The Myth about Flexibility & Yoga and How Mindfulness of the Subtle Body can help us

The Myth about Flexibility & Yoga and How Mindfulness of the Subtle Body can help us

There is a huge myth about Yoga that its goal is flexibility. For sure flexibility ‘can’ be a healthy byproduct of the postures in Yoga. Flexibility can help and it can also hinder when it comes to finding ‘balance’ The balance Im referring to is not the perfect looking pose – its the equilibrium between steadiness and ease in a pose (or strength and letting go) to enable the breath to flow freely.
Doing what ever you are doing with a steady and easy breathing pattern does wonders for the state of our mind. One of the key Yoga Sutras of Patanjali reminds us that  a pose must have steadiness and ease (stirum and sukham)
The Yogis are referring to the mind. They also understood that what we do in the body effects the patterns of the mind and vice versa. This is why Yoga is different from other forms of exercise – it addresses the mind , and its goal is to find steadiness and ease in the mind. Not flexible hamstrings. At times if we are too flexible to the point where we lose stability, this too can have an effect on our posture and our posture will also effect our breathing. In Yoga we want to study the “whole” person not just physical anatomy of the poses. Because as one of my teachers I have travelled with and spent time learning from use to say “There is no evidence on earth that says that looser people are healthier people” ~ Bryan Kest. However there is evidence to say that the state that you carry in your mind effects your health.  There is evidence to say how we respond or react to things can create dis-ease.  We all are aware by now that stress is one of the number one killers along with heart disease.  There is also growing evidence to show that the state in the mind effects our heart too. I like to think of everything as energy. One definition of energy is information that moves. Our physical body is energy , so to is our breath (with the breath travels awareness) our thoughts are energy. And all of us may have had the experience of noticing how our thoughts effect our behaviour and our behaviour is one of the key determinants of health.
So if we are wanting to be HEATLHY it makes sense to look at what effects it the most. THE MIND +  BREATHING has a huge effect on our behaviour and our energy levels. 
If the mind is unsteady, studies have indicated the breath becomes unsteady and vice versa.  We don’t need evidence base studies always, we can all tune into how we feel. In every Mindfulness course I have run every person says they notice a difference in terms of more steadiness and ease after just three minutes of conscious breathing. There is also growing evidence to say that when we are deeply focused on our breath the mind cannot cling onto ruminating thought processes – after a few minutes of focus, breathing and intention in my experience any gnarly thoughts and emotions can loosen their grip – try it. (its not a quick fix – its a practice to keep repeating, overtime our levels of automatic reactivity become more conscious and we are able to then make choices about how we respond to them)
 
This is one of the reasons Subtle Body Training can be so beneficial.  It can provide a bit of a road map (for the body and the subtleties such as our breath, thoughts and emotions) It can help begin to see the interconnections – to help join the dots in our own life when it comes to seeing how Mind, Posture, & Breathing all relate. How the internal effects how we perceive or experience the external and vice versa.  It looks at where and how imbalances occur in one aspect of our being (be it physicality – our muscles / bones and the way our posture is in a pose, aswel as how this effects the way the breath flows, how we respond to certain feelings etc. It also helps us refine our awareness and tap into our intuition and more subtle forms of wisdom. It also looks at how an imbalance in one area of our being can cause imbalances in another and thankfully how to move toward integration (vs disintegration) 
 
Learning tools such as pranayama (breathing) and mindfulness based exercises can show us our full potential when it comes to : stability, creativity, will power & motivation, communication, intuition and connecting to the bigger picture . In my experience its a fascinating way to begin to view the world and our experience of it .  It can also be a real game changer when it comes to health and healing. Chakras or energy centres can be used as guideposts and can be looked at in conjunction with certain reference points in the body of which we explain more about in our Training Programs. 
What I love about learning more about the Subtle Body is we can get to know ourselves a lot better and in turn understand the reactions and responses of others.  Anything that helps our understanding will help increase our levels of awareness and compassion (especially self compassion).  I believe this is a key ingredient in health healing and wellbeing.
The beauty of Yoga is there are many styles and many ways to practice it
We can have fun with different ways of sequencing poses and there is a science to that
Just like there is a science to alignment and non alignment forms of yoga – weather it be putting the body in an optimal posture to breathe better or in a comfortable position for introspection – both are valid ways to work to help stabilise the mind.  Especially when we have a mindful attitude to what ever it is we are practicing or experiencing  so we can learn from it.
Weather you are wanting to learn more about yourself , increase your understanding , enrich your dialogue and repertoire as a Yoga Teacher or refine your awareness to increase the quality of your life – our Creative Sequencing and Subtle Body Training that will benefit your health and wellbeing.
It’s all well and good to have some helpful cues while we are in poses like opening the shoulders to help make space for the breath (or shoulders down and back – however for some bodies who’s anatomy means that cue may have them in pain due to compression which will probably shorten the breath) The gift of broadening your scope to include the Subtle Body is that it requires sensitivity and a holistic approach beyond what we can tangibly see. It encourages us to really feel and consider the ripple effect of different forms of energy. To learn to slow down and feel before we act and to create space for grace.
Grace may mean taking skilful action – some days this may mean a grounding yoga practice or going for a walk, other days a heart opening or backhanding practice to counter balance poor posture that may have your energy / breath feeling stuck.
In terms of steadiness it maybe cultivating the skills to spend time on noticing what gives you a sense of support and security.  In terms of creativity it maybe coming learning what gives you a sense of freedom. In terms of motivation, knowing what drives you. In terms of relationships, learning to listen. In terms of communication learning to clarify (which may take courage) And in terms of ease – learning to follow through and spend time on the things that truly matter and that bring you joy. And in terms of self love it maybe learning to simplify so we have enough space to enjoy what we already have.
Namaste
Tammy
 
** CREATIVE SEQUENCING & SUBTLE BODY TRAINING** is not just about fancy sequencing – there’s a lot more to it, ultimately its goal is to create wellness through balance (steadiness and ease) we use the Elements / Chakras / Subtle Body and Breath as a guide to inform the poses and to inform the choices we can make in life to help us enjoy it more and to learn as we go.  
 
Visit our web for more info on the upcoming 4 Day Immersion on the Subtle Body Creative Sequencing and How Mindfulness can be used in any Business.
www.yoga-nrg.com
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