I just read this on yogamodern.com and found it pretty interesting.
“Sometimes, as yogis, we pay too much attention to the mind and the spirit. Yoga ultimately is a union between the mind, body and the spirit. But there can be no union of the three if there is no love for one–in this case, the body. Many of us meditate for hours on end, chant, light incense etc., all in an attempt to escape what we see to be the least important of the trinity. We practice a modern and, at times, damaging form of self-flagellation in order to prove that we have mastery over our bodies.
But this perspective is flawed. The body does not imprison the spirit, it houses it; the body doesn’t keep the spirit from expressing itself, it magnifies its creativity and gives it a medium with which to shine. But this is only possible if there is as much love for the body as there is for the mind and the spirit. If there is no love for the body, if there is only begrudging acceptance, then there can be no union, there can be no yoga.”
What great perspective. I know that there have been times on my own mat where I got frustrated with my performance because of an injury or low energy/flexibility and my inner critic stepped right up to point out the flaws or inadequacies in my practice. Rather than disconnect from the physical, I would point the proverbial finger at it. Blaming my body for not pulling its weight in the mind/body/spirit trifecta. I’m certainly not perfect, but as I continue to grow with my practice, I recognize how very humbling yoga truly is on a regular basis. Some practices are awesome, others… not so much. But I’ve grown to love that about it and dig in to the “research” that comes with my practice. What can I learn today? And with every savasana, I accept that it’s an opportunity to let go of that practice and leave myself open for the next.
I’ve also discovered that it truly doesn’t matter what style of yoga you practice–if you are a classic “over-achiever” or Type A person, very often, you’ll pull that part of you into your practice. You’ll expect a lot of yourself and potentially beat yourself up for any short-comings. Your practice may be a little punishing. You may identify yourself by your practice, usually by the most visible means–your body and its capabilities.
Like those yogis who elevate their spiritual and mental practice over that of their bodies, those who may focus their attention on the physical aspect of the practice also need a gentle reminder of what yoga is: mind, body and spirit coming together as one beautiful union. So, when you roll out your mat next time, make sure all three show up with you!