In every class there is something that stays in my head as a signpost, be it an action or a statement. Friday classes are a favourite with our teacher exhorting us to observe the effects of certain actions in one location in the body on other areas, on the breath and the mind.
In my initial days, there was a huge disconnect with my body and I would wonder what in the world did the teacher mean by pressurise the outer foot or push the front thigh back etc. It took time for some semblance of awareness to come to those regions. Added to the mix was stiffness in the body and fear in the mind which had to be addressed. Alignment was the key that unlocked the potential for being present. Our teacher said something vey interesting yesterday, “alignment is an instrument” and it just clicked.
There is impatience when I sense the mismatch between my left and right sides and I can’t make it equal. It’s the frustration of a child as he/she struggles with learning to write. Then, I have to remind myself that it takes a lot of abhyasa and more than that, vairagyam. It ties in beautifully with what the Gita sings – bring the yajna spirit to our actions.
Alignment is not just in asana, it begins with the yamas and niyamas. It begins with aligning our conduct with others, aligning self practices to prepare for studentship before moving to asana. And then, it is a continuous process within the shifting paradigms of what they mean at any point in time as one progresses or regresses in practice. In asana also, we do, adjust, observe, redo, understand, experiment, do and stay. Then the pose dissolves and something shifts. Information transforming into knowledge as our teacher says.
The little finger in Urdhva Hastasana has much to teach. Am I listening?