Yoga practice makes the gap between our actions and values smaller by offering us infinite opportunities to practice acting out our values through our bodies and breath.
The asana work like braces, helping us reconfigure our thought patterns as we stretch our tissues, but more importantly, stretch our perceived limits of what’s possible and our own potential. When we stay in a pose when we would rather get out, and breathe into what’s happening, we gently create space for our actions, the physical and energetic form of the asana, to form our thought patterns. The mind needs our body to cooperate to do its bidding, however, through asana we learn to reverse this usual flow of decision power. Instead, the practice of asana brilliantly allows us to manipulate our breath and bodies to influence and direct our thought patterns, directing our behavior the other way around.
We learn to hold steady in the moment, breathe deeply into what’s challenging while we strengthen, move and bend our bodies. As a result, our minds open to the possibility of seeing in a new way, ultimately over time with practice becoming more adaptable. Furthermore, as we begin to release tension, relax and accept more options and more ways of seeing the world, almost without trying we are also able to see more opportunities and possibilities for ourselves, our community and our world. We are able to move and breathe our way into alignment with our values and dreams. Lao-Tzu wrote in theTao, “Bend and you remain straight,” suggesting that it’s only by our willingness to be agile in our approach to life will we be able to stay in alignment with what we value most as circumstances evolve and change. By remembering to be supple in our actions, we cultivate opportunities to take ever more effective and aligned actions to make our dreams a reality.