One of the words my teacher Ruth often uses to describe asana is ‘attitude’, a definition I often borrow.
It is through our practice of āsana that we explore all those attitudes that keep us in a state of conditioned response to life.
Yoga being such a creative practice means that we get to explore a whole range of ‘attitudes’ other than our habitual ones: we explore the attitude of the tree in vrksāsana, of the warrior in virabhadrāsana, of the corpse in savāsana, we explore the ‘attitude’ of ‘tad’ in tadāsana; the attitude of here, of now.
All these attitudes obstruct our true nature that according to those sage old yogis is nothing short of ‘ananda’ or Bliss.
In our exploration we take a journey through the koshas or layers of our being. We notice where the physical body may struggle, where it is more or less supple. We notice our breath, its rhythm and how it sustains our awareness. We notice the thoughts; some uplifting, some less so. We notice the wisdom that guides us in our own adjustments.
Bliss is not an indulgent affair, one where our senses are for a moment suspended on the upswing of the pendulum. The term seems to have taken on a different meaning to the one I imagine is referred to by those who coined the term ‘ananda’ to our innermost nature. Perhaps this is due to our exposure to numerous chocolate bar adverts or paradisiacal holiday brochures.
It has been noted that to know Bliss is to know the experience of oneness, of non-separation.
If we keep this sense of porousness that attends our yoga practice and drop beyond the attitudes that hold us up we may be blessed by our true nature. Bliss. Ananda.
And of course we know this need not be limited to the mat.