The Necessity of an Empty Mind ~
To be proud of our yoga positions is bad taste.
To be able to do the poses "successfully" means nothing, nothing at all. Yoga should not become a circus. It must not be done as a refuge from life.
Though yoga will somehow protect you, it cannot be USED to protect, or MADE to give health.
It should instead be used to help us purify the body and the mind bringing us back to that blessed state of receptivity from which we can start to learn.
A Zen story tells of a Nan-in, a Japanese master, during the Meiji era, who received a university professor. The professor came to inquire about Zen. Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor's cup full, and he kept on pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he could no longer restrain himself.
"It is over full. No more will go in!"
"Like this cup," Nan-in said, "you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?"
"...Suzuki Roshi...told his students that it is not difficult to attain enlightenment, but it is difficult to keep a beginner's mind," he told them ~ "there are many possibilities, but in the expert there are few."
When his students published Suzuki's talks, after his death, they called the book, appropriately, "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind." In the introduction Baker Roshi, an American Zen Master, wrote ~ "The mind of the beginner is empty, free of the habit of the expert, ready to accept, to doubt, and open to all of the possibilities..."
Yoga could also give us the possibility to create space (between one action and another action, between one breath and another breath, between one thought and another thought) allowing emptiness to inundate our minds, as Leopardi says in that beautiful poem - "L'infinito"~
"Cosi tra questa Immensita's s'annega il pensier mio ~ E il naufragar m'e dolce in questo mare."
("And in this immensity my thought is drowned and it is delightful for me to be shipwrecked in this sea.")
Therefore keep your body relaxed, sensitive, awake and your mind fully alert, watchful, while observing.
Perhaps something unexpected will come to you, it might come from quite a different or even opposite direction.
Sometimes strange things happen, let us be open to receiving them.
"Once a Zen master just set down to pronounce a sermon, when outside a bird started to sing. The master did not say a word and everybody listened to it. When the bird stopped singing, the master simply announced that the sermon was over, and he moved away."
~ by Vanda Scarvelli