the power and danger of disciplines


The principles, alignment, and techniques of our yoga practice are tools to create greater access throughout our body and mind. Let’s call the  practice a war.  If I ask God/Universe for peace, I will be given a war.  I can only develop deep rooted peace in adversity.  The tools create a certain amount of discipline and structure.  I use the word “ war” because it illustrates conflict or fighting.  This is to set the mind on the potential for the worse and being in acceptance of that.   Let’s say I’m fighting against the discipline to ensure I’m doing right.  This would be the wrong approach.  Because I should not be fighting against discipline.  I should be using  discipline  to guide me in compassion and understanding. If I’m fighting then I’m dogmatic and obedient without leaving space for truth.  On our mat, we may pitfall into this default.  This type of default would be relevant to a person that tends to fight or push through.  The opposite default would be complete avoidance of the disciplines.  This would be another pitfall into the norm, when one is internally challenged.  A challenging pose will exploit either pitfall.  The student that is genuinely curious to one’s own faults, will discover their normalized reactions of the mind and of the body.  The positive of conflict will expose this negative. My openness to my being matters.  The more open the more aware I become, the better my understanding of myself.  But at first the understanding does not exist so I must have a proper attitude.  When understanding arrives, a good attitude will naturally follow.  But when understanding does not exist and the attitude is not proper then the understanding will become very difficult. The relationship will cease to progress.  You will feel you hit a wall. Something has to give.  The struggle and beauty of power yoga practice is that your body is in a constant state of change.  Your brain is constantly thinking, your body is constantly changing and so are your emotions.  You are an energy and energy is not static.  And since you are a constant state of change your understanding of self cannot be limited or fixed.  This would be a delusion, otherwise. So the wall you perceive you hit is delusion. How do you break through this wall?  If you want to  improve how you relate to your body, brain, and emotions you arrive on your mat with an open mind curious to the change, over and over again.  Trust the discipline and use the discipline as a partner to gain access to freedom.  The disciplines  are there to serve you. It should not matter if the poses are the same, the practice is the same, the principles are the same, the alignment is the same; because you are not the same.  When you understand this deep in your bones, you will find comfort in creating a spiritual practice.  And if you don’t understand this you will find comfort in dull and monotonous practice feeling like you alway hit a wall.  Instead of directing your awareness at the usualness of the same pose, same practice, same technique, same alignment – redirect your awareness to the unusualness of your being.  What do your eyes see? But don’t identify.  What do your ears hear? But don’t identify.  What do you feel in your heart?  But don’t identify.  What do you feel in your lungs?  But don’t identify.  When you identify, which you naturally will, you’re right back to your usual mind stuff and out of the spiritual practice.  Your senses will bring you back to reality, cut off  your normalized thought patterns –  where limits and delusion exist, and bring you to the here and now where the new is always available.  The more and more you can live in this space, the more you awaken your senses and the more and more your naturalness unfolds. You become more alive to what’s inside you and what’s outside of you. 

Being strongly disciplined in your principles, your alignment, your technique and your practice offer you the freedom of unleashing your internal power.  But if you are so rigid to the discipline you leave no room for discovery and your intuition is robbed.  The limitations of these disciplines draw us further inward so that we can break through mental traps we’ve built over years.  Noticing these mental traps is like finding a diamond.  Students usually make the mistake of seeing this as rubbish. Which is why many of us are afraid of the truth – it was a certain feeling or shock value to it.