“Violinists practicing scales and dancers repeating the same movements over decades are not simply warming up or mechanically training their muscles. They are learning how to attend unswervingly, moment by moment, to themselves and their art; learning to come into steady presence, free from the distractions of interest or boredom...Difficulty itself may be a path toward concentration—expended effort weaves us into a task, and successful engagement, however laborious, becomes a labor of love...Difficulty then, whether of life or of craft, is not a hindrance to an artist... Just as geological pressure transforms ocean sediment into limestone, the pressure of an artist’s concentration goes into the making of any fully realized work. Much of beauty, both in art and in life, is a balancing of the lines of forward flowing desire with those of resistance— a gnarled tree, the flow of a statue’s draped cloth. Through such tensions, physical or mental, the world in which we exist becomes itself. Great art, we might say, is thought that has been concentrated in just this way: honed and shaped by a silky attention brought to bear on the recalcitrant matter of earth and of life. We seek in art the elusive intensity by which it knows.” Jane Hirshfield 🌳
“Āsana and prānāyāma are the apprenticeship to that transcendence of duality. Not only do they prepare our bodies, spine and breath for the challenge of inner serenity, but Patanjali [author of the Yoga Sūtras] specifically said that āsana [postures] teaches us to transcend duality, that is, hot and cold, honor and dishonor, wealth and poverty, loss and gain.” Yogācārya B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Life, 2005, p. 16.
Dwi Pāda Viparīta Dandāsana - two legged inverted staff pose