During a Yoga class, the wicked side of my ego challenged me and domineered. I already had a tender glut and during Halasana I pushed myself, ignoring the gentle humming. A rip and then ripple of pain ensued. The literal pain in my butt prompted me to leave class stressed out instead of blissed out. Bottom line is that I’m carrying an injury and will be for some time, which only I am responsible for. Admittedly the challenge of dealing with the injury shook me. However, once I had gained my composure, reflecting positively on the situation delivered new found knowledge and wisdom, which has evolved my Yoga asana practice.
This injury has been a blessing really, it has allowed me to tap into my core stretch and find space. Allow me to explain. In Utkatasana, Chair pose you bend your knees, raise your arms. Sure, our leg and arm muscles are worked, but the intensity of the pose is felt in the diagram and heart. The pose seriously powers up our Agni, digestive fire. Perhaps it is called “fierce pose” for this reason. Now consider this, bending your knees when flowing from Tadasana, Mountain pose to Uttanasana, standing forward bend and halfway lift could offer the same benefit. Additionally, if a backbend is actually a forward stretch, then bending your knees can work the muscles through your frontal plane. This will elongate your psoas muscle that connects our upper and lower extremities together. Furthermore, the psoas affects our posture, helping to stabilise our spine. A tight psoas can cause serious postural problems and is a common cause of low back pain and stiffness.
It is called Yoga “practice” with intention. Through constant enquiry, having the courage to unsettle the flow of what you know can bring change and evolve your practice. Even the slightest modification can reveal illuminating and great effects. By slightly (and at times generously) bending my knees, my core is stronger. This in turn has opened up my chest and shoulders and strengthened my thighs. My Chaturanga flow has improved significantly. The might of my Virabhadrasana, Warrior 1 and 2 is attacked with greater force to remain present and still in the pose for longer. I could go on, but I hope you get the point, as it wouldn’t be very Yog to massage the ego for too long!
Yogis I invite you to in tune and listen with your body. Our bodies are quite brilliant at giving us subtle and explicit signs. Humble graceful beauty is yours if you acknowledge and respect the signs. Tap into your wisdom, appreciate your capabilities and remain true to yourself. In the adversity of facing your fears you will fall occasionally. This is worthy because such an act is how you can let go. Try not to give credence to what you think you should be doing and how you should be doing it. Just be, so you can create the space and “root down to transcend”.
So remember there is no right or wrong way when it comes to Yoga, just your way. Ultimately any form of movement or contemplative stillness is good, because it harnesses and creates expandable energy.