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WHEN THE BODY PRAYS



Many times, some of us feel our hatha yoga practice can get repetitive or even boring. This is not entirely unjustified. After all, it is the same few sets of postures we explore over many weeks. To counter this feeling, let’s reorient our view of yoga. And let’s use the example of a chant, hymn or prayer, if you like. We all have a favourite prayer, our go-to spiritual crutch in times of distress or gratitude. Have we noticed that though the chant is the same, saying it doesn’t feel repetitive? This is because we do not perceive praying/chanting as an activity from which pleasure must be derived. Instead, we perceive it as a ritual with a focus on what is changing inside of us as we practice it. So, on some days, a prayer makes you feel calmer. On some days, stronger. That internal shift is the point. The true practitioner begins to perceive the “repetitive” yoga posture not as an activity which should entertain the mind or stimulate the senses but as a ritual with the invisible gift of a possibly different internal experience this time around. This is why practitioners say the same tree posture that made them feel more emotionally self-sufficient on one day (a tree being dependent on birds or wind for pollination while also staying rooted in the ground), made them feel ambitious another day (a tree extends its branches as far as it can into the sky). When we shift our focus from enjoying sensory stimulation to tuning into internal shifts, we can re-imagine yoga as the body praying.

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