A recent New York Times article discussing the harm yoga can cause, has created quite a stir. It has also created an opportunity for us yoga practitioners to re-look at our yoga practice, an opportunity that I am grateful for.
I find it so easy to seek change while unconsciously holding the very patterns I am seeking to change. It is so easy to “sculpt” myself into the person and the pose I am desiring. It is this sculpting that tempts injury and harm.
The purpose of yoga is to free our bodies and our minds. The only way this can happen is through our own surrender. To the degree that we surrender to the pose, is the degree to which the pose can begin to show us where our unsupportive habits lie. To the degree that we are willing to be the recipient of the pose rather than the designer, is the degree to which the real change we are seeking can happen. This is true on and off the mat.
It takes real courage, I think, to surrender to a pose rather than sculpt ourselves into it. But the results are very different; one leads to continuity and harm, the other to real freedom.