Yoga Wellness Educator. Certified to teach Hatha Yoga, Meditation, Pilates, Reiki. Yoga Therapy Foundations program. I love to write.
In everyday language, the word “will” indicates a powerful force that nothing can resist. To have a strong will implies manifesting this force. Yoga experts prefer a more sensible use of this psychic force in the physical yoga practice.
When we eagerly want to get something, we cause, consciously or unconsciously, stress and tense reactions on the body, and on more subtle aspects of ourselves. This engages and activates energies that are better used elsewhere.
We need this energy when we want to smell a perfume, taste a meal, listen to a melody, look at a scene, or touch a fine fabric. The best viable way to appreciate these various sensations depends on the attention we bring to these objects, by consciously mobilizing the appropriate senses. Our focus here becomes the psychic coordinating element.
Making an effort in yoga could ruin the state of receptivity. What matters most is to achieve a state of willingness, of deep relaxation, both physical and mental, and of steady presence.
When we apply this approach to doing yoga poses, we do them in a state of relaxed effort, while being mindful of the joints working and the muscles moving.
Our focus includes directing the movement with mindfulness and without causing muscle tensions. It is this relaxed effort that knowingly coordinates the breath using the inhalation and exhalation to help us reach our goal.
In Hatha yoga, the Ha energy circulates in the limbs from the hands to the feet on the posterior side of the body. The Tha energy circulates from the feet to the hands on the anterior side of the body.
- Sit on your calves and heels and lower your upper body forward. Place your forehead on the floor.
- Have your weight on the right side of your body on your knee and forearm.
- Extend the left leg back and the left arm forward and stretch the left side of your body in different directions.
- As you inhale, lift your head slightly, and as you exhale lower it down to the floor. Stretch your left arm forward.
- As you inhale, lift your head slightly, and as you exhale lower it down to the floor. Stretch the left leg back.
- The left side of your body is now stretched. Your head comes naturally toward your chin and chest.
- Do this movement three times then go back and rest in the original Child pose.
Now, do this movement on the right side of your body.
You will notice that your breathing will be mostly felt in the nostril of the side you are stretching.
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If you want to maintain a balance of energy, do the same number of movements on each side. But if you want to increase calmness on one side, do more movements on that side.
How Does This Practice Help?
The body, stretched and relaxed on one side, is under the influence of gravity and the inherent life force. This life force energy is so subtle that any thought or tendency leaves an impression on it. The vital life force has a built-in mechanism to re-establish balance as long as we let it do its work in us.
We could be amazed if we let ourselves be open, physically and mentally, to let the vital life force circulate and act on us to re-establish balance. The mistake is to be impatient and to want to act swiftly to get results.
Adequate mental attitude and optimal use of a balanced will and focus are essential elements in the practice of Hatha Yoga, If our pride controls us, we will experience painful effects in our vertebral column, joints, muscles, or nerves. We are mistaken if we think that this pain is proof of the efficiency of our yoga work.
The exercise above helps to improve the circulation of energy in the energy body.
The stretched arm will stretch better. The angle of the forearm to the arm will gradually decrease. The wrist joint will ease. The shoulder joint will improve. They are all linked.
Blood circulation and energy circulation are interconnected. An unhindered connection will have a positive effect on the hips, thighs, ankles, and calves. This “energy consciousness” is important for our yoga practice.
Always Restore Balance
Do the same exercise but this time your whole body is lying face down on the floor.
If you feel too excited and stressed and need to relax, put emphasis on breathing in the left nostril. If you need to re-energize, then put emphasis on breathing in the right nostril.
Remember to end your practice with a minimum of 5 minutes lying on your back in the Corpse pose (see link below).
La Pratique du Yoga de L'Energie. Les carnets du yoga (1980) pp. 17-20.
- 3 Techniques to Relax in the Corpse Pose or Savasana
Yogic relaxation has many benefits but also a caution.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.