I just spent some time studying deeper poses and the process of preparing the body, muscles, joints, mind and heart, for safely entering the unknown. The people offering the sessions had backgrounds in everything from body work therapies to acrobatics. They have recovered from injuries and regained incredible strengths and flexibilities through exploration. They taught with joy and no mercy, we all go through the fire.
In the same period of days I took a couple of early morning "gentle" yoga classes (before the fierce and very advanced sessions) in which the concept of exploration was also deeply embedded in the experience of practice. Profound awareness of the clutching mind and the ways in which we release its hold gave these sessions a deeply peaceful progression to find awareness through the body and breath.
It seems striking to me that in both approaches, the core of yoga is the same: inhale and exhale, strengthen and release, explore the unknown with curiosity and discover yourself and the vastness of the heart.
I am filled with gratitude that I am living in this moment, where I can push against my own thigh for strength, where I can push against the sky for length, where I can smile and weep as my life energy turns to light. Who knew this would be my daily practice? Inquiry and openness, leaving the judgment and limitations of mind, using the power of mind to support rather than detract, and finding that attachment to bliss and hell can both be released. Being fully is not about this or that. It is just this. Getting there can be an instantaneous open space in which to breathe.