I’d like to tell you that as RYT I never get sore after doing a series of Asanas. I’d like to tell you I always have perfect integration, balance, strength and awareness of all the components of a pose. I’m the model person to observe and learn from.
But I’ll be honest and tell you that even teachers who have been practicing for decades need the eye of a another teacher, a weekend workshop, or to brush up on reference books and videos. Perfection in an Asana doesn’t really exist, does it? It is here for a few fleeting, blissful moments, when in headstand there is no pressure on the neck at all and we feel as if our body is long and free-floating in the air above our heads. We know that feeling of perfect focus and bodily integration. We may achieve it for a few seconds tonight in one pose, then tomorrow, the day after, there are different stories our bodies are waiting to tell us.
That is the endless fascination about yoga. Sometimes I feel like I am just doing the same old 4 dozen poses. But those poses are so profound and never seem to lose their appeal and challenge. A lot of us might even have our one big “goal” pose or “nemesis”. I like to call crow pose my “Nemesis”, but now I like to think that, rather than a nemesis, it is a mysterious and rewarding friend I could get to know if I keep trying.
I’m not afraid to admit it: I don’t know everything. And I’m not perfect. I’m sore. But I want to find out why I’m sore and how to avoid it. And how to help YOU avoid it. I’m not talking about a muscle that got worked out efficiently. That’s the good kind of sore. I’m talking about the “uh-oh” kind of sore.
Last week, after going after Warrior 3 a little too zealously, I feel a little tinge of faint pain in my lower right back. It has been staying with me for a few days. Doing some yoga and walking around eliminates the pain entirely. But lying down in bed, something about that position or the mattress, brings out a little of the tingling again. I started feeling a little less confident in my best buddy “yoga”. Sometimes yoga can be dangerous, I thought. But yoga is NOT dangerous unless you are not paying close attention to what you are doing.
When I started paying more attention to what I was doing in my practice, I discovered I was not engaging my uddiyana bandha, a.k.a the core. I really think this is central to the yoga practice–a real focus on engaging the core. I realized that in not doing this enough, I am not protecting my vulnerable lower back, and I need that central starting/focal point from which to radiate full-body integration.
Before your next practice, take several minutes to practice uddiyana bandha. Then continue to carry that awareness of your core through your entire practice.
You might be surprised at how this shapes your experience in your poses. Tonight I did crow for about 8 seconds–a near record. 🙂