Asana and loving the Divine

Postures are arranged on the string of the breath, like prayer beads are strung on a mala or rosary. By stringing postures in such a way asana practice becomes transformed into prayer in motion. On the deepest level asanas are a way of expressing our appreciation and love for the Divine in a form other than words. They are a way of saying, “Thank you for being and I love you.”

As we progress in posture practice we may become absorbed in achieving and conquering more and more postures, believing to cement our own grandeur. In prayer this would be akin to a scholar becoming able to express love for God more and more eloquently. However, the Puranas (a class of Indian sacred scriptures) have stated over and over again that the Divine does not care about how eloquently we express our love but only about the sincerity of our offering. Because of this a simple posture practice offered with sincere devotion to the Divine may do much more good for yourself and all beings, than the fanciest and most athletic of advanced practices.

Nobody less but the great Shankaracharya has described in his Aparokshanubhuti what true purpose of posture is: True posture is that what supports the view of the Brahman (the Divine as formless Absolute) effortless and not that what hurts and causes suffering. A great reminder for us physical yogis that if our postures hurt and do not help us in seeing and serving the Divine, they ain’t yoga postures.

Let’s keep reminding ourselves that practising asana is a way of giving back to the Divine some of the love that we received. Try it out and see what happens.


About Gregor Maehle

Gregor Maehle started his yogic practices in 1978. For almost two decades he yearly travelled to India where he studied with various yogic and tantric masters. Since then he has branched out into research of the anatomical alignment of postures and the higher limbs of Yoga. He obtained his anatomical knowledge through a Health Practitioner degree and has also studied History, Philosophy and Comparative Religion. Gregor lived many years as a recluse, studying Sanskrit, yogic scripture and practising yogic techniques. He has published a series of textbooks on all major aspects of yoga. His mission is to re-integrate ashtanga vinyasa practice into the larger framework of Patanjali’s eight-limbed yoga in the spirit of T. Krishnamacharya. He offers trainings, retreats and workshops worldwide.
Posted in Asana, Ashtanga Yoga.

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