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

By Marvin Levine | Go to book overview

20
The Yogic State, Part 2: Transforming Judgment

I suggested earlier that the practice of asanas has two types of benefits, outer and inner. The outer benefits are better health, a sense of well-being, and, from Savarasana, mental alertness. These are short-term benefits in the sense that if Yoga practice is discontinued, these benefits will tend to disappear. The inner (and long-range) benefits derive from skills that are being practiced internally as we perform the asanas. One of these skills, immersing oneself totally in the task at hand, was discussed in the preceding chapter. The other skill consists in practicing a new attitude. In Yoga we learn not to be judgmental. Initially, this practice is focused on ourselves. Suppose I am unable to perform perfectly the demonstrated posture. If I am unhappy with myself, that is judgment. Also, if I am doing the posture perfectly and am wishing that everyone is watching me, that, too, is judgment. These complaints and cravings are not part of the yogic state. In performing Yoga, one is practicing eliminating these judgments.

Instead of judging, we assess. In performing a particular posture, we have the ideal in mind and move in the direction of that ideal. We hold the posture just a bit (1%, I like to say) beyond the limits of our comfort, and do not strain. If we are only halfway to the ideal that's

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