Monday, July 12, 2010

Yoga in the heart of the city

One of the pranayama exercises Marlene Mawhinney led us through this morning had us humming like bhramari (bees) on the exhale.  Basically, you touch the tip of your tongue to the space between your teeth and palate to make the humming sound. You can feel a nice vibration if you find the right pressure - too hard or too soft and the sensation disappears.  It was fun to hear a room full of "grown-ups" humming this way.  I felt like I was in my garden, humming along with the bees flying from one coneflower to the next.

It's called Bhramari pranayama and was part of the yoga intensive I'm taking at YCT this week:  one hour of pranayama (breathing exercises) followed by two hours of asana (poses).

I tried to approach the poses we did in the same spirit, not forcing too hard but at the same time bringing consciousness to what I was doing.  Constantly readjusting, using the breath to go more deeply into the pose.  Taking it seriously but trying not to take myself too seriously.

Effortless effort is a phrase the teachers at YCT use frequently, something the sage Patanjali mentions in the Yoga Sutras.  Marlene shared the Iyengar translation of sutra II:47:  
 "Perfection in an asana is achieved when the effort to perform it becomes effortless and the infinite being within is reached."
Something to think about.  Or should I say, something to not think about?

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