Sunday, August 19, 2012

Beyond the Outside

I try to focus my practice on one thing every month - whether that be a particular pose, working toward a pose, or connecting my practice with writings from the Yoga Sutras or other piece of writing. This month I have been inspired by two things, a passage from the Upanishads and a video I stumbled on while surfing YouTube.

There is a Yoga Sutra study group every Thursday night before a class that I take. I rarely make it on time because of work, but still try to participate in any way I can. While it is a Yoga Sutra study group, the focus has been on the Upanishads for the past month or so. One passage from the Mundaka Upanishad stuck out to me:

Not through discourse, not through the intellect,
Not even through study of the scriptures
Can the Self be realized. The self reveals
Himself to the one who longs for the Self. 
     - Eknath Easwaran
I have always considered myself to be an extroverted person, so turning inside can be very difficult. I prefer to live outside of myself. I think out loud and I focus on external sensations like sights, sounds, and smells. Working inside is not always easy, as I have preferred the opposite all my life.

I gave this some thought and had been trying to find a way to bridge the gap between my preferences and going inside. So I did what someone in my generation does when they hit a road block - search YouTube. I stumbled on a video of an amazing Iyengar Teacher who is no longer with us - Mary Dunn.

Her dedication to her practice inspired me. What curiosity! How relatable. One area where I have been able to bridge that gap is my asana practice. I have noticed that I can easily focus on the inside, or at least my physical structure and its mechanics easily while working with asana. Sometimes I feel that it transcends just mechanics. Asana practice has an ability to bring the practitioner to focus on something so individual, so personal. This video helped me to realize that.