Mountain Yoga

Two Questions:
Aren’t You Done Yet? and Isn’t There More?

One student reported that on her way out to class, a family member had asked her, “You practice yoga at home, so why are you still going to yoga class? Aren’t you done with that yet?” And sometimes students who attend a free introductory class will ask, “Is this it, or will we learn more poses in the more “advanced” classes?”

Why do people ask these questions? From whence do they arise? They arise from knowledge. Knowledge is stuff you already know. It is the greatest obstacle to learning. It’s what gets in the way of learning something new. People who ask these questions have already learned a lot. They are familiar with the learning process. Well, with a learning process.

When you think of yoga as a skill to be learned, like typing, then you expect to study until you have acquired that skill. Then the classes end, and you apply the skill.

When you think of yoga as a collection of movements or poses to be learned and mastered, then you expect a progression of increasingly complex or challenging positions. You may even measure your accomplishment by which poses you can successfully execute.

But yoga isn’t like either of these learning processes. Yoga is different. One does indeed acquire skills and knowledge in a yoga class, but yoga classes offer much more.

Yoga is a practice of deepening into your own awareness. It is quite possible to accomplish this with only one pose (try shavasana for twenty minutes twice a day for a month and tell me what you discover!) Relaxing deeply into the bliss of your own being is not dependent on learning more advanced poses. The desire for more advanced poses, or a greater variety of poses, arises from the mind’s need to be outwardly engaged.

When you dive inwardly, the desire for more fades away, because the mind becomes still. This is easier to do in a group of people all engaged in the same practice. Appropriate music, a warm, quiet room, and a skilled teacher support you in the process. The more you come to class, the easier it gets to quiet your mind and relax your body on your own. And still, coming to class remains a rejuvenating oasis in your busy life.

Good questions!

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