There is enormous power in structure but there is also enormous power in transcending outwardly imposed structure and experiencing fluidity. Ashtanga yoga teaches the powerful value of structure, discipline and routine. As practitioners however our responsibility is to be aware of not only the intention behind our showing up to the daily routine, but also to our relationship to the structure offered and the awareness around when structure ceases to serve as a tool of growth. Doing something daily can easily turn into just another thing we go through in life, tuning out.
A lot of my students suffer from feeling inadequate when they can no longer practice in a certain way because of external life circumstances, or temporary changes in the body/mind. I myself have gone through these period of fear and doubt many times in the 15 years of practice I hold. I want to reiterate the importance of seeing practice beyond it's form, invite you to take time to understand the essence of what practice is. The essence is not asana, asana is one vehicle to the essence. Everything has a place and time, nothing is ever one unchanging thing, things naturally decompose, change, disappear, birth and so does practice. Sometimes allowing practice to unfold as it must, led not by an external plan but the intelligence stored in the body from the years of practice or guided by a teacher with that experience is what will allow for deep transformation to continue to happen. It requires a certain amount of courage, trust, willingness to embrace impermanence, to seek the truth, faith, and some fearlessness.
These junctures in life where things stop working the way they have for some time are a great opening for inner spiritual growth, it’s witnessing a small death of the ego. Who am I if I am not that structure? This is a very powerful practice for deep inner growth. Patanjali tells us that we are not the objet we observe, and when we mistaken that which we do as who we are we suffer. It is important we don't solidify the practice into what we do and who we are. Yoga is always happening within us and around us, it's a matter of opening ourselves up to see it and asana serves as the trampoline to begin to experience it but it is not the end goal. It is a tool at our disposal to be used with much awareness, respect and caution.
Is the practice you are doing serving you to evolve to keep moving through the layers of self and find the essence or it enforcing and hardening the sense I-ness?
How can you ensure the practice stays true to the ultimate goal of self liberation?
These are deep questions. Doubt and questioning is a byproduct of sincere, dedicated practice. It doesn’t matter what form asana practice takes, the important element is that it leads to inner inquiry, to push you to step out of your comfort zone into unknown territory of being without fitting in a label, without identifying with something solid. The one quality of all Life is impermanence, this means all is fluid. The moment something becomes too solid, too stuck, which is very different from steady, it is good to pause and question. How can I find steadiness in the fluid movement of life? How can I keep a steady inner awareness and remain open/fluid?