YOGA: Right Thought, Right Words, Right Action
Yoga, when taught in its simplicity and entirety is much more than a physical workout or moving through a set of postures or ‘asana’. It is a subtle discipline that not only helps us focus and quiet the mind while performing the specific poses, but helps us align our movement with our breath, to strengthen our attention to the present moment.
On an energetic level yoga helps us face the fears and challenges that extend beyond our comfort zones to help us overcome our self-perceived limitations with a sense of peace and calm and balance and the beauty is that, regardless of how ‘imperfect’ we might think any posture we move in to might be, when practiced with the right intention, that posture becomes perfect.
Much more than that, however, yoga is an act of kindness, to ourselves and everything outside of ourselves because with practice and an open mind we soon begin to feel the interconnectedness of all things and gain the knowledge that we are part of something much greater, and can achieve freedom from the pressures and material demands that influence our emotions every day through fulfilling our own potential whilst being gracious to the environment we are part of.
To truly experience yoga or any internal energy practice and reap the full benefits we need to confront our problems at the root to be able to create the necessary groundwork to get us back on track, and that means to live it, to breathe it, and to engage with the planet's inhabitants.
Breath is our essential connection to life force and if we learn to focus on it, it can become our most direct and measurable contact with the present moment. How often, aside from a yoga practice do we become aware of how we breathe and how that affects us? Most of us are probably unaware of what that breath actually is or can do but if we observe it we will realize that neither do we need to seek to avoid it or be eager to chase it. There are many forms of breath control, such as the Pranayama sequences observed by the ancient yoga traditions or newer forms, such as Holotropic or Transformational Breathing, taken in part from these traditions but modified by psychologists looking for answers to certain mental health issues that attempt to help us organize our emotional states. But too often we stress to keep breathing just because taking a pause would mean having to take a deeper look at ourselves.
The breath in its natural state is neutral but by exploring the breath consciously it is possible to open a wealth of experiences, and from yoga, I delved into the breath-hold practice of freediving and through that discovered the Vision Quest journey most closely relevant to me. It can also open up new worlds and a new journey for us if we are curious enough. It is this that I am inviting you to explore with me in breath-hold and in freediving.