I’m feeling wildly intrepid at the moment. Not that anyone would notice any difference from the outside if they watched my practice. But I’m being adventurous even within my modest shapes. I’m exploring, creeping my way into new territory one breath at a time. No sudden movements, no great disturbances, just patient, persistent exploration. My senses on high alert. A universe of infinite possibilities.
My new adventurousness springs from a eureka moment recently with my teacher encouraging a subtle shift of the back hip in Vīra 2. And suddenly this whole pose felt different. I felt different, my body full of some mysterious energy, some vibratory quality that made me feel of some substance other than flesh and bone.
There were a bunch of tweaks to the alignment in other āsanas too that sent me scurrying home to the mirror trying to understand intellectually, then to see if I could recreate all this from the inside, and then expand my new awareness out to other āsanas too. Familiar shapes and transitions feel more vibrant and vital than I ever thought possible in my body. A sense of expansion, but with a steady still point; centripetal and centrifugal equally. My body is suspended between opposite forces, so that each shape just is. Somehow strong and dynamic, yet effortless.
So is this sthira-sukham-āsanam?
I’m finding it slightly mind-blowing. It’s a different plane of experience than I usually have. I’m trying not to be too demanding of this new awareness and seek it out too decisively but to let it bubble up where it will. My job is to cultivate and to receive, not to demand. I habitually crave technical understanding and description: if I could codify and categorise, could I hold onto this forever? But no, there’s some magic in the contingency and uncertainty. And there’s something powerful in the act of cultivation, of setting up the right conditions and then allowing stuff to happen, relinquishing the need for acquisition, control and attainment. There’s no grace without doubt and uncertainty.
I always think yoga is some big magic. Never more so than now.
But now I’ve come down from my little yoga high, I’m starting to feel a little foolish and vastly ignorant. Have I been doing something ‘wrong’ up till now, missing some fundamental trick? Has everyone else in class been vibrating inwardly like this the whole time I’ve been crudely approximating the shapes as best I could? Or is this a fleeting experience that I’ll only be graced with once in a blue moon? I guess in time I’ll come to know. This is new territory after all.