There is no mat.

I started writing a post about cookbooks yesterday, but two paragraphs in I decided that it was stupid and I’d probably already made all of the interesting points anyway. Short version: we’d have a lot more quality time for ourselves if we’d get rid of all of our labour saving devices and “helpful” gadgets. But, well, I think everyone more or less knows that already, so I won’t go into further detail.

In the intermediate/advanced yoga class I taught on Tuesday night, I incorporated a great deal of pranayam (breathing) instruction. Actually, pretty much all of my planning for the class focused on pranayam. I know there’s a school of thought that says advanced yoga practice involves well choreographed vinyasa and complex poses, and there’s definitely something to be said for that, but I don’t think that that’s how I want to teach at this point. There’s another school of thought that says that in advanced practice, the more basic practices (like asana) are used as a launching pad for subtler work. The physical practice is used to prepare the body for breath work. Breath work is used to prepare the mind for meditation. And meditation is used to calm the fluctuations of the mind, which is the whole point of the practice. In the most advanced yoga practice, of course, as I’ve written elsewhere, the mat disappears. But most of us aren’t ready for that. We need to keep getting on our mats as a reminder, if nothing else.


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