Today I was demo-ing a fun transition from crow-tripod headstand-crow in my advanced class. This is a transition that makes an appearance fairly regularly in my own practice but not one I’ve demoed in this class before. I was trying to talk, slow down the transition so students could observe the stacking of the bones and low belly lift when *kurplunck* on the way out of sirsasana and back in to bakasana it happened…the dreaded face plant. I have a fairly sore chin to prove it too. Of course I made light and drew attention back to the flow but it definitely made the cheeks turn a rosy shade of “oh no she didn’t.”
The thing is, I totally knew it was going to happen. I didn’t feel grounded and I didn’t feel balanced at ALL, yet my ego bumped into my sense of reason and I ignored the connected voice rising up from the pit of my stomach. Just a friendly reminder that no matter how seasoned the practice there will be moments when we have to step back, reflect, and stop pushing forward to be where we are. That is the difference between yoga and exercise. Pain is not always weakness leaving the body. Sometimes it’s a knock in the toosh from our denial and misrepresentation of our limits in the moment. Who really cares if I can stand on my head and then balance on my arms? Does it make me a better person? The answer is obvious.
Every shape (asana) in the yoga practice is ideally a comfortable well aligned position from which meditation can occur without distraction. It doesn’t really matter if we are sitting crossed legged or balancing on one arm, the shape is just an outward form that is meant to lead to a higher place internally. Showing that you are capable of doing an advanced posture isn’t the yoga, and it for sure has no real value in the sense of finding a deeper connection. If anything, it will lead you closer to injury without that in mind. Release judgement, attachments (vairagya), and be willing to laugh at yourself. And please, laugh at me if I place desire and ego in front of the meditative, therapeutic, and healing power of the practice in your presence again. Humor is always welcome 🙂