Yoga can be seen as a way of establishing harmony in our
lives. Harmony between intention and action, structure
and function, body and mind, spirit and matter, self and
other. This can not be done if we are not willing, ready and
able to engage ourselves fully. To do this we must engage
our sexual nature and the energies it generates. Yoga
posture practice gives us a safe, gradual and effective
opportunity to do this provided we are genuinely open to
all the depths and subtleties of our being, and undertake
our practice as enquiry rather than acquisition. We need to
let go of all of our assumptions about sex in general, and
its relationship to yoga in particular.
Sex is perhaps the most problematic of all human
activities. So deeply is it embedded that it is not easy to
recognise and express its natural place in the complexity
of our modern lives. Few us are not suffering the
consequences of powerful, and often destructive, cultural
forces of sexual conditioning. Few of us understand the
sexual forces that move within us. Fewer still integrate
them into the full spectrum of our lives. Yet sexual energy
is the root energy of our lives: touching and shaping
everything about us.
Yoga and sex are inextricable. It is not possible to separate
sexual energy from anatomical, physiological, emotional,
mental or spiritual energy. Yoga can be understood as a
process of transforming sexual energy into spiritual
energy, but this transformation does not, and can not,
involve denial of sexual energy. To become truly
comfortable in life, and in yoga, we must enjoy an open,
creative expressiveness of our natural sexuality. The more
truly at peace we are with life the less this creative
expression will resemble the compulsive, habituated
patterns of sexual behaviour to which we have been
Yoga posture practitioners are constantly faced by the
cultural divide between body and mind. Moment by
moment, breath by breath we must choose to follow our
body or our mind. No matter how we may conceptualise
their relationship they are not always in harmony, yet
yoga posture practice can help them to be. It can just as
easily be a way to extend the division that culture has
placed between them. This depends on whether, moment
by moment, we give our practice to ideas or to experience,
whether we are practicing in order to realise a cultural
goal, or to encounter the deeper nature of our bodimind,
whether we are imposing or enquiring, whether we are led
by received knowledge or direct experience.
Yoga posture practice can work because of the intrinsic
unity of body, mind and spirit. This unity underlies the
power of the physical practices of yoga. However it does
not guarantee their potency. For the body to reveal its
nature and its relationship to mind and spirit it cannot be
imposed on. It must be released from the distorting power
of anxiety, ambition and intention. Only then can it reveal
the depths and power of its innate intelligence. Only then
can we encounter the wisdom of life, the guru within.
There is only one way that this can happen. By being
sensitive, honest, open, intimate and generous (yama) to
the body. We must come to our mat to give, not to get. The
key to this is sensitivity to the sensations being generated
by the body. By giving our practice to the presence of
sensation, we encounter, and can be guided by, the
wisdom of life. Doing this makes our practice not only
physical, but sensorial to the point of sensuality. We are
carried forward, taken inwards, on the “ow of sensations
being intimately encountered, deeply felt.
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