Yoga is in every moment; and within its practice, there are asanas. The poses that we frequently are used to acquainting with yoga. It’s not about being flexible, creating a ‘yoga-like’ pose. It’s about moving with awareness, being intelligent in each actions.
I naturally am born with very mobile hips. So in my first yoga class, in the Supta baddhakonasana (butterfly pose), knees came completely down like a 180 degrees open butterfly. I thought to myself, this is for me! But what I didn’t notice at that point was the fact that I was only focusing on the opening of my hips.
Was I conscious of how the abdomen was working? If my spine was lengthening? If my hip girdle was sitting upright?
I wasn’t, and through these ten years of practicing, I’ve gained knowledge of using counteractions to balance the pose (and of course teach them with all my heart:) ) but I’ve always had this bendy hip that would do a lot for me, while I unconsciously neglected my weak areas. In short, it compensated itself for me, greatly.
As I’ve learned from my teachers; it’s not only violence to the body when you are overworking an area, but also when you are not using a certain part at all.
I learned the hard way. This spring of March I suddenly felt severe pain in my left hip. I was doing some workouts with weights, starting up tennis again, and releasing that out with yoga and stretches. But I had overly used my hip , meaning I had let it compensate for a lot of work.
Because of the flexibility, I was not using intelligently the muscles around it. Though I always believed I did- I had gotten into a rut.
I needed to take a step back. This meant working slowly, being aware of each minute second in an action. Working intelligently in each moment within its range of motion.
Though I was hurt, it came at a timely (and very happy) occasion that I was able to participate in a workshop with Carrie Owerko which brought me back to the basics. Moving with integrity.
It’s about counteractions to balance a pose. Opposing actions are the actions in a pose. There needs to be strength and intelligence within the range of motion. And that we need to be wrapped in awareness.
Yoga has become a lifestyle for me, and after being introduced to it over ten years ago, it continues to live with me through experience. We are not perfect humans. We live laugh experience cry and we learn. And then we grow. And then keep growing.
I’m still recovering from my hip pain but I learning everyday. And it was a turning point for me: to go back to basics. I am more than ever aware of the actions in poses, in everyday life. I will continue to learn through this and progress. And more than ever, it’s given me an even deeper approach in teaching, sharing to people; and working with issues each body and soul will have.
We accept it and realize what it’s given us to learn. As in the sutras, pain is gain when you see it’s benefits. That’s the power of mental strength.
Keep positive. Live, experience, learn, repeat. (And smile, always)
And remember, when you need the rest, you need the rest. Just accept it.