Skillfulness in Action
“Yoga is skillfulness in action.” Bhagavad Gita If you have been to any of my classes you will know that I believe in finding strength and mobility within asanas that is born out of the knowledge and practice of proper alignment. The Bhagavad Gita; a text written in Sanskrit at sometime about 800 years ago, is the story of a young man’s journey to an understanding of how to achieve ‘right living’ under the guidance of his council, Krishna. ‘Right Living’ in a yoga sense is the balancing of what is healthy for the body, the mind and the emotions in all parts of your life. In the Bhagavad Gita Krishna says that: “Yoga is skillfulness in action.” I believe this is true and that learning the skills, the craft of yoga allows you to put that skillfulness into action in a way that will bring health and longevity to your mind and body. Skillfulness in action isn’t using your yoga practice as exercise alone - speeding through the asanas to get the heart pumping and the muscles working, it isn’t trying to keep up with the other students in your class or showing off you best asana… Skillfulness in action is introverted, it is inquisitive, it is asking your body, “What makes sense today?” waiting for the answer and moving in a way that is mindful and aligned.
A big part of that skillfulness is knowing what options are available to you. Knowing what variations of an asana might challenge you when you are feeling like stretching yourself or what variations will allow you to work on your flexibility or strength gently and safely when you feel that is what your body needs. As Sir Francis Bacon said, “Knowledge is power.” This knowledge can make the difference between a frustrating, pain and fear-filled practice and one that is aligned, progressive and satisfying. In class we learn how to do what makes sense – for each of us as an individual - and leave out what doesn’t, each time we step onto the mat.
See you in class! Hari Om