The Yogi as Scientist, the Body as Laboratory and the Perpetual Research of the Practice

To a yogi, the body is a laboratory for life, a field of experimentation and perpetual research. – BKS Iyengar

I remember the first time I realized that the mat was a place where I could intentionally cultivate the qualities I wanted to experience more of in my life.

As I articulated this understanding, it was at once exciting and at the same time quite evident. The words solidified a truth I had known, on some level, for years.

In yoga, the body is the field for experimenting with that which we wish to strengthen in ourselves. Asana practice is an opportunity to embody courage, forgiveness, compassion, patience, resilience, playfulness and almost any other quality you can think of and would do well to have a bit more of in your life.

The moment we get this an empowering shift takes place in the way we see our practice and the possibilities it holds for us. Asana becomes a reliable and powerful means to fuel self-discovery and inner transformation.

We might do this in many ways, using knowledge of posture technique, variations in sequence, alignment focus, timings, working with the breath or simply infusing our practice with a chosen inner stance and reflecting on our experience. Approaching practice this way allows for infinite variety and depth in how we engage with it. The effects build and become richer and more nuanced over time.

Underlying this approach to practice is the recognition that what we seek to cultivate is not external or foreign to us. Practice is a means of unveiling or calling forth what already exists inside of us, indeed is us. Our work is to investigate, discover and attune ourselves to that place where all the great virtues live inside of us in their fullness. In other words, to become more and more who we truly are.