The wonders of asana never cease. As we push into the borders, the frontiers of our individual, self-prescribed limitations we touch consciousness itself, fertile ground, fresh insight, greater freedom, a taste of bliss. This is the manifest destiny of yoga practice. I know this term carries a lot of baggage in American history, so I want to reclaim it for this non-violent practice of expanding our reach into the unknown. Rather than invading, subduing and violating the sanctity of a new land, we are answering the invitation of the Universe to respectfully walk into places we not only have not been, but places whose existence we have not even been able to conceive.
When we consider the “tree of yoga” as B.K.S. Iyengar wrote in his book of the same name, we may see the branches as separate, individual yogic attributes. When we practice the physical postures of asana we may not necessarily think of dharana or dhyana, concentration and meditation. Broaching our personal frontiers requires us to drink the sap of the tree of yoga from all of the branches simultaneously. As we salute the sun, stand solidly in Mountain Pose or extend into Warrior II, we follow the lengthened breath. The breath is the sap of the tree of life. The practitioner, by uniting motion and breath, becomes the living, growing tree of yoga in union with the mysterious, unlimited Universe. Asana, properly practiced, demands concentration. Sustained concentration becomes meditation, or more simply put, cultivation of the mind. Cultivating the mind with persistent practice quells the fluctuations of the monkey mind so that we become a steady receiver for the wondrous transmissions of the attuned soul.
I know this all may sound a bit far-flung, lofty or even impractical perhaps, but this is our destiny. This is what this life is all about. Discovery, exploration and ever- increasing knowledge can be accomplished without violence and destruction. This is why we have yoga and so many other contemplative arts, to lead us to our true potential as human beings.
So, the next time you roll out your yoga mat, become the tree of simultaneously living, breathing limbs. Move, breathe, focus and take a step into the new land that is your birthright, the land of union, infinity and unforeseen wonders.