This morning I woke feeling sore everywhere. In āsana practice the plan was to reach this pose (because doing it regularly keeps me feeling like I’m conquering my problems which have to do with old injuries that this pose demands be overcome). There were all these thoughts: I’m not feeling well enough, it hurts too much, there’s too much sensation, my shoulder might strain, I’m getting too old, I should have learned these deep backbends in my twenties or better yet my teens, I’ve given birth to too many children, those children are too distracting, it should be easier, it’s easier for others, it’s too hot to work hard, I’ve been broken too many times— I was watching all this mental/emotional activity... and then I stopped and reflected on how Guruji B.K.S. Iyengar practiced—not just his successes and awe inspiring demonstrations but the struggles he described in trying to master all the poses, his practice after his scooter accidents or his practice in his eighties and nineties. How did he face his obstacles? None of that was easy. I considered how my teacher has taught me — never giving me an excuse and left the possibilities open for me to find a way —and those negative vrrtis (waves of consciousness) just stopped or were countered. My legs aren’t too slippery with sweat to grasp: they are just slick enough to slide the hands to the knees. The abdomen lengthened, the chest spread over and over into this pose at least ten times. In the beginning I couldn’t get there. It wasn’t easy to get here. It hasn’t been easy. I needed props, I needed a good teacher, I needed to practice like my life depended on it. I wasn’t born like this. It’s more like how my teacher described himself at the last Intensive, “I know I was born a scum.” Iyengar called himself “a parasite”. Ok, yet let’s see what we can do with those very human conditions that we were born with, these circumstances that we are facing now, and take action through practice. This is the potential of Iyengar Yoga. We can be born reactive, sickly, miserable and desperately temperamental, like I was, always screaming, allergic to everything... and with Iyengar Yoga we can see if we can do something with our lives. Can we find a way to progress and even inspire others to do the same?
Bhujangāsana ~ cobra pose