I have kept up with my daily practice nearly every day this year. I got a running start at the end of December, so it’s been longer, but I feel like January 1st is the best day for delineation. Keeps the math easy. It’s the day I broke up with 3 different men/boys, quit smoking, quit refined sugar, and took up yoga. The questionable longevity of each accomplishment does not slander good name of New Year’s Day. It’s when people find a way to summon resolve and (hopefully) push through obstacles.
Today, I went through a basic series of poses and then laid still for over 5 minutes. I rested in savasana and felt my whole body relax. I have trouble settling my mind long enough to appreciate my relaxed body. It takes a special mix of patience and faith. It’s possibly the hardest thing to learn in yoga. Despite all the instructions and books on the subject, relaxing is something you must choose to do. You have to become aware of the places where you are holding stress and release them one-by-one.
One time I thought I was completely at rest, focusing on my breath and all that, until the teacher encouraged us to relax the tongue. I was completely oblivious to the tension I held by pushing my tongue against the roof of my month. Such a small gesture that I didn’t even notice it. Once I became aware of my tongue I couldn’t stop paying attention to it. I push my tongue against my teeth when I’m thinking hard and I clench my whole jaw when I’m stressed. I discovered this anomaly only through a regular practice of yoga.
We all start with the poses as a goal but inner peace is where the real yoga begins. At first the pose is all you can focus on. Your train of thought jumps around to the different muscle movements and body parts as you learn how to find balance in an asana. With enough practice the poses become second nature. That’s when you have to relax the mind and simply feel your body in the poses. That’s where you will find serenity. Daily practice rewards you with the ability to stay calm and still your mind. It’s a prize slowly won, so I value every opportunity to have a good savasana.
Hopefully every day.