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seducing the body to still the mind

yoga is irresistible. a regular practice (once a week was how it all started, at the gym, no less) with a stellar teacher led to daily practice, which led to private instruction, which led to people asking: "are you going to teach? is that why you're doing yoga all the time? aren't those private lessons expensive?" no. no. yes.

private instruction was one of the wisest financial decisions made to date. 200- and 300-hour teacher training is likewise a brilliant investment. but teaching. certainly this is in the top three of uncomfortable and challenging adventures undertaken thus far. some days i long for solely student status: instruction from my principal teacher is magic. breathe the body, align the body, move the body very beautifully through space. thinking ceases. the body grows weightless. astonishing how the body responds to the poses. the asanas. embodying them is like water on the lips, the tongue, down the throat after trekking in the Sahara. everything awakens and expands in all directions. the present moment is all there is. bliss ensues.

this did not happen overnight. at first, it was awkward. intimidating. frustrating. yet somehow, somehow, it continued to beckon, unwavering. come here. closer. closer. closer. and then it changed. it changes all the time, the perception of ease in the asanas, but when I finally noticed the shift, skill had developed and I was having fun. its anybody's guess as to when this happened in terms of chronological time.

so, teaching was not on my to do list. it's not like there's a shortage of yoga instructors. anywhere, it would seem. still, it has been fun. and awkward, intimidating and frustrating. mostly fun. i'm only at the very beginning of that adventure. am sure it will change again. and again.

i've learned a lot so far. A LOT. knowledge has answered many questions i had about yoga, and practice has been the setting for experiencing the teachings. my biggest question has always been: how can yoga be so seductive? millions of people do it, it is often referred to in mass media as a billion dollar industry. lots of studies have been done in the last several years on the tangible health benefits of yoga. improved immunity, decreased tension and stress, slowed aging, sharper concentration and mental focus. wonderful. i can attest to these. but the primary goal of yoga is, however, none of these. that is what i am interested in: the ineffable effects, the moment on the mat when everything else dissolves and the body flows effortlessly from one asana to the next.

the stillpoint.

the dialogue i seek to open here will revolve around anatomy, asana, meditation, what is the ultimate point of yoga and how it changes a person. and some tertiary issues: the "business" of yoga, "cultural appropriation" of yoga in the West, and other depictions of yoga in the media. much like yoga, this will be an incremental process.

i can't even begin to conceive of discussing meditation now. that will be another post on another day. there is plenty of time. conventional wisdom says the intro and welcome come at the beginning. oh well. conventional wisdom is so limiting. yoga and meditation have taught me the exact opposite: we are limitless.

hopefully this isn't too cryptic. one friend cautioned me about my tendency toward that. if you've made it this far, thank you and congratulations. this will be fun. i promise.

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