the light touch of yoga
a year or so ago I wrote a post entitled ‘no dig’ yoga, suggesting a lighter approach to practice. as the interest in ‘no dig’ gardening grows, I can’t help drawing other parallels with yoga practice.
one of the benefits of ‘no dig’ gardening is that the natural aeration of the soil by the matrix of life there, enhanced by nourishing layers of compost mulch, improves growing conditions, without stimulating the weed seeds into growth or breaking down the natural structure of the soil. yoga works on us in a similar way.
rather than encouraging us to poke around in our past, revisiting old pain and trying to make sense of our life with the same mind that got us into trouble in the first place, yoga suggests simple practices for the whole body, breath and voice, to nourish and comfort us – it asks ‘might this help?’.
Krishnamacharya’s student A G Mohan, taught on this topic a few years ago when he came to London. He spoke of how yoga suggests reflection but does not advocate analysing ourselves. svādhyāya, one of the three key practices suggested at the beginning of Chapter 2 of the Yoga sūtra and often translated as ‘self examination’, is rather a suggestion to draw close to ourselves and listen, to tune in to our own sanity. Listening to our own silence is a way to go beyond the mind, not to unpick it and try to understand it.
like ‘no dig’, yoga is non invasive, gentle and nourishing and yet profoundly effective. yoga can help us to live life more wholeheartedly, more kindly and more creatively. it just needs our careful attention – like any successful garden or indeed any successful project.