My Teacher uses the phrase, "bright verticality of the heart" to describe the sensation of being aware when the body is free of pain and the mind is clear and focused.
It took awhile for me to figure out what Tony meant. He's Bulgarian and well... most of what he says sounds a little strange on first take. However, that phrase has come to describe the ultimate beauty of this practice we call Yoga... for me.
To put Yoga in the context of your own experiences with it... recall a moment when you were quietly enthralled. Perhaps you were enjoying a scenic view, reading a good book, or chatting with a close friend... a moment when you were completely involved with an alert and easeful heart.
Compare that memory with one where you felt tired, distracted, under the weather. There's a world of difference between those two experiences, yes?
It's that difference, yoga teachings assert, that bring us to our mats. Because if we were already perfectly content... what need would we have of practice?
Yoga is really about a heart-tone... but we make a lot of shapes in the process.
Yoga refers to an alert and easeful quality of the mind and heart, and also to the way in which we can achieve that state more of the time. We do the work we do on the mat--breathing and moving in a coordinated, integrated way--so that we can make the body more supple and cultivate the conditions for our hearts and minds to follow suit.
I will revisit this topic from many perspectives... What brings us to Yoga? What keeps us in our practice? How do we evaluate our progress? Who Am I?