The Geology of Yoga by Alex Pogeler

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 “Geology is the study of pressure and time. That’s all it takes really, pressure, and time.”

 

I love that quote from the movie “The Shawshank Redemption.” It sums up the entire prison experience of the main protagonist by describing the forces that propelled his escape in both a literal and metaphorical sense. I also find this quote very apt to the practice of Yoga. I think if you were to draw comparisons between Yoga and a particular discipline of science it would share the most in common with Geology.

 

Geology is about miniscule changes occurring over a prolonged period of time which lead to a transformation. Magma seeping out of the ocean floor for millions of years resulted in the Hawaiian Islands. The Colorado river slowly eroding a channel through the Arizona desert created the Grand Canyon. Coal subjected to the right conditions of underground heat and pressure will produce a Diamond. All of these phenomena involve small changes over time that lead to majestic creations. If that doesn’t sound like what occurs with Yoga then I don’t know what does.

 

The most important attribute to developing a good Yoga practice is patience. In our Modern society there is a lot of emphasis on instant gratification. Yoga does not necessarily give you instant results. In fact it can take a lot of time and effort before you start to reap the fruits of your labor. It is awkward and difficult at first and only through repetition and practice does it gradually become more comfortable. The keys are perseverance and tenacity. You have to push through the pain and get past the confusion to arrive at that place where it makes sense and your body cooperates. It can be a struggle but it is so worth it.

 

If you get discouraged along the way it might help to think about your practice in Geologic terms. Mount Everest did not pop up overnight. It took millions of years of tectonic pressure to create the Himalayan mountains. The same principle is true with Yoga. Just focus on making the small adjustments to improve your practice and you will eventually get there. All it takes is pressure and time.

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