I thought hatha yoga, the asanas, was about the body. Then I picked up this book and found out that the poses have a much richer purpose than making my body feel good. I tried just standing in the Mountain pose, just standing still going nowhere as Swami Radha suggests. Oh, I thought, that's easy, probably too easy. What does it feel like to stand still? Just standing there. I can do that! Ten seconds later my foot's tapping the floor. And my mind's thinking, thinking, thinking--I got things to do--I can't just stand here.
That was when I began to understand how the asanas reveal what my mind is doing. I've tried several of them now using Swami Radha's suggestions for reflection. Balancing on one leg in the Tree, asking, Can I bend like the willow or do I stand rigid like the oak? I waver and suddenly realize I'm hanging on, gritting my teeth. Bending forward in the Tortoise, looking for that quiet place within, I feel sheltered, protected, safe, and my body eases itself deeper into the pose. It likes this place. So does my mind. Triangle, reflecting on the cave of the heart. What are the three steps to the sanctuary? Patience, maybe? Compassion? The words start to flow, words to reflect on, words to think deeply about.
The way my body does the pose tells me what my mind is like.
This book takes hatha yoga to deep places inside. It's been a revelation to me.