Do Not Force. Do Allow.
Kriya Yoga is a practice that incorporates Tapas (discipline), Svadhyaya (self study) and Isvarapranidhana (dedication). Our lineage at Lake Tahoe Yoga is Rajahatha. Each class incorporates movement, self study and mindfulness in an effort to induce Kirya or cleansing.
Every posture clears away impurities and toxins in the form of sweat. While moving, you are guided to focus upon various aspects of the postures as well as your own body's experience. The more consistently you show up for the practice, the more you will feel the effects of Asana (poses).
During your next Yoga class notice in which postures you can feel the heat resulting from movement or stability within the pose. Become aware of the moment when your body begins to express that which you do not need.
Balance Effort & Release
Kriya is one of the most difficult aspects of Yoga because it requires that we release our grasp and detach from expectation. Our habit is to hold, grasp, clench and grip. More difficult is relaxation; to let go and to allow change to occur. Svadhyaya is the practice of observing, witnessing and then identifying the places in which we grasp or hold. Once we become aware of what we are doing, when, we can begin to release and detach.
The next time you are practicing Yoga Asana try shifting your focus and become a witness to your movements. Observe in each posture the places where you are gripping or clenching. For most of us, this happens in our jaws, hands and shoulders.
It's Not About You
Back bending is often referred to as Heart Opening in the Yoga world. We tend to find fear, frustration and agitation as we bend in reverse. Our bodies are tight and unwilling to open. We are fearful of what might present itself as we open our hearts. We are so used to hiding, stuffing away and repressing things that are hurtful or cause us sadness that when we are confronted with releasing these things we become tense as we are outside of our comfort zone.
Physically, as we work through the practice of cleansing (Kriya) you may notice that your posture changes, your attitude toward yourself and others may shift and you may find yourself more willing to receive and let go.
During your next practice establish Sankalpa (intention) bring to mind someone, somewhere or something that could use the benefits that the practice brings. Dedicate your practice to whatever it is you bring to mind. Let go of your desire to keep that which you create.