The Positive Psychology of Buddhism and Yoga: Paths to a Mature Happiness

By Marvin Levine | Go to book overview

19
The Yogic State, Part 1: Immersion

What are we practicing when we spend an hour doing different asanas? On the surface, we are practicing movements aimed at making our bodies more flexible. Also, we are practicing slow, deep breathing for its physiological benefits. This is on the surface. On the inside we are practicing certain skills. Most importantly, we are practicing focusing, immersing ourselves completely in the activity. Ideally, all of the mental activity is directed exclusively to moving, breathing, and relaxing. There is no fear, agitation, craving, or any other condition characterized as Dukkha. This chapter and chapter 21 deal with implications of this practice. We are also learning to be without pejorative judgment. The significance of this practice is discussed in the next chapter.

If one considers the asanas as an outsider, observing only what can be seen, they appear to be a dull, tedious activity: Raise the arms, lower the arms, turn to the right, turn to the left. There is nothing with any intrinsic intellectual fascination. Nevertheless, the Yoga exercises are not boring; one does not feel restless or impatient. The reason is that we are completely immersed in the process. The mind is so

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