let go into the positions, allowing our body to show us how.
Yoga is a marvelous practice for enhancing flexibility, balance, strength and endurance, and in general keeping the body physically fit. Techniques learned can be invaluable for gently mobilizing body tissues after injury. Mindful yoga in a graphically physical way reveals how we can approach our edges, analogous to how we also approach emotional edges in sitting meditation and other forms of mindfulness practice.