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Peace of Mind

Updated on: Saturday, June 01, 2019, 07:41 AM IST

The relationship between self and SELF

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IN the Western approach to bodily health each action creates a reaction in the body (and mind; ‘The Eastern approach is to act without causing a reaction in the body or mind.

At Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre near Marlow, Olympic teams are coached. I practice weight training, and teach Yoga at the Centre. Many of the people who I train with in the gymnasium exhaust themselves by making continuous strenuous effort without a break. As a yoga practitioner, I balance my weight training with a long period of quiet yoga practice. The result is that I come away feeling strong, light and calm.

On one occasion, I was invited by the Sports Council to give a workshop for the Olympic gymnasts. Interestingly, they were much more able than I to get into certain postures, but their eagerness to achieve and master the postures was their shortcoming; they used repetitive force instead of progressive release. They experienced frustration where I would have surrendered the ego. I showed them how to observe, think, release and then to move in coordination with the breath. Something they had not considered in their training.

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Most physical exercises are designed to strengthen the body; yoga builds strength in a non-aggressive and non-end-gaining manner. Yoga releases energy through a tensionless process, so that there is no wastage and misuse of precious inner power. It is that inner force that inspires a body to perform a yoga pose and not the extraverted will. Yoga teaches coordination of the movements of all the limbs from which emerges a sense of integrity and integration with the self and the breath. Out of that way of practising (and not training), grace and stamina develop with a resulting and unmistakable feeling of lightness and renewed energy.

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Published on: Tuesday, October 14, 2014, 12:00 AM IST
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