Yoga - Just do it!
by Shameem Akthar
Talking gets in the way of doing, so stop discussing and start doing
Shameem Akthar has trained as yoga Acharya with
the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Kerala, and
is a master-trainer in neuro-linguistic psychology.
As an instructor, I do not encourage a lot of discussion over a pose during practice though I love debating the subject myself. Reason for this: if something is to be done, it must simply be done without too much discussion over it. Talking is a sly, unconscious way of putting off the actual act.
This is particularly true of difficult poses like the headstand, or even simple poses, like the fish. Sticking to the classic technique is the only way to break this static of the mind. Nevertheless, people who are not trained in the art of kinesthetic intelligence (or are not body smart) will invariably insist on discussing their difficulties as if it is exclusive to them. This simply does not work or help you advance on the mat because verbal cues (issuing from your cortical brain) comes right in the way of developing your body’s kinesthetic intelligence. The cues for kinesthetic intelligence come from another part of your nervous system – the cerebellum. So using words to create that is very difficult– like sweeping with your broom in the wrong or favourite corner of your room, instead of in the most cobwebbed part!
This restraint is not just about what you do on the mat. Often, this same garrulousness gets in the way of doing what requires to be done in the larger canvas of our life. Somebody once requested me to give them a pep talk on how to get up early in the morning. What is there for discussion here? If you decide to get up at four am, you simply set the alarm and wake up! Discussing it may make you feel good (or bad) but it will not make you get up. Not talking, but just doing is what is required. This is why in yoga, it is simply a matter of trusting the ancient technique, following it acutely so the mind gets super focus, and just doing it. Talking really does get in the way of doing!
In a pose like the hand-balancing crow, you become intimate with this perspective. The body has to simply follow the technique, not allowing the mind even a moment’s hesitation or indulgence in anything, including anxiety. Only then can you float up in the pose. Some people do float up into it using strength, but they do not stay up too long in such a pose. When you shut the static of the mind, clam down on the chattering part of
yourself is when you feel light in the body. And mind.
Ardha chandrasana (crescent pose):
Stand up straight. Bend right leg at knee lightly. Draw back left leg. Inhale, exhaling bend forward. Simultaneously lift both hands, placing along the torso. Look ahead. Straighten leg behind to hold it as straight as possible. Breathe normally throughout. Hold for as long as is comfortable. Release, to do for other side.
Benefits: Improves mental focus. Tones and trims entire body if held long. Works the spine and is therapeutic for most back problems. Works the cerebellum, the centre of balance and enhances the sense of proprioception, of where we are in space. Improves posture.
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