One of my favorite books is a simple manual titled “How to Rake Leaves.” Author Leonard Koren begins his introduction with the phrase, “Leaves fall….” then proceeds to outline the three main sections of the book: “equipment“, “preparation“, and “activity“.
This reminds me of yoga.
For example, in yoga, all the “equipment” you need is yourself. You can use a rake if you wish to move some leaves around before you put down your mat, but it’s not absolutely necessary.
Next is “preparation”. In yoga, you can follow the same steps as in raking leaves: repose, warm up, and strategize. In repose, you calm and steady your mind so you can look inside yourself and create new opportunities to see yourself better. In warm up, you begin by using your awareness, step-by-step, to advance yourself and develop a practice that is in agreement with who you are. When you strategize, you first observe or examine yourself, then decide where you want to go and plan how you are going to get there.
As you can see, yoga and raking are much the same.
Finally, in “activity”, you can use your body, mind, and breath to clear the rubbish that has settled on the landscape of your body-mind. You can use the tools of yoga to help you clarify the dullness that blocks your view, to release a freshness of energy flowing within you, or to help you find the attentiveness in action necessary to participate in life.
This is how you rake leaves. And this is how you do yoga.
Learn “how the body can heal the mind” in my book, “Emotional Yoga“.