Most of us who do yoga yearn for more from the practice than just physical benefits—indeed, for more than just benefit to ourselves. But how can twisting our bodies, opening our hips, and straightening our legs make a difference in the wider world?
The opposite of feeling is forcing. When we force, we cannot feel, and when we feel, we cannot force. If we force ourselves into Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose), the spine will twist where it always has, where it needs the twist the least. In this pose, it is particularly easy to force the body. Feeling, on the other hand, allows us to tune in to the habitual tendencies of the body and sense which vertebrae are twisting and which are not. Cultivating feeling in Ardha Matsyendrasana allows movement where there was stagnation, release where there was stiffness, and freedom where there was bondage.
Once you learn to do a powerful pose like Ardha Matsyendrasana from feeling rather than forcing, you can easily see that the potential to work this way exists within every pose, whether simple or advanced. In each asana, you can find an inner awareness that leads to peace in your heart.