‘Asana’ in sanskrit means ‘sitting down’. In yoga it refers to the positions a yogi takes in the practice. In life, it can refer to all things we do or are done to us, our ‘life positions’.
An Asana can be more or less difficult for one person according to the state of her body, mind, heart and soul. We all have positions, asanas, we don’t like. In life, we have things we don’t like doing or we don’t like that are done to us.
This is the state where I was when I decided to stop for a while this blog and go away from Facebook. There were things I was doing and things done to me that I didn’t like. So I decided to try to stop them…
In yoga, it is normally the asanas we don’t like doing that are the ones that hide the most powerful potential of transformation. One important reason why we don’t like them is because they touch on emotions we have buried for a long time. In life, actions we don’t like touch on emotions we don’t want to feel, including those we have repressed to protects ourselves in fear.
Someone I hold very dear to me said to me once: “Life is too short to be in asanas we don’t like”.
These words were paraphrasing others from cat, one of my great yoga teachers, which in turn came from the teacher of teachers of Jivamukti Yoga, Sharon Gannon: “Life is too short to be with people you don’t like”.
These words can be interpreted as what they mean literally, that is, “don’t waste your time with people you don’t like.” Or with a much deeper meaning, a more “yogic meaning”. This second meaning changes the perspective from the external to the internal. Instead of looking at the external world as the cause of our dislikes, it points to our inside as its real origin. It would then mean “don’t waste your time disliking people”, make an effort to find the greatness of all around yourself, so you don’t have to be with people you don’t like. It means that the cause of our likes and dislikes is within us and, therefore, we can change it.
With this new perspective is how I am looking at the things I was doing or were done to me that I didn’t like. I now see how the origin of this malaise is within me and, therefore, I am making an effort to find what in me is causing it. Not by stopping my personal expression on Facebook or my blog I will find it, that’s the external world. I like to share my ideas and my experiences and both are really good platforms to do so…my malaise comes from inside, thus, I will find it but turning around and looking at myself. Not by blaming the world, be it things or people.
An ‘asana’ in yoga is very often quite challenging for the mind, body and heart of the yogi. It is by practice that it becomes more ‘comfortable’ or, in better words, more part of the yogi, more internalised in her being as part of her transcendental knowledge of her being. The path to that point is hard and painful, but also very rewarding. With the same spirit I am taking my ‘practice of life’, my ‘life asanas’. I know I will fall many times, as I do in yoga class, but the real practice comes when one gets back again into position, the ‘return to the asana’ is the real practice. Places, people, actions I don’t like have become my practice to know myself better, because the cause of the disliking is within me.
‘Asana’ also refers to our sitting in the earth, that is, our connection to it which root us. It is by practicing the yoga positions that the yogi becomes more ‘sitted on the earth’, more connected, more balance. Equally it is by practicing the ‘life asanas’ with the same attitude as those performed on the mat that our life may become more connected, more rooted, more balance…and that is my wish.