Floating in Yoga

I once attended a Chinese wedding banquet where I was seated with a couple whom I have never met before. We chatted and I told them I practise Yoga. The next thing they ask is “can you float?” I was puzzled, did they mean the ashtanga style of floating or the elusive art of levitation. And this question pops up not just once but a few times.

So do accomplished yogis have powers of levitation? I certainly do not know of any. But I think yoga does bring lightness to life that is akin to floating in our existence.

Yoga is the union of the mind, body and soul. One thing that is reinforced in yoga is the balance of dualities in life. These dualities or extremes exists physically, emotionally, mentally, temporally, in attitudes or they could just exists as a concept. For instance, hot and cold, right and left, up and down, sun and moon, ha and tha, relaxed and tensed, right and wrong, past and future etc. And when balance is achieved, we feel the lightness, the weightlessness.

This is best experienced when we are practising asanas – the contraction and stretching of muscles for every physical movement, the balance of the body itself in each pose, the balance in sequencing of the poses and counterposes. All these enhances our awareness of extremities in our body and our effort in maintain or working towards that balance. When that balanced is reached, we will be in the easy, steady, comfortable position as expounded in the yoga sutra – sthira sukham asanam.

I may not reached that stage of balance yet, but I have come a long way. Yoga is a journey and the process is more important than the outcome. Just like in asana practise, finally getting into a difficult pose generates a spike in our endocrine system, giving us that brief sensation called euphoria. It is however the journey that brings the smiles and frowns to our faces in years to come.

The realities of life weighs us down, well, maybe just some of us. And maybe at the end of this journey, we will be able to float in the lightness of our existence. Though I would banish any desire of that, for desire itself is the greatest weight on Earth.

Neo Chee Peng
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