Wednesday, December 12, 2012


It's okay to want to do the next posture.

It's more than okay: it's to be expected. It's a byproduct of the practice of Mysore-style Ashtanga.

I mean, we're all in a room with umpteen people, some of whom are floating around and doing fantastic stuff.

If as the Gita suggests the yogini is one who makes the difficult look effortless (skill in action), who wouldn't want to be the floaty, jumpy, bendy yogini, who demonstrates (seeming) mastery of the postures, which we have all gathered daily to practice, often early in the morning, and at the expense of the easy path?

(That is, sleeping in.)

There is also an interesting power dynamic in a Mysore room. An authority figure, who literally physically stands above and over you, rewards your efforts by permitting you to practice another pose; this recognition occurs in front of a group of people, too.

There's probably a rich side vein of thought to explore here — for example, the last time I had to look up at someone physically for approval, recognition or physical assistance was when I was a small child looking up to my parents.

What other atavistic or elemental feelings can and does this dynamic call up?

It's also quite logical to come to the conclusion that, because the different series are linear and progressive, that the earlier poses will "unlock" the more difficult ones.

What follows might be a sense of wonder and curiosity. "If first series makes me feel like this, I wonder what second series will feel like? If pasasana feels like this, I wonder what krouncasana will feel like? I bet I could do dwi pada sirsasana — it doesn't look that hard. I wonder what it will feel like?"

This is natural, and to be expected.

Curiosity and wonder are not a problem to be solved, or a wound to be healed, or a condition to be overcome.

One perspective to adopt is that curiosity is a sthayibhava, an 'abiding emotion,' and an expression of the corresponding rasas ("flavors" or "tastes") adbhuta (wonder) and vira (the heroic).

As such, to want to do the next pose, to be curious, is a gift.

This curiosity will teach you about yourself. It may draw you to practice with more consistency. It may (god willing) help you start a conversation with your teacher. It may help you articulate why you are, in fact, practicing yoga in the first place.

"The important thing is not to stop questioning.  Curiosity has its own reason for existing.  One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality.  It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day.  Never lose holy curiosity." -- Albert Einstein.