Overcoming Obstacles in Asana

Overcoming Obstacles in Asana

professionalpix 110Pinchamayurasana – Feathered Peacock Pose.  Such a lovely sounding posture to have created such a block in my psyche when I first saw this pose being demonstrated by my teacher.  You’ve got to be kidding, right?  That’s not really a posture actually obtainable without decades of practice, is it?  “Don’t try, just do”, was the response my teacher offered… well, not in those exact words, but that’s what I heard.  So I did (try)… and did (try)… and, two years later, I DID!  But it wasn’t until after one of those moments when I totally surrendered to the notion that this posture didn’t make me any more or less of a yogi than anyone else around me.  Surrender.  Knowing that I am not this body, I am not this mind.  And allow the Divine to do its magick.

But getting up in the pose was just the first step.  As you may know, when learning inversions we will many times be close to a wall for physical (and mental) support.  Being in Pinchamayurasana ‘at the wall’ was just the beginning.  Just as is always the case in learning asana, there is always another variation or deeper position to move into from the original.

So then it became time to trust the universe, if you will, and venture out into the middle of the room without the comfort of knowing the wall was going to be there to catch me.  Part of the process of getting around the fear of falling out of the pose was… falling out of the pose.  So that became an integral part of moving through that fear.  We were instructed to come up into this vertical position and actually fall over into a variation of a backbend.  So I did it, and I lived!  Of course part of being led by a qualified teacher is that they know when you are strong enough and ready to venture this far outside of your comfort zone, and I trusted my teacher enough to give it a go.  It wasn’t long before I was able to trust myself enough to find that surrender once again and obtain my goal-asana.  I must have been a bat in a former life because I love to be upside down, and to this day ‘pincha’ is of the most comfortable, pleasant poses in my personal practice. We went through this process again a few months later as she led me through standing dropbacks into a backbend, which, once again with her guidance, I was able to do for the first time… at age 40!

Don’t try, just do.  Or try and try again… then try some more.  Practice makes perfect.  Practice perfection.

Know that I’m not just talking about the ‘perfect’ Warrior II or the ‘perfect’ meditation.  Perfection is infusing your every day – action, word and thought – with intention to reach union with God/Divinity/Great Spirit.  Sometimes this happens on our yoga mat, sometimes it happens in the kitchen making breakfast for our family, sometimes it happens behind our office desk,  in front of the art easel or playing with our children.  But it entails zeal in practice, that burning desire to commune with the Divinity within each and every moment of each and every day.

And remember:  Practice becomes firmly grounded when attended to for a long duration, without interruption and with complete devotion.  (Yoga Sutra 1:14)

hOMework:  Is there a goal in which obstacles to achieving them seem to keep popping up for you?  What kind of practice can you put into play, everyday, that will help you (maybe even by falling first) move past the fear of ‘failing’?  Don’t know where to start?  Think baby steps – is there an affirmation, mantra, prayer, or even a poem that will inspire you or get you in the right mindset to move forward?  What step will you take today?

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