Yoga is for everyone!
Look inward. Draw your senses within. The sensations of the body are easiest to feel and it is the place where we start as beginners. The muscles stretching, contracting, elongating are all very noticeable sensations. We begin to develop a taste for "playing with our edge" - the place where sensations are noticeable yet not overwhelming, where one is acutely aware of the restrictions or weaknesses that our Asana practice is pushing us against, yet we are able to stay in control, the breath is steady and the mind is focused and not disturbed.
As our practice matures one begins to develop a heightened sensitivity to another kind of "edge" - the edge of the quiet, peaceful surrender, the soft fluttering of Prana against our bones, muscles, internal organs. Instead of seeking the loud overstimulation of the physical edge, one begins to have an appreciation for that deeper, subtler edge that is defined by previously blind spots in our physical and energetic body suddenly coming into view and presenting themselves to our inner eye.
It takes dedicated practice and a continuous effort to subdue and disarm the ego to develop the inner eye, capable of seeing and experiencing the subtle shifts of awareness and energy. When we are beginners, it is as if we are blind, deaf, and mute. As we hear our Yoga teacher describe to us the intricacies of alignment, we may become aware of our own alienation from our bodies - it may seem useless, lifeless, foreign. Because we live in our heads so much we disassociate from the body often to such an extent that we lose our proprioceptive capacity.
Integration is in the action. A first movement, a first pose, a first conscious breath, a first perception of the limbs and the muscles as parts of ourselves - then out of the blue, almost, suddenly there is something, some kind of awareness where there was nothing before. From that moment progress is usually extremely rapid - what was off the radar before comes into full glorious view. The body parts that seemed alien before are recognized as old friends. This process usually brings people visible delight, a sense that they are rediscovering a whole new world that is the body, seeing its beauty, mystery, falling under its spell, falling in love.
Then we start to become curious about what our body can do, what we can make it do, and we begin to explore and play with "the edge". Many of us get carried away by this and get lost in the endless pursuit of the physical achievement. But what Yoga can give us is the same kind of discovery, only of the energetic body - if only we are willing to look. Our proprioceptive capacity can expand to include the subtle pulses of Life Force, Prana, in the Nadis, the blood flow in the body, the subtlest shifts on almost molecular level - that is the other kind of "edge" that I have been discovering and seeking with as much delight as I have done early in my practice with my physical body.
So, look inwards, listen carefully to the whispering of subtle vibrations during the quiet moments of rest in your Yoga practice. Make sure your Yoga practice offers ample opportunities for that kind of experience - listen in your poses for their effects on every level of your being. Instead of straining your physical body strain your inner eye and ear reaching for the more subtle information. Allow the pose to soften, so you have that "steadiness" and "ease" in your postures - then the loud din of the physical body does not drone out the quiet murmur of the energetic body. Create frequent moments of pause in your Yoga practice to give yourself ample time and space to savor the nuances of your capacity to perceive a whole other dimension that will soon become "an old friend."
Thank you for such a thought provoking reminder!!