Monday, December 16, 2013

Kino on the balance between alignment and the inner experience of yoga

After writing my previous post, I decided to ask Kino herself what she thinks about this whole alignment-in-Ashtanga issue. I emailed her, and she got back to me within the hour. Which is very admirable, considering her very busy schedule. Her answer is brief but very illuminating, and she has also very generously allowed me to share it here on this blog. This is what Kino says:

"Alignment is not an end in and of itself. The purpose of good alignment is to facilitate a deeper inner experience. If you focus on alignment as the end goal then it diffuses the true power of yoga. The method of yoga is essentially also very simple. In Utkatasana the knees are bent and the hands are up. The depth with which Western teachers, including myself, describe the inner experience of energy and alignment is something that Guruji and Sharath have always left up to the individual to directly experience for themselves. This way each student has the framework for direct perception of the inner body and ultimately their true self and there is more room for variety, experimentation and modification. Sharath is the first person to say that he does not have a beautiful practice according to Western standards. Yet at the same time if you ask him if alignment is important he says yes, for sure, to prevent injury and help the energy flow in the body. I think the key is to find a balance between emphasizing the physical over subtle and disregarding the physical for the spiritual."

I hope you find her answer as illuminating as I have.  


7 comments:

  1. I wonder also about those who take on many 'extra' exercise and stretches to train for certain poses

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    1. My sense is that if the extra exercise helps one to deepen one's experience of the poses, they can also help one to get to the inner experience of yoga.

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  2. Hi Nobel, Great article. I believe alignment is absolutely necessary no matter what we do. I actually became aware of this concept my meditating 20 minutes a day. Keep sharing! Thanks!

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  3. This is great, very opening and balancing, like off-the-mat balancing or rather before the practice. Let's the unperfect-body to celebrate the practice, quiets the be-perfect-ego and let's the quiet-soul to join the party :-)

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