Yoga and Tai Chi Chuan!
Have you ever considered how and why Yoga works? It’s a good question, and one which I have never seen answers for. In fact, some youngster puts the question to some oriental sage fellow, and I see a lot of circumventing and philosophizing…and no real answer.
In answer to this question, I was trying to make yoga work the other day, and I was listening to some gal on a Yoga CD and trying to put it all together with what I knew from the martial arts, and the gal on the CD suddenly said something that made me blink. With a satisfied smile she said, ‘It took me three years to get this posture.’ I sat back, put the CD on hold, and thought about what she had said.
It took her three years of work and discipline to make her body work. She was proud, which is probably the sinful version of satisfied. And I don’t think she was really doing Yoga.
She was being a contortionist. She wasn’t talking about becoming aware as a spiritual being, but rather being ‘over satisfied’ about being able to do weird things with her body. What she was saying had to do with holding her body in a yoga asana, and nothing to do with the spiritual side of the subject.
One of the martial arts exercises I do is to practice my Tai Chi Chuan in a dark room with no lights and my eyes closed. I do this because I started with Karate, which means ’empty hands,’ and I realized you couldn’t have empty hands without an empty mind. I am merely trying to reduce extra and distractive sensations, and develop awareness having to do with the sole and concentrated practice of the tai chi chuan form.
To utilize this in Yoga, close your eyes and be aware of your left, big toe. You must be aware of your right, big toe without the use of perceptions. You must become aware, as opposed to being aware with body perception devices (eyes, taste, touch, and so on).
If you can hold the body still, negate sensation, and just become aware, then you are on the path of real yoga. If you can see the different between being aware through body perception devices (nose, eyes, etcetera), and just being aware, then you are on the path of real yoga. If you can become aware of yourself as a spiritual being, and not as a body, then you are doing true Yoga.
You don’t have to contort your body through painful postures. You need merely put your body in a position…doesn’t even have to be an official yoga asana…and stop looking through your senses, and let awareness grow. The difference between perception and awareness, this is the why yoga works, why Tai Chi Chuan is what it is, and even your left, big toe.