Moving into Stillness

“Stillness is not the absence or negation of energy, life, or movement. Stillness is dynamic. It is unconflicted movement, life in harmony with itself, skill in action. It can be experienced whenever there is total, uninhibited, unconflicted participation in the moment you are in—when you are wholeheartedly present with whatever you are doing.”

~ Erich Schiffman – Yoga the Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness

I love the dynamism in this description of what stillness is. It becomes clear when yoga is a contemplative and spiritual practice, rather than a series of postures in an exercise class.

Stillness is not the same as exhaustion at the end of class when you lie in Savasana (corpse pose), perhaps filled with relief that it is over! Stillness is something that can be found throughout the practice and within each posture and transition along the way.

The best guide to see if you are moving towards stillness, is to notice if you are breathing steadily and fully throughout the practice.

Bringing awareness to our breath and the teacher’s breath reveals a lot. If the teacher can’t catch their breath to speak and guide you in a mindful way, then they aren’t moving into stillness either.

20 responses to “Moving into Stillness

  1. Val, I took my first yoga class about twelve years ago, in my mid-50’s. I “signed up” specifically because someone had made the statement, to which I felt challenged, that as we age we automatically lose our balance. This alarmed me and off I went. From almost the very first class I recognized that this practice offered the opportunity for something much, much more than postures, balance, flexibility…there is something beautifully “still” that comes over me, and that I can’t do without. I am so glad this is something you’re encouraging. I can only wonder what would have been offered to me had I recognized this long before I did! 🙂

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