The pose is not the point. In the west, yoga is often confused, diluted, and hybridized into something which is often quite accessible to all people and profitable for businesses, but lost it’s authenticity from the tradition of yoga from it’s roots in India.
In the west, we’ve placed great emphasis on the physical postures of yoga. Asana, the physical yoga poses, are only one small limb of the 8 limbs of yoga which is aimed solely towards opening the body so one can sit comfortably in meditation for an extended period of time. In modern times, there is great importance placed on mastering the physical postures of yoga, as though that is the objective of the practice. Yoga has been advertised as a method to weight loss, relaxation, building strength, improving focus, or rehabilitating the body—while these may be outcomes and valuable benefits of developing a yoga practice, traditionally, these outcomes are not the objective.
Traditionally, yoga is a method that aims towards Samadhi— yoga is a path to liberation.
The pose is not the point. While yoga poses are valuable tools for opening, strengthening and balancing the body and mind, and many of us enjoy how yoga poses allow us to feel, and it is said that a certain level of bliss may be experienced through holding a pose in alignment for an extended period of time, mastering a yoga pose will not set you free. The pose is just a method, it alone cannot liberate you.
The realizations on the journey into the pose are far more valuable than the mastery of the posture alone.
What do you realize about yourself on your way into a yoga pose? What does the journey into the posture reveal to you about your True Self? What do you learn along the way on the pathway into the pose? What is laying underneath the surface of the posture that is waiting to bloom? What does the posture awaken in you?
If you yearn for the achievement of a pose, once you arrive into that posture, you’re still the same person— you’ve just touched your toes or balanced on your hands. But the journey into the pose gifts us with the opportunity to realize a deeper essence of your being. The Truth within you may be revealed. And you may realize that the pose was never the point.
The pose is not the point– when we think it is, we cheat ourselves of some of the greatest gifts yoga has to offer us. The pose itself becomes the least interesting— it’s the realizations, lessons, moments of surrender and strength on the journey into the pose that are the greatest gifts of yoga.