Thought for the week

In thinking about the presence of stress in our lives, B.K.S. Iyengar reminds us that a certain amount of tension and stress is required for moving and living and that we must differentiate unhealthy levels and negative stress from requisite stress. He explains that the main causes of negative stress are anger, fear, speed, greed, unhealthy ambition and competition, which produce a deleterious effect on the body and mind. “When one does good work with out selfish motives, though there is the stress of work, it is positive, and does not cause the far greater stress that comes from grasping and greed. The practice of asana, (the yoga poses) and pranayama, (the breathing exercises), not only de-stress you, but energize and invigorate the nerves and the mind in order to handle the stress that comes from the caprices of life.” He offers this analogy, “When it rains heavily, the water does not necessarily penetrate the earth. If the surface is dry and hard, the rain water floods the surface and runs off. But if it rains gradually, for many days continuously and the ground is moist, then the water seeps deep into the earth which is good for cultivation and for life. Similarly in ourselves, we must moisten our muscles and nerves through the expansion and extension of the various asana. In this way, the stress that saturates the brain is diffused throughout the rest of the body, so the brain is rested and released from strain and body releases its stress and strain through movement.”

-B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Life