Each of us lives in a mind-body complex that takes its current form from our responses to the biological predispositions at birth and to life experience. Each of these responses has a purpose that is sustained with some degree of intensity for some period of time. Challenges may arise if these patterns are held after they have outlived their usefulness. The practice of releasing them is called aparigraha. Asana can be a profound tool for this release as the physical body has, to varying degrees, taken the shape of these predispositions and responses.
Though asana practice may create greater range of motion and strength, those are not goals. Yogasana practice is about becoming an integrated being in body, mind and spirit. We typically begin this journey from the outer body, the musculoskeletal system, as it is most familiar. In organizing the outer body, the synapses of the nervous system that created or sustain the imbalances may be reprogrammed. As the outer body becomes more organized, we can more easily feel how the outer body provides both a container and vehicle for the inner body of the organs and nervous system. The work in each asana should maximize the functions of the organs and nervous system within the bias of the asana.
As the outer and inner bodies become more harmonized, we may more easily begin to attune to the subtle body lines and vortices of life force called nadis and chakras. Through this practice, we may begin to assess what aspects of our sense of self, outer body, inner body and subtle body, are still relevant and what can be relinquished, along with providing the tools to do this most harmoniously.
The Aparigraha of Asana
by Kim Schwartz