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Prep (Research Phase):
First, decide if this is a physical or mental skill you want to learn. In the case of yoga, it most likely will be both! For the purposes of accelerating your learning, isolate your focus and attention on one at a time. Decide more than “I want to learn yoga.” Instead, decide, “I want a better understanding of the nadi’s and bandhas, and knowledge of their effect on the physical, mental, and spiritual bodies.”
Ever felt yourself going through the motions of a yoga pose without focus or purpose? I think most yogis who’ve been practicing for a while have this experience, at least sometimes.
Several years ago, I found myself rushing through the Sun Salutation, praying for the series to end so I could move on to asanas I enjoyed more. I hated the way the pose strained my wrist and left me breathless, and it seemed to take forever to get through five or six of them. But since appreciating whatever you’re doing is a key spiritual teaching, I knew I had to do something to change my perspective.
My eldest brother is turning 60 today. Traditionally, 60 is a very significant birthday for the Chinese. I believe it marked a time when people would start letting go of their worldly possessions and embark on a life of spiritual seeking. It marked the time of the beginning of wisdom. My brother is retiring this year, and I hope he dedicates the last third of his life to fulfilling his dreams and to service.
Mountain Pose is about learning to stand on your feet and connect to Mother Earth. It is about finding the alignment of your skeleton and subtly moving in and out of a fluid center.