many times i open the yoga class saying that yoga is not a sport, that you are not competing or comparing with your yoga mat colleagues (and at some level not even with yourself).. and i would love expand into this some other time.. because yesterday night when i said this, one new participant asked, after other words:
“Then how can you say we are doing wrong?”
Oh, that was a lovely smart moment question, but in my attempt to quickly answer and get back to the class and practice maybe i was not fully understood. My fast answer was:
“Well you are right, you’re not doing the pose wrong, you are on the journey to the pose, to its full expression and benefits – i will tell you what we understand from this pose and at the limit of your current understanding, your attempt to enter the pose (if done with true presence) will always be good – but as often not what we, or the one who propose this pose thousand of years ago, like to agree it is.”
Confusing? then you are paying the correct amount of attention.
So we could manifest one asana in different forms, based on our personal “range” of understanding, motion and moment in time and depending on our intention it cannot be called differently that good, but i would rephrase it from now as “good effort”, “good understanding” or somehow else and not as “good pose” or how one of my loved teacher (Narendra Singh) would say it “This is for you!” and very rarely “This IS!!!”
(aka between collegues as “dees ees” “dees ees position” , “dees ees final position” [video1, video2])
STILL .. because we are all in this journey, which actually is the same journey no matter how many paths one will see, we agree that understanding is one, the truth is one.
As we come to yoga not to express our ego, but to surrender it to the practice, so our journey and understanding of the asana poses should bring us together, aligned into less “fluctuating” expressions.
I am currently preparing an article, in romanian language, about Warrior 1 (Virabhadrasana A) but also including all warriors 2,3 and reversed (Virabhadrasana B, C), and while on the quest of collecting other ideas upon it, i passed over these lines:
“Yoga is the physical embodiment of myriad myths and poetic forms. If we look only at the asanas (postures) themselves, we can see each one has the potential to connect us to something deeper, something metaphysical (“beyond the physical”) within ourselves. Each posture is named and modeled after some creature, mythological archetype, or revered being. By placing our body into these postures, we become a physical metaphor for the thing we are imitating. In doing so, we can invite profound awareness around how the characteristics of these creatures, archetypes, and revered beings might be showing up in our own physical, mental, and spiritual make-up.”
so its is very important that we understand the goal of the pose, its origin, its final expression, its benefits, actually everything about that pose so that we are aware of our experience when manifesting ourselves into it.
In few words – YES, WE ARE SUPPOSED TO UNDERSTAND THE POSE AND DO IT CORRECTLY AND ALIGNED WITH THEIR DEFINITIONS, ENERGY. And [please] don’t promote, don’t public[shortcuts] personal messages from your teachers – it will only confuse others and prolong their journey [, please understand the messages behind ahimsa, satya and swadhyaya].
As i mentioned in one previous line, there will be an article on warrior poses in Romanian, but for my international friends I will shortly sum up my findings [before a focused post on this]:
Especially Warrior I, Virabhadrasana A, is not a traditional pose in yoga – where you can only track it down to Krishnamacharya, which was the teacher of Iyengar, K. Pattabhi Jois, Desikachar (which passed it to Gary Kraftsow) and this happened about 70 years ago. More recently than that by divine revelation it appeared also in Bikram Yoga but with the back heel up which is an exception of totally other understandings as also this “Bikram Yoga” which tries to mimic Indian conditions on performing asanas is let’s say “excommunicated”, not thought in India, not recognized by Indian yoga teachers and gurus.
Virabhadrasana is linked to an Hindu legend which involves Shiva, Shakti, Daksha and Virabhadra and all these poses interpret those events. As my initial personal feeling, these poses were initially dance poses or as previously mentioned, Gary Kraftsow – foundator of Viniyoga American Institute) said, they were present in the ancient indian martial arts – as one who performs any martial arts would notice its grounding, efficient energy to retreat and the courageous frontal gaze.
Why they were introduced in yoga? and other martial arts? - this is a journey i invite you all to understand for these and any other asana..
Yoga is the fearless expression of the Self..