Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word yuj which means to unite or to yoke. Yoga teaches us that everything is interconnected. That we are not separate from each other or any living beings. What we think, say and do really does matter—it affects those around us and ripples out to affect other beings around the world. When we truly understand this connection we naturally strive to respond more skillfully.
To feel this connection it helps to be mindful of every moment. To focus on what you are experiencing moment to moment without having a goal or a plan for the next minute, hour, or day. One way you can practice embodying a path without a goal is through the physical practice of yoga, or āsana in Sanskrit.
Let’s Explore This Embodiment With Warrior II Pose:
Begin by standing at the top of your mat in Mountain Pose,
Place your feet hip-width distance apart.
Firmly root all four corners of your feet into the ground while simultaneously reaching your spine and the crown of your head toward the sky.
Arms down by your sides with your palms facing toward the front of the room.
Take a deep breath in and slowly exhale.
On an exhale step your left toes directly behind you (about 3 feet) toward the back of your mat into a High Lunge position. Inhale and circle your arms up to the sky.
On your next exhale open up into Warrior II,
Turn your back heel down to the ground so that it is parallel to the back of your mat and open up to the left side of the room with your arms reaching out in opposite directions.
Your front leg stays bent in a 90 degree angle with your front knee in line with your big toe.
Turn the palm of your hands down toward the earth and feel the energy shooting out of your fingertips in opposite directions.
Continue long inhale and exhale breaths while you settle into the pose. Breathe and feel. Can you let go of any expectations of what pose is next and just experience this moment? What slight movements can you make to move deeper into the pose? Center your heart over your hips. Float the crown of your head up towards the sky to elongate your spine.
Now focus on what you feeling in your body. Be curious: Is your front leg getting fatigued? If so, straighten it and bend it again. Is your jaw tight? If so, relax it. Just notice what you are feeling and make the appropriate adjustments for you.
Are your thoughts wandering to your plans after this practice? Allow yourself to let it go and just experience what is happening now. When you pay attention to each moment of this pose you can see how valuable and interconnected each moment is.
On an exhale windmill your arms down to the ground and flow through a vinyasa or just step back into Downward Facing Dog. Take 3 rounds of breaths in Downward Facing Dog. On an inhale gently walk your feet to meet your hands at the top of your mat. Take a few rounds of breath in this Forward Fold position. Relax your head and your neck. On an inhale slowly—one vertebrae at a time—roll up to a standing position, back to Mountain Pose: Feet hip width distance apart. All four corners of your feet pressing into the earth. Grow the crown of your head towards the sky. Arms down by your sides with your palms facing towards the front of the room. Breath and feel.
On an exhale step your right toes directly behind you (about 3 feet) toward the back of your mat into a High Lunge position. Inhale and circle your arms up to the sky. Inhale here. On an exhale open up into Warrior II by turning your back heel down to the ground so that it is parallel to the back of your mat and open up to the right side of the room. Reach your arms out into opposite directions. Palm of your hands face down towards the earth and energy shooting out of your fingertips. Your front leg stays bent in a 90 degree angle with your front knee in line with your big toe.
Breathe and feel. Notice how this side of your body feels. Each side is different, just like each moment is different. Yoga teaches us to wake up to each new moment and value every new experience. Make some or all of the adjustments you made on the other side. “When we practice paying attention to every breath, to every step, to every pose and the transitions in between, we begin to understand that in fact, everything is between and each moment is of equal value. There is no peak experience and no nonpeak experience—every moment of our lives is valuable.” – Cyndi Lee
When we practice Warrior II, or any of the yoga postures, our journey is to breathe and feel into each pose. This is a physical expression of a path without a goal. How can you practice this off your mat?