The Yogi conquers the body by the practice of asanas (postures) and makes it a fit vehicle for the spirit. (S)He knows that it is a necessary vehicle for the spirit. A soul without a body is like a bird deprived of its power to fly.
“Backbends are to be felt more than expressed. The other postures can be expressed and then felt. Like in meditation each person has to feel backbends.”
“I also say with backbends, you have to be cautiously bold. Not carelessly bold. You have to descend to the dictation of the spine. You cannot command from the brain to do the poses. As you play with a child, guarding the child from injuries, similarly you have to play in backbends, guarding your spine.”
“That’s the beauty of backbends. Emotionally we can never be disturbed, for the emotional centre becomes an extrovert. When you do Viparita Dandasana, your head looks backwards, but your conscious mind stretches everywhere. Study by observing how the mind gets regulated. You not only know the freedom in the spine, but also the freedom in the spirit.”
Solitude. When people hear the phrase “the island of self,” they often think it means they have to live alone and have to shut people and everything else out of their life. But this practice, this kind of “living alone,” doesn’t mean there’s no one around you. It only means that you are established firmly in the here and now; you are aware of everything that is happening in the present moment… To practice solitude is to practice being in this singular moment, not caught in the past, not carried away by the future, and most of all, not carried away by the crowd. You don’t have to go to the forest. You can live with people, you can go to the grocery store, you can walk with others – and you can still enjoy silence and solitude. In today’s society, with so many things around you clamoring for your attention and your reaction, the inner solitude is something you have to learn… You can dwell safely and solidly in your own island… It is because you are comfortable in solitude that you can be in communion with the world. I feel connected to you because I am fully myself. It’s simple: to really relate to the world, you have to first go back and relate to yourself.
Being able to lighten up is the key to feeling at home with your body, mind, and emotions, to feeling worthy to live on this planet.… This earnestness, this seriousness about everything in our lives – this goal-oriented we-are-going-to-do-it-or-else attitude, is the world’s greatest killjoy… When your aspiration is to lighten up, you begin to have a sense of humor. Your serious state of mind keeps getting popped. In addition to a sense of humor, a basic support for a joyful mind is curiosity, paying attention, taking an interest in the world around you.… Curiosity encourages cheering up. So does simply remembering to do something different… Anything out of the ordinary will help. You can go to the window and look at the sky, you can splash cold water on your face, you can sing in the shower, you can go jogging – anything that’s against your usual pattern. That’s how things start to lighten up.
-from Comfortable With Uncertainty by Pema Chodron
Sometimes we hitch ourselves to large but essentially empty dreams, maybe because we are so busy just getting through the day that we don’t believe we can actually live according to our deepest, most genuine desires. But the truth is that right here in our daily life, every breath and every step can become a concrete part of making our true dreams happen…. If you feel that your dreams aren’t coming true, you might think you need to do more, or to think and strategize more. In fact, what you might need is less – less noise coming to you from both inside and outside – so that you have the space for your heart’s truest intention to germinate and flourish.