I usually don’t blog about asana. I suppose this is because I am convinced of the admonition of many of my teachers, including “the big guy,” John Friend, not to see poses as an attainment. I’m sure it would be understood, however, if I were to share my joy at a breakthrough.
As my main teacher keeps saying, “summer is backbending season.” It’s funny that just the other day, I was reading the blog of a local Iyengar teacher with whom I used to take classes. She’s been in Pune, India, studying with her “big guy,” B.K.S. Iyengar (and his family). She had written about how “Prashantji” had the class (of yoga teachers) do “Ustrasana [camel pose] (about a 100 of them) Urdhva Dhanurasana [upward-facing bow or “wheel” pose] (about 50) and Dwi pada Viparita Dandasana (about 30).”
Last night I went to my mat with a heavy heart, just one of those “world is too much with us” moments that we all face, a “personal tsunami” as another of my teachers said back in March. I was delighted, however, to have such focus as to attend to those subtleties that took me into Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana (pictured above) for the very first time (on my second try). We entered it from Urdhva Dhanurasana, on which we have been working most of the month.
What a beautiful shoulder- and heart-opener! Desirée Rumbaugh, herself a beautiful backbender, suggested in the documentary “Anusara: The Heart of Transformation,” sometimes the mind follows the body. Goodness knows the one workshop I took with her was transformative, it was then I actually got one back foot in the air momentarily for Eka Pada Galavasana.
Again, whether or not we “attain” a particular pose is not as important as incrementally “working the actions” and for Anusara yogis, “working the principles” that may one day take us there. It’s where we are bidden that matters, and we are bound for unreserved joy.