Asana: It doesnt always feel good
We all have our favourite poses, the poses that feel so good that you transition smoothly, not a care in the world…Aaaaaaaaahhhh blissful yoga.
And then there are the asanas we don’t like. They suck. We scowl and hold our breath, willing the teacher to stop talking philosophy and so we can get outta here!
Mine is Reverse Warrior. Its feels icky.
The pose begins when you want to leave it ~ Unknown
The thing is, no one ever said that every single asana practice was going to be pleasant. And in fact, it is probably the poses that you loathe the most that you should seek and get curious about. The poses that we struggle to sit still in or that challenge us physically, those are the ones where we benefit the most by observing how we react. Do you get irritated, angry, impatient or just plain bored? And when you begin to feel uncomfortable, can you accept that you are here, in the present in this pose, and connect with your breath and ride it out?
As the popular yogi saying goes “How we react on the mat is how we react off the mat”.
If we can learn to be mindful enough to observe our reaction to an uncomfortable pose, then we can begin to catch ourselves in our every day lives and choose to react (or not react) differently. This lesson was super important for me to learn, as my default when trying something new was to tell myself “Oh too hard, not good enough, give up” as soon as I was challenged physically. By getting curious about this part of myself I was able to approach the dreaded Reverse Warrior from the perspective of questioning why I disliked it so much. How did it feel in my body? What emotions came up? Beliefs? Fears? So much in just one pose!
While I still can’t say it’s my favourite pose, I’ve learnt to embrace that it is what it is, and I can love it or hate it, but my reaction and approach to it is my choice. Instead of inwardly (sometimes outwardly by mistake) groaning when the class is guided into Reverse Warrior, I take it as an opportunity to explore my reaction to it every time. Is it still uncomfortable or is that just my default? Is there any aspect of the pose that I enjoy? Where is it that I feel the tension in the pose that makes me dread it so much?
Being open to questioning myself in the pose means that I don’t have to like or dislike Reverse Warrior, I can simply just be while practicing it. From this space I can change my mind, release tension, shift into a version of the pose that feels good or simply just surrender to the fact that Reverse Warrior is icky.
The study of asana is not about mastering posture, it’s about using posture to understand and transform yourself ~ BKS Iyengar