Is It Only Physical?

Is asana practice a limited or limiting practice? I’ve heard it said and I’ve read here and there that asana isn’t really yoga, that in the West we know only a physical practice and that isn’t really yoga. Does that point to an inherent limit of asana practice, or rather is it the way I practice asana?

If I identify completely with the annamaya kosha then I may get stuck in form and my asana practice may never be other than physical. But if I approach my asana practice with mindfulness, then I can practice concentration, dharana. And if my concentration is good, I can practice meditation in motion as I move mindfully through an asana practice. I can become aware of the energy body and the emotional body. With sustained practice in the present moment I can move to no-thought and my practice becomes intuitive. I may experience ananda, bliss.

The body is called form. It takes a certain position in space which position also is called form. Even so, asana can be practiced in love and prana and bliss, and what is the form of love or prana or bliss? Form doesn’t limit or define my reality in any ultimate way unless I let it. Form is a way to name an experience I have. My experience may manifest in name as asana or as ananda. Or it may manifest as the formless and nameless.

If I think I am limited by form then I’m stuck because I’m an embodied being – I need my body in this life. More likely I’m not limited by embodiment so much as I am limited by a bounded awareness.

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3 responses to “Is It Only Physical?

  1. Is bliss a goal? If you attain that, then what?

    Very good and searching verbalization here…

    Excellent questions…

    Beyond bliss is pure wisdom mind, “just like this mind”.

    After that is the point before thought.

    All yogas point in the same direction, it is simply the method which differs, yours is clearly working for you 🙂 Do not be concerned.

    Like

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