A first step in connecting with your Divine Self is to still your body. Asana is the branch of yoga that addresses this task. The word asana means “pose,” or posture of the body. There are many asana postures, all designed to bring varying levels of challenge.
You've surely seen some of the contorted positions that master yogis can attain! However, you don't have to become a master of all asana postures to attain union with the Divine within you. There's one posture I've used for over 45 years that without a doubt is the throne of my spiritual uncovering. It's where I began to master stillness.
“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.”
Where Do I Start?
The name of the posture I refer to is the “Sitting God.” You'll recognize this posture from ancient religious art, spanning from Egyptian to Christian. The Sitting God posture is a great beginner posture. It's upright and simple, while also fulfilling the two principles of all asana postures: rigidity and comfort.
Tension Plus Comfort
It's helpful to know that asana positions need to cause some tension in the body, yet not so much that it's overdone. The position needs to be comfortable enough to maintain for at least five minutes.
The Sitting God posture has the legs bent at a 45-degree angle with the feet flat on the floor, or on a riser. This angle's critical to being comfortable. Have someone take a photo of you in the posture so you can make sure you're in correct form. Or you can test it out in front of a mirror if you don't have someone to take a photo.
“Seek out a tree and let it teach you stillness.”
Do the asana practice in silence. Using music of any type during this particular practice can cause the body to move, even super calm music. The goal is to still the body. And for clarity, the beginning level of asana practice is NOT focused on keeping the mind still. After the foundation of a still body has been accomplished, the stilling of the mind is integrated.
For one week, try this asana each day while in your sacred space. The goal's to not move for five minutes. Note how your body feels as you sit and how many times it moves. Movements are defined as everything between an unexpected jerking motion to giving in to the urge to stretch your neck.
If you're a scientific type of spiritual adventurer, write some notes about your observations in your spiritual diary. This can help you see your progress over time. Some examples might be the changes you made to sit properly, how many times your body moved or what time of day was most conducive to your body being still.
Once you master stillness in this position for five minutes, you can then begin to use it for other spiritual practices. The Sitting God posture is excellent for meditating and connecting with your “Inner Teacher."
Results Outside of Your Sacred Space
One benefit of doing the Sitting God posture regularly (ideally, daily) is that you become more in tune with your body. It emphasizes the physical side of “know thyself.” Spiritual Satisfaction program colleagues have experienced many discoveries! In general, they noticed more quickly when something in their body didn't feel comfortable, and then made an adjustment.
I myself have found when I'm sitting in a chair performing work, I unconsciously tend towards sitting straight. Program colleagues talked about noticing unconscious movements that they never noticed before. One noticed that he bounced his foot when he was listening to others. Another noticed that she crossed her legs whenever she wanted to relax. One was surprised to see that she clenched her fist when she was delayed somewhere. Then there was the woman who recognized something a lot of us do—she held her breath when she was under stress. Holding your breath while stressed certainly isn't helpful, is it?
It Isn't Just You!
I can guarantee that by doing asana you'll notice something about your body that you never recognized before. As a whole, the program colleagues experimenting with the Sitting God posture became way more curious about their body. They saw how it seemed to have a mind of its own and that they weren't alone in their humanness.
Everyone tends to be unaware of their body habits at some level. What will you learn about your body this week? I'd love to hear about your experience, and I'm here to support you in your asana adventure.
Next: Pranayama: the yoga of breathing!
Ready, Set, Action!
As always, I invite you to explore these topics in your own unique way, by yourself or with others. Share with me about how it's going and what blocks you are running into. You can use the comment section below, or for more privacy, email me at [email protected]
I've devoted my life to the uncovering of my Divine Self. Because of the blissful results, I'm committed to supporting fellow seekers in the uncovering of their Divine Self. One way I do this is through the Your Path~Your Spiritual Satisfaction group coaching program that I created. It includes a self-assessment on the topics I've discussed in this article.
If you'd like to learn more about it, please join me and the Tree of Life Sanctuary coaching team in one of our regular complimentary information webinars. Click here to learn more.
Written by Laura Abernathy