Just one breath

We’re all supposed to take our asana practices one pose at a time.

Easier said than done.

For the new year, it's going to be all about the breath

If we could exist in those poses, thinking not of what comes next (or after that, or after practice, or next week, and on and on), we wouldn’t need the asana practice any longer.

So, to some extend, failure (you know what I mean) in practice is the reminder that we need the practice. If you’re not doing it right, you’re doing it right.

It’s just practice, after all.

That doesn’t mean I don’t desire some magic bullet to push me from practice to perfection, or the bullet train to samadhi. If I didn’t want it, I wouldn’t need it.

Bobbie mentioned over the weekend that she’s going to try to relax a bit and enjoy her practice for a while (a big reason we’re both so disappointed we can’t make it to Mr. Shasta with Tim Miller this week or next, where enjoying the practice is easy, as is learning a lot in the process).

Bobbie’s saying that made me realize, yet again, that the asana practice isn’t something I enjoy. At all. But it would be nice to, I suppose. Perhaps there’s some little secret to existing in each pose wrapped somewhere in pleasure, rather than the pain. Perhaps it is close to sukham. Perhaps not.

Any such enjoyment feels very beyond reach, if I think about it.

What seems a little more attainable — I’m still wanting to attain, after all — is some stillness in the breath. During my last practice, the thought occurred in my ever-unstilled mind that if I could breath deeply enough, evenly enough, with control over the breath, never mind the state of my pose or the direction of my gaze, that I might get … somewhere. On just one breath.

But that somewhere seemed lost, as though it lay beyond a window obscured by a downpour of rain.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

9 thoughts on “Just one breath”

  1. Wow. I read this over a few times to ‘make sure’ i read it correctly, and still not sure. I have a lot of difficulty understanding sarcasm or when people are being facetious. Are you saying that you don’t enjoy your daily practice?

      1. Could you make the asanas “easier”? As an older practitioner, I frequently choose the beginner level option of the poses to make my practice more enjoyable.

  2. In your last paragraph you suggest you want control over breath. But that is not free breathinv… have you tried just breathing normally and even out of your mouth sometimes? In downward dog, e.g., breath easy from your mouth, it will help u relax. I have a hunch you pain stems from laboring your breath.

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