For most of us, when we start yoga, we just want to enjoy the physical benefits of stretching and strengthening the body.
However, when you give yourself to the practice of asana, pranayama and Savasana, it takes its root in you and it begins to reveal you to you, says renowned yoga teacher Judith Hanson Lasater in this free download.
“You can ignore that quiet voice, but it will find you,” says Judith. “There’s a reason students are in yoga classes and not a fitness class. It’s because we all intuitively know that yoga offers something more – it’s not just what-you-see-is-what-you-get.”
“I believe that all people who become serious in yoga begin to touch their true nature. It is just a matter of time,” Judith notes.
We learn to connect more deeply to the body’s wisdom as we progress in our yoga practice.
“When we first start asana practice, it’s all about feeling and sensation—feel the stretch in the hamstrings, feel the breath coming into the lungs, feel the stretch on your back as you twist and so on.
“However, when you become aware of what you’re feeling, you are listening to the body’s wisdom. The body’s wisdom is transmuted to us, communicated to us through sensation and feeling. That means we’re already listening. The practice of yoga is more about listening than it is about telling my body what to do,” Judith notes.
She further talks about how asanas practice can become a laboratory for how we respond to life. As we learn to hold space and deal with challenge and difficulty in demanding yoga postures, it can spill over into how we deal with challenging situations in our life off the mat.
“The first time I was in labor with my first of three children, it was difficult, but doable. And I had the thought, ‘Oh, this is like a yoga asana.’ And how do I respond to difficulty in my practice? How do I respond to this difficulty in life? I breathe. I give up resistance. I stay focused. I stay present. I refuse to turn away from difficulty.”
Judith then goes into discussing the details of teaching posture groups, particularly twisting postures which offer tremendous benefits.
The intentional compressing and releasing of the organs during twisting postures shifts energy in the body, Judith notes.
“What I find often when I’m teaching twists in class is people will start to sweat. That’s the release of energetic heat or organ heat. It’s not metabolic muscles that’s making you sweat, it’s because the organs themselves are involved in the pose. And their energy is being affected by the squeezing and the releasing of them.”
This squeeze and soak concept applies to other posture groups, but twists in particular. This is just one more example of how yoga offers numerous new and subtle avenues that allow us to tune in to the body’s inherent wisdom.
You may also be interested in Judith Hanson Lasater’s course, Twists: Anatomy, Asana, and Energetics.