The levels of practice…
So you go into a posture and you start doing all the adjustments you’ve been taught or learned on your own. Let’s take for instance ado mukha svanasana. I could guide you through the physical alignment of the posture as it follows: bend your knees, push with your hands against the ground and send the sacrum up to the sky, lengthen the spine. Spread the fingers, keep on pushing with your hands feel the spine lengthening and roll your shoulders out creating space for your neck and in between the shoulder blades.
I could even guide you into a deeper alignment through the use and awareness of energy or prana. For instance: feel the movement of the inhalation and that of the exhalation in your body in this posture, hold the breath at the bottom of the exhalation and feel the diaphragm moving towards your ribs and even getting underneath them. And now exaggerate this natural tendency of the diaphragm and send it under the rib cage into uddhyana bandha. When you feel the need to breath in, relax the bandha and let the air softly come into your lungs. Repeat the bandha after the exhalation but this time use it to lengthen the spine even more, feel how the bandha helps with the lengthening of the spine.
When you finally finish all the adjustments, the more obvious and the less, when you finish applying the bandhas and even playing with the breath. Then is when you move to the effortless presence and practice. There is nothing left to do but to observe, feel, live and experience the posture itself, therefore yourself, fully. And this is the very gift of yoga. It brings you back to the present experience. You become the asana and the asana becomes you, because there is no difference between the asana and you. Then Yoga is happening and you enter into a new level of consciousness.
We are often pushed to do, even when it comes to the yoga practice, but if you ask me the most interesting part of the practice is when you stop doing, and you simply are the posture, and you allow yourself to dwell into the present moment. If you ask me, Yoga is only possible in those moments of effortless practice. While there is effort we are divided, we have goals, and the goals are always outside of the present moment, outside of the zone or flow.
But if we use the practice to learn to rest in the now in each of the postures then we have a fresh experience of ourselves, where there is no craving or resistance, where there is no past or future; and another level of consciousness springs out of it.