“Yoga asana is a steady comfortable position
reducing the tendency for restless breathing
and promoting one’s identification with infinite breath of life.”
-Yoga Sutras of Patanjali as translated by Mukunda Stiles
I love this sutra. It always reminds us of how to practice.
On the mat, we tend to want to “feel” something. Our head is so filled with mental static that we tend to seek an uncomfortable position we can’t ignore in order to remind ourselves that we have a body. Our breathing becomes more difficult, or too purposeful.
Even while working, your practice should promote an easy breath. That easy breath will allow your thoughts to slow and the awareness beneath your thoughts to arise.
We often perform this same behavior in the way we eat—eating until our stomachs are bulging is one way to feel something. Or eating so quickly we miss the flavor altogether. Our breath is shallow, and our awareness of internal sensation is low.
As we move in a more comfortable manner and can feel our breath moving, we allow thoughts and emotions to surface and dissipate. Our mind is able to “settle” into a peaceful, less turbulent state.
Consider the position in which you eat as an asana. Find a comfortable, long spine. Take a moment and observe your breathing. Allow it to find a natural, easy flow. As you eat, maintain this comfortable pose and notice the difference in your ability to stay present with your food. Many find that this promotes a greater awareness of taste and smell, as well as naturally slowing their eating down.
Maintaining this comfortable posture and breath throughout your day—during work and play—is a thread of ease and peace that reminds us of the connectedness of all things.