How Yoga Works: Blog One

The novel format of How Yoga Works provides an interesting perspective on putting the Yoga Sutras into a practical perspective. The Captain begins his practice like many people practicing yoga for the first time, including myself, do. We assume that yoga is simply a series of poses and exercises designed to make the body stronger and healthier; a work-out option similar to running or cycling or lifting weights. But as the book progresses, the Captain begins to learn one of the central lessons of yoga: that the mind and the body and the spirit are all intimately connected and related to each other. I was particularly intrigued by chapter 10, where the narrator describes how the Captain’s unhappiness and irritation with the corporal’s interruption manifested itself physically in his body. For yoga practice to truly work requires exercising and learning about one’s mind and soul as well as one’s body. We are beings who are intricately connected; one aspect of our being influences others. So as I continue my yoga practice this week, I will try to remember that yoga is a holistic practice, and for it to be fully effective I must focus on all aspects of myself as they relate to one another.

Week One of Asana Practice

I never expected poses centered around standing or sitting to be challenging. We sit and stand everyday; so how hard could it be? But I realized during this week’s practice that when I focus all my attention on the literal, physical acts of standing or sitting; engaging certain muscles, aligning my shoulder blades, spreading my toes, I realize how much effort goes into these every day activities that go virtually unnoticed. I also discovered weaknesses and strengths I never knew I had. I noticed that I almost never sit or stand up straight, that my chest tends to collapse inwards, and that my hamstrings are very inflexible. I also noticed that my balance is much better than I ever expected. It was a humbling, but very rewarding experience.

This week’s practice taught me that you cannot begin to improve your life or fix problems if you don’t even know the problem exists. When you focus more intently on the little, everyday things, you can discover things about yourself that you never realized before. For me, this week was about discovering my body’s current state at so that I know what to work on for the upcoming weeks.

Hello world!

Hello, cyberworld! This is a blog I created for my BIC 4389 course, Yoga and Philosophy in Contemporary American Culture. I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences with you!

I’ve taken a yoga class in high school and in college, with sporadic classes intermittently. One of my favorite yoga experiences was doing yoga with my roommate on our dorm’s outdoor patio after a late night of studying. I enjoy yoga because it allows me to step back from the craziness of everyday life and refocus. Plus there is something very intriguing about active relaxation. 🙂

I chose this class because I’ve always been interested in yoga, and like the idea of stretching myself mentally and physically at the same time. I hope to learn more about the practice of yoga in this course, and improve my strength, flexibility and posture. I’m also looking forward to learning about the philosophy behind yoga and learning more about the different poses in detail. It should be a great class!