So, you’re in yoga class practicing asanas, listening to your breath and following along with the instructor. Your eye catches the person next to you and it seems as though they have the most beautiful triangle pose ever. “Does my triangle look like that?” you think to yourself. Peering down you check to see that your front foot is turned out, your back foot is at a 45 degree angle and that your legs are straight. You look to be sure that your belly is pulled in and that your top hand is reaching towards the ceiling. But did you take a moment to notice how it all felt? Often times we can get so caught up in how we think a posture should look, especially with the help of magazines, social media and the like, that we forget to pay attention to how it feels.
Feeling is an integral part of yoga because yoga is about connection and union, not just working through sets of poses. When we take the time to feel, we are drawn into the moment and can better understand our bodies. Is there tightness? A restriction? A release? The practice of yoga calls for our attention every moment (attention not to be confused with judgement). Bring that attention to your hands and your feet, your fingers and your toes. Send it to unique places such as the back of the knee, the ankles or the top of the head. Notice the sensations and slip into your feeling nature.
Next time you lay your mat on the yoga room floor before practice, remind yourself to use all of your senses. Remind yourself that we each wear the poses differently and although the asanas can help us learn a general shape and help move us into a state of connection they are simply a tool to bring about yoga, not the other way around.