Our Natural Way

Kapilasana... It is a posture in the Advanced B series. I have to say that I was not given this asana by Guruji or Sharath, so it is not something that is a regular part of my practice. And I am still a long way away from doing this asana with ease (it looks like I am clawing my way out of a ditch when I try to get into it!!). However, on occasion I like to investigate those asanas that take me further into the places that feel supported by the natural way in which my body wants to move. 

For me, as much as I tried, I was not a natural backbender (although I nearly killed myself trying, I tells ya!!). And after 22 years of practicing Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, I know that in order for me to keep opening and growing in the practice, I need to lessen (not stop) the intensity of those asanas that go against the natural way in which my body wants to move and explore all the possibilities of movement that still enable more opening, surrender, strength and awareness. I'm not condoning picking and choosing asanas. But the deeper into practice I go and the older I get I see how important it is to pay close attention to where our bodies want to go and how they want to move. 

Once we identify our natural "way" we can create subtle variations in movements to keep growing and developing for as long as we live. The critical piece however is to recognize the difference between the natural "way" and the weak places. Just because one can contort their bodies with ease doesn't mean they should continually go deep into their flexibility. Quite the opposite. Our "natural way" can be what eventually hurts us (of course, it can also be what heals us even after it hurts us!!!). And that's the beauty of yoga. In theory, it requires that no stone in our bodies is left unturned. Find the natural way and then explore all the variations that bring awareness to as many "stones" in yourself as possible. If you feel pain, reduce effort and find another variation that bypasses the pain. 

It's a lifelong journey and has the potential to create a stronger more resilient being. 

Oh yes, and also take rest every now and again. It's amazing how healing and enlightening a rest period can be!!

"Nature is an endless combination and repetition of a very few laws. She hums the well-known air through innumerable variations." - Ralph Waldo Emerson (found in the book "Kids Beyond Limits" by Anat Baniel)