Yoga (The Yoga Kata)
Yoga has been around for thousands of years. Yoga asanas, or postures, were being done by people for this period of time for one simple reason: they work. The interesting thing is that they work, in spite of the fact that they are, for the most part, being done wrong.
I stumbled across this fact as a result of my studies in the martial arts. I studied martial arts for years and years, for decades, and finally realized that I was trying too hard. I was using all my muscles, all my energy, and it was a waste.
It was a waste because how tense your muscles are doesn’t have much to do with how hard you hit. What matters is how relaxed you are. For when you are relaxed you can deliver the punch more efficiently.
If you are tense you are actually working against yourself, against your own body and mind. You are locking up muscles and actually stopping the flow of energy that results in efficient motion.
The problem was that nobody understood this. Instead, karate instructors would train people and wait for them to get tired of using so much effort, would wait for them, after some years, to start relaxing when they executed the moves.
Waiting for a student to get tired is not very efficient. Especially when compared to instructing them on when and how to relax.
In Yoga people are put in postures, and they stay that way, and the instructors, often sadistic animals, chuckle as the student undergoes the effort and the strain and the pain. Heck, we’ve all heard them chuckling and expounding on how easy it is.
But they don’t tell people how to make easy. Even if they do understand, they are often so filled with their own cleverness that they don’t take the time to make the simple explanations.
It’s one of those things of: ‘We’ve always done it this way!’ And no real understanding.
The truth is that effort, strain and pain can actually result in injuries.
The correct procedure should be to encourage the student to relax. Not to put him in difficult poses and wait for a year or two until he finally relaxes, but to educate him as to how to relax individual muscles.
When an instructor does this the student suddenly gets better. He enters more and more difficult poses not by trying harder, but by relaxing his body, by learning that his muscles are fighting, and he must give them commands to relax.
The interesting phenomena is that the student’s mind will not clear out until he has relaxed.
Well, of course. A straining mind is not empty, is not clear of distractions, it is filled with one, huge distraction.
The author will tell you more at Yogata.