For the majority of people a yoga practice typically starts out with a focus on form. Body alignment, postures, positions, breathing patterns, tension, and so forth. At some point, if yoga is being practice correctly, the practitioner’s fixation on the form will give way to the formlessness… to Space.
Spaciousness is the essential and fundamental quality of all matter, of all form. From the material perspective—that of 3D reality—space is what makes form possible. It is therefore through Space that the yoga practitioner finds his or her doorway into the essential nature of Life, of Creation itself.
Approaching form in a particular way is what opens the doorway into spaciousness through form. Approached in any other way and our devotion of so much attention to the form only allows us to become very familiar with appearances, with matter, with form. The spaciousness goes unnoticed—for the most part.
So what is this particular way to approach form such that it opens a doorway into spaciousness?
Hṛdaya or Heart
When we approach our yoga practice through the Heart the doorway into spaciousness is opened. This is when real YOGA becomes possible—YOGA as a state of consciousness as opposed to a set of postures and breathing practices. In this way the asanas (postures) and breathing practices become a means to practice YOGA. The more we familiarise ourselves with YOGA in this way, the more all activities in our life are transformed into an opportunity to practice YOGA. Our yoga practice ceases to be dependant on a particular prescribed set of postures. In this way your yoga practice goes beyond the yoga mat, beyond the yoga classes, and extends into all aspects of your life.
What is the approach of the Heart?
Presence. Inclussivity. Communion. Non-judgement. Forgiveness. Patience. Circular unfolding as opposed to linear progression. Beginner’s mind. The fluidity of water as opposed to the rigidity of stone.
How does this look as an approach to yoga asana?
Cultivate a sense of giving your attention to the space around your body. Give priority to the space around your body rather than the form of your body. Practice your yoga asana as you normally do, but with this subtle change in your focus of attention. It may help to imagine you are doing yoga in a pool of water up to your neck. With every movement of your body and limbs cultivate a sense of feeling your body, your arms, your legs, etc., moving through this water. Paying attention to the water—to the space through which your arm, for instance, is moving.
When you feel this space around your body clearly and effortlessly, bring your attention to the space within the body itself. The space between the cells; the space within the cells; the space within the atoms of your body. It may help to spend some time sitting quietly meditating on this sense of space within the body. Do this after your yoga asana practice, sitting in a relaxed state moving your attention from the space around your body into the space within your body.
Also pay attention to the symmetry of your body, or your head, your face, your torso. For instance, when raising your arms out to the sides and up above your head, feel the symmetry to either side of the midline running up from the ground to the top of your head.
Extend this sense of symmetry to the space around your body. Again, when raising your hands up to the sides so they end up over your head, feel the space through which the hands and the tips of your fingers are moving. Imagine the tips of your fingers are drawing a shape in the space around you. This shape will look at feel like the top of an egg.
When you bring the hands back down at the sides you can feel and imagine that your hands in fact extend out—as though your arms were stretching out—all the way to the ground and a little deeper. In this way you can “draw” the lower part of the egg. Feel as those you are standing inside a luminous egg that goes above your head to where your hands naturally reach, and a similar distance below your feet.
This is an introduction to awakening within the spaciousness of Being, your Being. Practice all your yoga asana in this way, until you naturally begin to become aware of the space around you when you’re going about your day. When you get into the car you may become aware of the space inside the car as opposed to just the form of the car (the seats, the steering wheel, etc.). When you walk into a room you may notice the space within the room rather than just the structure of the room (the walls, ceiling, floor, and any objects in there).
When this awareness of space increases, send me an email… and we’ll explore where to go from there.