Monday, May 05, 2014

Upavista konasana, and the art of just being

This has been a tough month -- in a sort of way, because I have hiked the number of classes, and it appears that my number of pets are growing and some -- including the strays insisting that I spend more time with them. I have enrolled for an online course on music therapy, plus my singing bowl meditation sessions are now on... and as also hypnotherapy sessions which are all very consuming, being new launches in that sense. In a way, my hands are full. Then, of course, my maid  at my center - the poor as well as the rich have a misguided sense of entitlement in India which means both feel genuinely outraged if you ask them to be on time and will sulk if that is insisted upon --students by dropping out and maids by not coming -- and so, I have to mop and sweep the center. Plus my housemaid goes off on a paid vacation for a full month (I never get this luxury:) this time of the year and so I have that bit of scrubbing etc to do. However, what my pets have taught me is the art of living and being.

When I am dashing to be off to class or someplace else, and am hurriedly feeding my little Brownie cat (she has the sweetest eyes in the whole world) outside in the garden where she waits for me and knows I am down by the clinking of my keys as I dash down, she will not eat the food though she must be ravenous. She will flop on her side with joy and wants to play and be loved and scratched and petted. So, though I am breathless with the running and dashing and the hundred things clashing to be done in my head, I have to stop and do exactly what she wants. It is a sense of yoga as nothing else. I cannot absent mindedly pet her.. she wants my complete attention. That is true of all my pets -- including my fish (and now I have a huge aquarium too).

My African Grey parrot has taught me this too. And though I get nipped and ticked off, even when she is a little  annoyed with me (when I must put her back in the cage while leaving for class) she will lean her head with immense affection that I have to stop my dash-clash-rush and speak and fondle her. The same when I enter back --she must play before she listens to me and steps up on my shoulder where I want her to be so I can eat my breakfast. But she won't be rushed. Rushing her means there will be no bond -- and that bond is the richest thing I have experienced all my life.
I have learnt so much from my parrot..

Somehow all of this these days seems to go into my poses and my classes. It is very exciting. My mind is completely in the moment, it is non-reactive, receptive and fully alert and alive. It is a very different experience. I believe only the pets can help you understand that stage of being:)

So, this upavista konasana (the wide-angled pose) in its seated, boat version, was caught with that philosophy of being. This pose has everything in it that fights the other. The hands fight the legs. The back fights the hips and legs drag the pose over and so on. But all must stay in a state of communication and taut co-operation and harmony. Something there.. in that pose, a state of being...

What you need for this pose:
* A strong naukasana (boat pose)
* Strong and flexible hips, from forward bends like the upavista konasana in the standing version.
* I believe ekapada bhujasana (one legged shoulder pose)  can also help prepare your thighs and give you strength for this one.

It is quite tough. Getting in and out of this pose is tough. But my idea of yoga is to stay in it for a minute ..which is way tougher. Then only you can understand what  my pets teach me -- the art of being.

Happy sadhana!!

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