Stay a While

14 December 2014 | By Ulrica Norberg

The illusions, attachments, and habits of our daily lives and limited day-to-day awareness create blocks in our bodies that impede the free flow of prana and the working out of our karma. Through the interconnectedness of mind, body, and spirit, we can encounter, affect, and release these blockages by working on physical, mental, and energetic levels.

Meditation in particular allows us to step away from the patterns and challenges of our karma and see our greater roles, feel our places in the universe, and return to daily life with that new perspective. The expansion of ease, awareness, and prana that results from yoga is an expansion of our ability to live and follow our karmic path with ease and grace.

Before I started doing meditation and yoga, I identified myself with my thoughts and feelings. Today, I have learned to view them more as patterns and reactions coming from my mind and soul. In looking closely at them in meditation, I learn a lot about myself in the now and how I function; and I begin to see what takes me out of balance and out of reach of myself.

Yinyoga is a more mindful practice where one can look at and relate to reality and understand one’s relationship to it. Paying attention to something can be done in several ways. The practice of Yin yoga creates understanding, both of our current condition and of the reluctance or avoidance of being in what we perceive as negative or unpleasant experiences.

Being consciously present means paying attention in the present moment, noticing what is happening both inside and outside when it occurs, and noting thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations without judging or evaluating any part of the experience contained in the present. It is to live your life without being controlled by the memory of a past or projections of the future. Life is always here and now.

Being a yogi 
To be a yogi, you just have to practice yoga regularly. The yoga will do the rest. Becoming a yogi doesn’t mean giving up the old you and becoming someone else. However, things that are not serving you well may fall away. As you practice yoga, you move toward the more intuitive, less fragile you. On the other hand, being a yogi doesn’t mean you don’t have problems; you just have more tools for dealing with them. Yoga provides kaivalya, or space around your experience that allows you to have perspective regarding your problems and what to do about them.

The demands of Western culture can easily lead to low self-esteem. While there is usually room for improvement, we are all amazing beings just as we are. In a yoga practice we should just get to the mat, work within our limitations, and feel how we detach from all of what inhibits us, rather than get caught up in competitiveness. Just do the practice without looking for some specific result.

I often see my practice as updating all my inner programs, like when you are upgrading your computer, so they function better and can communicate more easily with each other, without friction or disturbances.

How to sit when meditating
In order to feel comfortable with sitting in meditation, we need to have a practice that works towards good alignment. All seated meditation postures aim for one thing: holding the back upright without slouching or strain so that energy can run up and down the spine more freely. The fundamental core of the meditation posture is the proper tilt of the sacrum and pelvis. This alignment is what you want for seated meditation. The placement of the upper body takes care of itself if the pelvis is properly adjusted.
A good foundation in your yoga practice should include forward bends, hip openers, backbends, and rotations.

Some of the most known forward bends in Yinyoga are those that combine forward bends and hip openers, as the Butterfly, Half- butterfly Half -frog, Dragonfly, and Snail. All gentle forward bending put positive stress on the ligaments around the back of the spine and the lumbar spine and helps to prevent undue compression of spinal disks. The forward bends are performed with legs stretched forward gently stresses the fascia and muscles around the back of the legs.

This text has been inspired by content from my book: Yin Yoga – An individual practice. If you like what you read you can buy it here.

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Ulrica Norberg

Ulrica is one of Sweden's pioneers in yoga and has written several books and articles both in Sweden and abroad. Ulrica has also educated over 500 yoga teachers in Scandinavia.

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