by Julee Yew-Crijns
Yoga asana practice is very much a moving meditation. It is a way to connect to that stillness within that yogis call bliss: the state from which life originated, that is within each and everyone of us. Just as there are many layers in our thoughts, so too are there many layers of experiencing our body. In my experience, piercing through these layers of experience begin to connect you to an awareness within where the lines begin to blur as to whether you are still experiencing something physical, something conscious or something more – like energy perhaps, or prana, your life force? Call it what you like, this place is a place of blissful awareness.
Adding the vinyasa element to your practice can help you connect to your practice in this way. One of the meanings of vinyasa is ‘to consciously place in a special way’. It is a practice of mindfulness that can be honed using various “tools”. Where, how, when to place the eyes, ears, thoughts, breath, body or how to hold your space, your attention, your calibration, when things get interesting.
It is not so much about making shapes; although there is nothing wrong with this as this is part of experiencing the layers of the body. It is about experiencing how the breath, body and mind takes you there and what happens when you are there, sitting in that energetic space. As we move through the layers of experience, more possibilities begin to open up. It is an endless field of feeling! Each posture is a mudra, with its own energetic connotation. There is also an excitement about meeting challenging postures: finding new physical, mental and energetic connection through them.
However, there are kramas. These are steps. And our entire practice should also follow the kramas, only taking more when we are ready, when it is time.
When you have connected to your energy in this “special” way, you tap into your fluid strength. This is a place where effort begins to look effortless, where strength feels light, power feels soft and you feel like you are tapped into a boundless supply of energy.
When you practice in this way, you are always practicing, even when you step off your mat. It becomes a part of your consciousness. A way to twist and turn and adjust with your space, so that there are less moments of feeling stuck, on and off your mat.