Monday, May 12, 2014

Vishwamitrasana: revisiting a pose after long needs grit & determination

When you are a practitioner, and an enthused one, you are likely to work on many poses all at once. But some remain your favorites. And others, because they are exotic and tough, are kept in the background. When you return to these, through the difficulty they throw up, you learn a lot more about what all yoga has to teach you.

For me,  each pose is a very live thing. It is as a friend who has been loving and kind. But is neglected. And if it is neglected, it responds by not "happening" at all. So, after being neglected for long, when you return, the big surprise is how tough the pose becomes. Though it happens to all poses, including ones where I am comfortable in, it still affects me deeply, that I have neglected a friend. When someone sulks with you, and if you are at fault, how do you feel? I feel the same way -- with my Himalayan singing  bowls and my poses -- they really are like live being, friends, who confer you with a favor....

So it was Vishwamitrasana. I struggled a lot with it when I first started on it -- and worked on its entry from various angles, looked up several how-to videos, websites and all the many yogagurus' books I have. I first did the Anantasana variation of the side twist, lying on my side to create the right flexibility at the abdomen and flexibility in the hips and legs. Then I added some seated side bends (Parivritta Janu sirsasana and Sri yantra pose). Then I worked on the bhujapidasana (shoulder press) arm balancers.Finally the full glory of the Vishwamitrasana. I spent a few weeks on this pose. After getting the pose (no pose is actually fully got, unless you get all the features in, plus hold it long enough for it to quality), I practiced it with love for a week. Then, I got distracted by some new poses and then, believing that I need to be grounded I just hung on to my basic sequence all of last month, increasing the duration in each pose).But along the way, I "lost" some poses.

Last week, when I went back to the Vishwamitrasana, I could not get a single feature of it in place and barely execute it any aspect of it -- the side twist, the shoulder-press and even the leg lift . It was not one, but almost all the features of the pose which eluded me. This despite the fact that in the interim I was working with the preparatory poses. I  had (wrongly) assumed that the preparatory poses should do, to lift me back right up in the Sage's exotic tapasic pose. However, the final, glorious pose  would not happen. Which shows that each pose has to be respected and attention given to it exclusively, for it to remain yours.

But today, the pose "returned" :)
. because I have been spending a lot of time "thinking" about the pose.
Its intriguing, but its as if the pose decided to stop sulking, forgive me, and grant me an audience!:)

How to "recover" a pose you lost?

* Rework all the aspects of the pose separately, spending substantial time in each.
* Spend a week or so, seeing if all the preparatory poses are still happening perfectly.
* Warm up carefully before starting on the final pose .
* When you decide to go ahead with the final pose, go full on, with confidence. It will always happen better than you thought or feared!!
* Usually the fact that you have "lost" a pose will likely make you lose heart and discourage you. But here is where you stick on, and work around the weaknesses.
* The beauty of "recovering" a pose is that you will get fresh and more powerful insights into how to execute the pose better!

Happy sadhana!


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