Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Working the Edge

Increasingly I view my yoga practice as a way of working with fear. Sometimes the fear is so undeniably in my face - if I lean forward this far, will I fall on my face? I have lots of those fears and I could probably go through the Primary Series and list my fears for each asana. Ok, not every single one - some of them I actually love and look forward to greeting again and again each day. For others, I have just a subtle hesitation. Then there are others that I am dreading before I even step on the mat (hello Uttitha Hasta Padangustanasana!).

As I have been working on bhuja pidasana, I have noticed my fear shift from lowering down to the mat after crossing the ankles in front of the arms - this now seems relatively easy and fluid - to the lifting back up. I have fallen on my face enough times to be slightly afraid each time. Yet, I am hitting it correctly, which is to say that I don't land on my face or my bottom, more and more. Not everyday, not even every other day, but it is coming.

What also is coming is just noticing how the fear manifests so that I recognize it as fear - breath gets harsher, jaw is tight, forehead is drawn down (if that makes sense), I get a tingle in my stomach. Ah-ha! Ease the breath, relax the face, and soften the gaze (I love that bit of instruction). Stomach relaxes, concentration increases, asana happens or doesn't happen.

Still here.

Our lovely spirea in full bloom.

PS. The links are to really lovely videos of those asana being done to their fullest potential. My version is definitely a sweatier, smellier, more red-faced version completely unsuited for youtube.

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