Why not power yoga?
For a long time now I have been wondering why it is that people so much crave the power yoga. The tough, strong and difficult asanas. Why they want to feel after class that they are “worked out” and tired. Recently I had a guy in my class who lamented that the class was way to easy for him, that he missed the feeling of being really tired after. He said:”...in shavasana at the end, I normally sleep!” I thought to myself: “hmm well, that is not really what shavasana is about...”
But then I had a conversation with a friend who has been promising me ever since I met him that he would come to class. There is no need for such promises, but he said he felt guilty to himself, that he really needed to do some sport. I said: “yoga is not like sport.” He said: “nono, it is for me! For me its about the sport!” Then he told me how good he felt the times he did manage to put on his jogging shoes and go for a run. How wonderfully silent and empty he felt after he had spent all of that excess build up of energy. Then I understood something!
Because this is the way many of us know how to deal with the energy which builds up during the days and weeks. We get rid of it!
The unexpressed opinions, the rejected emotions, the boundary which wasn't set. The dreams we just don't have the time to attend. All of these energies which rises and moves inside of us, we get rid of them. One way or another. Through exercise, through a night on the town, through shopping or through a tough yoga practice.
But here is where yoga can actually offer us a completely different tool for dealing with ourselves.
Because yoga offers us an opportunity of integration. Of giving space to all of these movements inside of us and uniting with them. The meaning of the word “yoga” is after all “union”. Becoming one with. Becoming whole.
Then, rather than getting rid of, we integrate and become bigger. Not physically, but in capacity. We can contain more energy. We can handle more experience without being overwhelmed and overpowered. If we as yogis and yoga practitioners seriously aim for such experiences as raising Kundalinis, well then we have to be able to handle it when it comes! Internally. No use in going straight for the strategies to get rid of the energy as it arises! The real work in yoga is internal. Not external. It is containment. Not catharsis.