Though many students practice the yoga postures as a form of exercise, it is like “eating the skin of a fruit and not the meat within.” Approaching the yoga postures with the intent of building awareness of the senses and body movement, the emotional risings and fallings, and the intellectual analysis can make a profound difference in your personal asana practice.
Try approaching your daily practice as awareness of your three bodies…Yes, three bodies! The physical body, the emotional body and the intellectual body. As you move through the postures, pay close attention to the sensations as you bend, twist, stretch and place tension on the muscles and bones. Become aware when your mind wanders and focused attention on the body drifts away.
For the emotional body, notice if there is a particular feeling such as impatience, boredom, frustration or judgment as you bring yourself to each posture. We often avoid postures not only because they are difficult physically, but because they have a deeper rooted affect on the emotions.
The intellectual body is a balancing act between ego, judgment and true, objective analysis. Curiosity and kindness towards yourself are attitudes that can keep ego and judgment from sabotaging the intellectual experience.
If you can’t find time to be on the mat, bring the attention to the three bodies in your daily life activities. You may be surprised by the lessons you will learn.