Avoidance of pain is one obstacle to the spiritual freedom of yoga. Naturally we do everything we can to avoid pain—or our sanity could rightly be called into question! But when this avoidance overwhelms our willingness to experience life (we’re scared to enter a new relationship based on old baggage) then we limit our potential for happiness by obstructing our view of the truth. The film, “What the Bleep Do We Know” explores this concept of living our life on “autopilot.”
To avoid this numbing out in relationships, start practicing present moment awareness on your yoga mat.
If we come to the mat with a dull mind, absently moving through Cat-Cow or our first Sun Salutations, we close ourselves off from realizations and moments of awakening. Familiarity with a simple pose gives us the freedom to explore what lies beyond the postural mechanics. It's not an invitation to check out. Once your alignment and balance are steady, notice the texture of the mat on your skin, the movement of the breath through your throat, the transition between inhale and exhale. Hone your subtle awareness in yoga asana in preparation for mindfulness in daily life.
Exercise: Select a routine action in your day and practice using “the beginner’s mind.” Brushing your teeth, doing the dishes, and making your bed are excellent opportunities to practice mindfulness. Feel the bristles of the brush on your teeth, note the minty taste of your toothpaste, feel the water swishing around the roof of your mouth. Be present.