It’s been an interesting Asana week. My body has felt so sore and stuck in ways that I can’t quite describe. I have been focusing on shoulders and upper back and many times during the day as I focus on that I noticed that my breath gets kind of stuck. And so, I have to go back and remind myself to relax so that the breath can flow which has been more difficult to facilitate than you would think.
Somewhere between ease and effort is that sweet spot–sukha. I seek progress in the shape of my upper back and how it relates to my lower body and legs, but I know that sacrificing the breath will never lead to the right place.
And so today in my Asana practice I went “backwards” to a place of greater ease that looks a lot more like a beginner’s Asana practice. I don’t try to go far in the practice. I don’t try to go deep in the poses. I just try to keep the breath flowing.
As I was laying on my stomach near the end of the standing poses, I felt to pause and allow tension to release through my legs. As I did, words from the hymn “Come Thou Font of Every Blessing” came to me: “streams of Mercy never-ceasing call for songs of loudest praise.”
It was the “stream of energy” I felt flowing in my body that brought those words to my mind. This flow of energy, Prana, life-giving energy–is a stream of Mercy. This flowing energy–the breath of life– God gives to each baby born on this planet to enliven and sustain the physical container we call a body. When prana and breath connect with my internal, eternal being, THAT is God’s mercy. THAT is connection that allows me to have life more abundant.
And so today in this simple beginner’s Asana practice I look for Prana in my practice. I look for this stream that is never ceasing if I don’t block it by trying too hard or by not trying hard enough. Finding that place between ease and effort … that’s where yoga resides.