In western societies our bodies are educated to forget their sensibilities. We are indoctrinated to conquer our body. Think of the language we use to describe health; we have to fight certain diseases, or we share our grief when someone loses their battle with an illness.
Experiencing one’s self and the world through embodied movement practices like yoga, can make it more difficult to remain passive, and wedded to beliefs and structures that cause us to live a life based on fear, and damage limitation.
No practice is oppressive or liberating, but what matters is the intention behind your practice. Yoga can be a regular 75 minute a week appointment to analyse and criticise the body, to reinforce societal beliefs that appearance and health status determine our worth, and make consumer choices based on a pursuit of ‘perfect’ physical and mental health.
Or... your weekly class can be a date with your Self, to discover a responsive approach to movement that bolsters confidence and empowerment through all stages of life. It can be helpful to consider inviting emptiness to your practice. Emptiness lies at the heart of Mayayana Buddhist teachings. It doesn't mean blankness, nothingness... a vacuum. When we're empty, we are receptive, available and open minded.
When taught well; yoga creates a space for you to listen to your inner teacher and perhaps question the outer structures that leave us feeling so ill at ease.
You might access a new reservoir of love and gratitude for your body and switch your language from that of war and struggle.