Live Be Yoga Featured Remaining Steady in Crisis and Conflict

Remaining Steady in Crisis and Conflict


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In the Western World, yoga is often reduced to the third limb of yoga: asana. But, asana is only one of the eight limbs of yoga. I have always tried to find ways to understand yoga from a context informed by its ancient roots. One practice that has helped me dive deeper into the philosophy of yoga is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. 

Live Be Yoga Ambassador Cameron Allen

Live Be Yoga Ambassador Cameron Allen

How Jiu-Jitsu Helped me Embody Asana

In the texts passed down to us, asana is defined as simply posture. The first asanas were all very simple, and in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, only 15 classical poses were listed. In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, asana is even less complicated. It is defined as a position that is “steady and comfortable.” This contrasts with mainstream yoga practices, where we often see advanced asana as something to aspire to. 

Since I have been practicing Jiu-Jitsu, I have gained a deeper understanding of steadiness and comfort. When performing specific moves as a beginner in Jiu-Jitsu, it is important to be comfortable and rooted in order to execute the move. Without these two preconditions, it’s incredibly difficult to maintain calm efficiency during practice. Since beginning Jiu-Jitsu, I have noticed that my body has had a tendency to contract during asana and that diminishes the efficiency and power of my meditations. This observation has given me such an embodied understanding on the importance of asana in the context of the eightfold path. Now, I constantly remind myself that asana is not restricted or limited to the normalized version of what we see today in mainstream yoga. Instead, asana’s actual purpose is to simply prepare the body for long sessions of seated meditation.

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