Easy does it

togetheryogaHubby’s started practising a little at home again now. I’m so pleased for him to have got to the point where this feels like a good thing for him. He’s rehabbing himself gently and I am so immensely proud of his patience and his quiet efforts. I’m learning so much from him, from hearing him talk about his experiences, from answering his questions about particular poses, and from the times when he asks me to watch him and comment on his alignment (or ‘inner flow’ as I’m starting to think of it).

I wrote about helping him with his Trikoṇāsana recently. We also looked this week at his sun salute.

The other night when I got home from class he was full of talk about his practice, telling me he’d been inspired by watching me the other day. Really? When did he watch me practice? I usually tuck myself away quietly.

It turned out he meant watching me rolling through a teaching sequence I was ironing out. I wasn’t practising ‘properly’ to my mind; I was just moving through some shapes to test the flow between poses and the overall structure of the class. For me this is yoga ‘without touching the sides’; my teaching brain is analysing the movements and in the body it’s a very free feeling but without any particular strength or energy. It’s just a safe and modest way of moving but nothing like how I usually do my own practice; it feels so clean and contained, it’s a bit sterile. No prāṇa maybe? Not close enough to my edge to be in any way transformative or transcendent?

“Yes, that’s it, that’s what I’d love my practice to be like!” Hubby told me as we talked. Oh! Really? tightropeLike that?

Well as I reflect on it, I guess in a way that’s what I’d like my ‘proper’ practice to be like too. I crave this natural movement and sense of the body moving the way it wants to, no moments of getting stuck or hung up on something not being the way I want it to, just moving sweetly on through. And yet… There’s something missing in this.

We ended up talking a lot about the effort-ease continuum, as I wondered where my practice currently sits along this line and where it would ‘best’ sit if it’s really to serve me well. I don’t know how to answer this and I’m finding the elusiveness of the question really frustrating. And I confuse myself by what (I think) I hear in class. Sometimes the teaching seems to be about effort and sometimes about ease. Well, I guess it’s for me to find the balance for myself. And in each moment. I’m starting to realise that this is one of the big questions in āsana practice. I suppose when I’ve figured this out, I’ll have truly experienced the state of Yoga.

It reminds me of that thing that Louis Armstrong never said: “If you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know.” I guess when I truly understand the answer to the effort/ease question in yoga, I won’t need to practise āsana any more!

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