Yoga Inspiration: Day 9, What does having energy mean?

Lotus Pose Nataliya AnichkinaDreamstime.com

I thought a lot about energy today.

To be energetic usually means going faster, or more specifically getting lots of things done faster. Better efficiency means completing allotted tasks more quickly. We think speed is better because we expect it to be that way. Its why it takes less then three minutes to receive our orders at a fast food restaurant and less then a second for us to find a word definition online.

But efficiency doesn’t always equate to better quality. In fact, because we have almost unlimited fast access to things like information and food, we become dependent on convenience. What this system cannot give us is experience, better results, or a sense of achievement. To work hard doesn’t always mean going fast. Nor does having lots energy always mean we should move more quickly.

Speed isn’t energy. People, animals, and objects use energy. We use energy. So perhaps the more appropriate question for today’s practice is “How do you use energy?”

This is a principle I have more fully come to appreciate over time through my yoga practice. There are times when I’ve had to rethink the way I approach it. I remember one Primary Ashtanga series I completed with one of my teachers Nicole. At the beginning of the class, she let us know she would not count between each pose. As an added bonus, she invited us to hold these poses longer than normal.

Honestly, it was frustrating at first because I had built for myself expectations for that sequence. I wanted to move faster. I thought I needed consistency. But by slowing down, I appreciated each pose more. I stopped counting and started simply being there, breathing in the moment. My whole body felt like it was on fire and I can honestly say its the most energetic I have ever felt during a yoga practice. The class ended before I knew it and I was mentally and physically exhausted. But I felt deeply satisfied with the work I had done. 

Today, for the first time in a long time, I felt super fired up to do yoga. Instead of playing calming piano music or more thoughtful soundtracks, I turned to one full of guitar, bass drops, and orchestral crescendos. As I began my sequence, I started rushing my way through each of the poses. After finishing my Sun Salutation A’s, I asked myself what I think having energy means. As I pondered this question, my movements evolved and I changed how I viewed each of my movements.

Within multiple yoga disciplines, various practices can connect us to our divine self. (For reference check Yoga Basics) What I find interesting though, is to connect to this part of ourselves we don’t need intense speed or physical ability. We need stillness and rest after releasing built-up energy. To release this built up energy requires concentrated, deliberate use of our energy. It is moving with purpose.

Thank you for reading! See you tomorrow.