I know the yogic drill. I’m supposed to be present. I’m supposed to let my body move through the sequences, breathing through any intensity, avoiding nothing. Today the choreography of movement was some exquisite torture. Each surya namaskar was a physical confrontation to my desire to retreat, to curl up and make myself small. Instead it demanded I expand, draw myself up to my highest extent in Tadāsana, proud and seen. Eye gaze lifted, a mute prayer sent upwards. Then a surrender in Uttanāsana, soft and humble, my world turned upside-down. Down Dog an expression of strength and stability. Graceful lightness floating forward into plank, despite the weight I feel inside myself. Dredging up the confidence to keep me on the level through Chaturāṇga Dandāsana. And forward, upward into a soul-bearing, heart-opening Up Dog, vulnerable but strong. Breathe here, resist the desire to rush out and retreat back into the relative safety of Down Dog, the desire for anything but this openness. Instead transition steadily with the breath. Soft discipline, that’s how to practice.
And again, this same experience repeated for the other side of the body. The same exposure, dragging my body into shapes it doesn’t want to make. No place to hide.
Then over and over again. Bearing witness to my own inner discomfort.
Warrior positions follow, with me adopting a stance of strength and courage where I feel none.
Balances reveal my inner turmoil. I lack steadiness today. I don’t need to stand on one leg to know that!
Finally forward folds come as a merciful invitation to melt into myself.
Then one final twist inserted, almost spitefully it seems, before Śavāsana. A final prodding and probing just when I thought my physical body had been offered up completely and fully. I didn’t need this twist. I was already wrung out.
Śavāsana a crucifixion.
image from yoganonymous.com