Usually, one will first come to yoga for the physical benefits of the practice. In itself that is a good enough reason, yet there is also a more enduring purpose. Hatha yoga can become a moving meditation practice by bringing the attention inward and moving awareness through the breath and body.
In this space we can process information with renewed clarity and it becomes the means by which we can find a more grounded sense of being in the world. This has a similar effect to the methods used in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to bring awareness back into the moment.
When I come to yoga, I sometimes wonder why I’m there and the practice of forming these shapes can seem a little weird. At a point during class however, something crystallizes and I feel at home. This is when I have dropped back into my body, breath, and the moment. With this, I can interrupt the stream of thoughts that connect my normal concerns, and begin to feel less constrained and more at peace with myself.
Yoga is not ‘a cure all’ as some might seem to make it out to be. It may allow you to improve in different aspects of your life but it could even get in the way of things if you had the wrong attitude about it. Hatha Yoga is meant for both spiritual ascetics and for householders, and is generally practiced by people living regular lives. In itself it is quite useless, but it can address vital human needs when performed sincerely, and can assist by directing ones attention to living better.
Through the physical practice it first draws attention to the knowledge of the body, the receptacle of one’s existence. Normally, our conscious attention is turned outward through the senses into the material world in order to address the needs of daily life. We generally seek to provide the means of enjoyment and satisfaction outside of ourselves and with the body. As a result, it is a common feeling to be over-committed to external obligations, and feel empty, bored, or missing something that we “can’t quite put our finger on”.
This is the calling of a greater psychological interest, which is asking for something that you can’t find outside of yourself. If we don’t take the time to reflect, that’s when you suddenly find yourself off-track, wondering how you got there. If we’re not careful, we can be swept along without paying homage to the Socratic maxim of a well-lived life. Thus to know-thyself is a first principle in the development of a mature view in life. For this purpose, a regular yoga practice provides the space for self-reflection, by becoming present to the moment, along your way.
Based in the United States, Ananda Trettin worked as an international runway model for eight years before re-evaluating her direction in life and pursuing the path of a yogi with renewed vigor. Today, Ananda owns and runs Preshana Yoga studios in Sydney. Through Preshana, Ananda aims to connect others to yoga practice so that they may have the same opportunity to see that they are in fact enough, in themselves. The space houses a nourishing practice and supportive community, free of dogmatic approached and rigid systems.