What is Asana When Class Is Over?

~Notre-Dame de Paris. Photo by Amin Ben Abderrahman~

~Notre-Dame de Paris. Photo by Amin Ben Abderrahman~

Asana. The name we give to the shapes we make in yoga. Or. The name we give the shape we are in when we choose to bring an intention and our attention to it.

We could always be in asana. Or. Being in asana is not just reserved for when we are on our yoga mat. Enough with the or. 

When we step onto our yoga mat we are stepping into a safe space in which to practise life. A place to practise, play, remember who we want to be in our day to day life.

I love exercising by doing yoga but the main event is all about the ‘re’s’. Re-centre, re-choose, refine, restore, remember, relinquish, re-connect. It is a return to you and then a get back out there and give this living life thing another go!

We get back out there and our asana is now the way we sit as we drive home. The intention to lengthen the neck and breathe deeply. And in Tunis (or anywhere there are other people on the road) that lasts about five minutes.

And that’s why it’s a practise. Because we forget and we return to the mat to remember. To re-set back to zero. 

And so it goes on. Remembering, forgetting, remembering. Over time ‘being in asana’ post-class lasts a little longer or we find ourselves bringing some asana to our actions unexpectedly. 

Listening to your partner, you choose the intention to give them your full attention, to stop moving your body and turn it to them. Washing the dishes, you choose to not rush but instead accept your fate because tonight it’s your turn, your body in turn relaxes into the task. 

~In Complete Aweasana. Photo by Amin Ben Abderrahman~

~In Complete Aweasana. Photo by Amin Ben Abderrahman~

Judith Hanson Lasater suggests we begin each morning remembering who we are rather than what we have to do. (a beautiful reminder that forgetting is a daily occurence for us humans!). 

First thing in the morning, when the mind is quieter, before the day is in full flow is a moment when we can find the feeling of asana. 

It can be as simple as walking to the kitchen with our attention on our breath and our phone not turned on. It can be a moment awake in bed before we get up to choose our intention for the day. 

It can be something more formal like sitting to meditate or waking up the body with your favourite moves. 

It can be short, long, different depending on how your feeling, try something and explore the idea of beginning the day with the attention and intention of asana. See where else it is possible to try it out in your day. 

And if your into yoga, know that your mat is the place to come back to time and time again to do your asanas in a space that is empty of traffic and washing and partners, a practise in a space where you can remember. Until you forget. Because your perfectly human.