Yoga sutra 2.47 suggests that the ultimate goal of a posture is to find a way to be in that posture effortlessly so as to loosen the bond and identification with the body and be able to merge with the infinite or source energy. While the sutra specifically refers to a meditation posture, it is an excellent principle that can be applied to any posture as well as one’s attitude towards life. When working on a meditation posture, surrendering effort allows us to merge with the infinite by softening the ego. Softening the ego shifts one from “I am the doer and I am my body,” into “I am the instrument or conduit” of the life force pulsing through every living thing. Bring the body into balance by aligning the head with the spine and hips.
To apply of this principle to one’s attitude, we can aim for more balance between effort (yang, the doer) and non-effort (yin, the receiver). In our culture we tend to be out of balance by having very busy lives that require us to push ourselves to do more, believing that the amount we do is a measure of strength and success. Instead, we need to make time to be still and flip the “doing” switch into “receiving” mode to help us connect to and listen to our intuition, that small still voice inside that is our guide and that always knows the answer to any question we have. This practice will be of great benefit as we approach holiday season.
In other poses, especially the more strenuous standing poses such as warriors, it is possible to reduce effort and increase relaxation and energetic benefits of the pose. Try this while lying on your back: lift one leg a few inches off the floor, hold for a few seconds, and lower it. Now lift the leg again; this time, try to extend and lengthen out through the foot it as you lift the leg. You will probably notice that the second way feels lighter and requires less effort to hold.
To apply this principle in warrior 2, extend the arms out through the fingertips and engage the muscles in the legs. Press down into the ground and, at the same time, lengthen up the spine through the top of the head. Feel the torso in balance over the hips and the knee in balance over the ankle. Relax the jaw and breathe fully into the sides and back of the ribcage. Notice the subtle energy and power of the pose. Be as relaxed as you can be while you do what you have to do—anywhere, anytime.
November updates and special events:
- Yoga and Meditation at The Downing Museum. In November, Shigeko will teach the Yoga@the Museum class on Sat., Nov. 10, and Alice will lead the Meditation@the Museum session on Sat., Nov. 17. Both classes meet at 10:30 a.m. For details and to register, follow the links above—and both classes are filling fast, so please sign up soon.
- Temporary change in Thursday-night and Friday-night teachers. Because of teachers’ availability for November, Chie will be offering the Thursday-night Restorative class (at 7 p.m.), and Angie will be offering the Friday-night Yin class (at 5:30 p.m.).
- Thanksgiving schedule. We will maintain our usual class schedule during Thanksgiving weekend with one exception: on Thanksgiving Day, we will hold a single, mixed-level holiday class taught by Shigeko and meeting at 9 a.m.
- Living Our Yoga Yin class. On Fri., Nov. 30, Angie continues the monthly Living Our Yoga Yin series, which combines a traditional sequence of Yin poses with an exploration of this month’s yoga sutra, 2.47: prayatna shaithilya ananta samapattibhyam.
For a full list of November classes, please see the online calendar—or pick up a hard copy at The Pots Place. We also post each day’s schedule to our Facebook page each morning, should you find it convenient to keep up with us there.