This article is an exerpt from an upcoming book on Yoga, prananyama, and energy flow meditations.
When you stretch a muscle, your body is activated. That activation creates a small pulsation of energy that lasts for a short time after the pose is finished. If you tune into that energy flow, you'll discover something remarkable--it's pleasurable. And that is the point. More importantly, it is the starting point.
You see, the goal of doing Yoga is not to become some sort of loose spaghetti noodle--although that could certainly happen, if you do enough of it. Rather, the goal is to experience that awakening of energy. When you do, you'll be on the trail to some remarkable transformations. Trust me when I say this: You'll be glad you did. Because the sensation of energy moving in your body is one of the most wonderful feelings there is! You get it from physical exertion, and from lovemaking. And you can get it from your Yoga practice.
Moreover, that awareness of energy moving in your body can be the prelude to a positively blissful meditation practice. You'll get it started with asana (Yoga poses). You'll get a lot more when you engage in pranayama (breathing practices), and you'll get much, much more when you practice active energy-flow meditations. And it all starts by simply being aware of how you feel in the moment between poses.
Of course, if you didn't stretch yourself at all, you won't feel anything. And if you stretch yourself to the point of pain, well, you're going to be aware of that pain when you pause, more than anything else. But if you put yourself in the "sweet spot"--in the Goldilocks Zone between not enough, and too much, you're going to find out what Yoga is all about. You could even discover the "runner's high" that comes from an endorphin release--one that tends to turn the activity from an occasional pursuit into a positive addiction!
In the beginning, there is going to be a bit of trial and error. But you came with an inner guidance system! If you don't feel anything at all, go a little further. If you feel pain, back off. That's it! That's all you need (along with guidance from a qualified instructor).
A good instructor is one who will be able to provide variations for each pose, so
you can find one that is appropriate for your level!
Man, was I ever competetive! It comes naturally, when you're athlete (even a late-blooming one, like me). So I enjoyed Yoga at home. But go to a class, and me oh my! I was always struggling to be as "good" the people around me. That meant pushing myself too hard, for too long. I'd leave drained. And sore. It wasn't pretty.
But that fact is that if you're feeling that small "energy rush" between poses, you're doing it right! The guy next to you may be as limber as a length of rope. Fine. He'll have to be to get the same energy release. His "sweet spot" is further than yours, today. But yours will be further down the road, as well. In the meantime, you're getting just as much out of as he is!
The lady next to you, meanwhile, but not be quite as limber as you are. So what?! If she is in her sweet spot, she'll get just as much out of the practice as you do--at least, in terms of what is really important. You'll both be stimulating energy centers, and becoming happier in the process. If you're tuning in, you'll be increasing your energy awareness, as well. So who is gaining more? Who knows?! It's all happening on the inside.
You see, once you know that the whole point is stiumulate that energy flow, it makes absolutely zero difference whether you stimulate it early in potential range of motion, or whether it happens at the very end of that range. The only thing of any importance is that the stimulation occurs!
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