Deepening—and Undoing—Our Relationship with Yoga Poses

Deepening—and Undoing—Our Relationship with Yoga Poses

What can we learn from yoga when we let go of how our bodies look while doing it?

The way your body looks is irrelevant to yoga because your body is going to change. When you accept that you’re in a constant state of change, it means that you can’t hold on to what your body’s condition is at any given time. At a minimum, your body is going to grow older. It’s also going to get injured. Regardless of what your body looks like, showing up for the practice is crucial because it allows you to be okay with all of those changes.

When the focus of our practice is only the postures, that obsession over maintaining the body mutates. It becomes: I have to practice yoga every day so that my body stays exactly the same, so that it gets firm and hard. But it’s not, you know? Your body is still softening. It’s ripening. Like cheese, like wine, it is getting older, and that’s a good thing. The whole point of this life is to age. That’s that your greatest crescendo, aging.

“The way your body looks is irrelevant to yoga because your body is going to change.”

When you are practicing yoga just to show up and breathe—because at the end of it, the whole purpose is to connect to the breath, the prana, the energy that connects all living beings and that moves through this life—then even the postures are just opportunities to breathe. Every posture, especially in a difficult flow, is just preparing you for the stillness that comes at the end of the practice.

All of this to say that you can get hung up on the postures, and they can be the only reason you’re showing up, but you still end up at the breath. And by connecting to yourself, you still end up living this practice that transcends what your body looks like right now. And it creates a sense of freedom so that you’re not as encumbered by the idea of what you have been or what you once were, and you can accept who you are.

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Rachel Meadows

Rachel Meadows

Trending topics news writer who enjoys cooking, walking her dog and travel.