Well, this is kind of cool. Today I put my hands behind my back in Pashchima Namaskarasana (Reverse Prayer pose) and my palms folded together with ease. Now when did that come about?
I have always struggled a little to bring my palms behind my back and happily keep them there for a while but today, it suddenly feels so easy. Infact, it’s downright comfortable.
That’s the funny thing about yoga. You get to find your ‘edge’ in a pose and keep breathing into it. Creating more space as you inhale, melting any tightness as you exhale, and little by little your body shifts and opens up. The changes are often small, sometimes imperceptible on a daily basis. and then one day there you are, doing the one thing you couldn’t ever imagine you would. What’s more, when you get there, it feels simple… like your body was meant to do it all along.
I remember I had a similar experience with Uttanasana (Forward Fold) when I first starting practising yoga regularly. To begin with, I could barely brush the mat with my fingertips because my hamstrings and lower back felt tight. Then one day, my hands were suddenly on the ground, and I hadn’t even noticed until that very moment that the tightness in the back of my legs in the pose had disappeared somewhere along the way.
It was the same with Sirsasana (headstand). I struggled for ages to balance without a wall and then one day I gracefully floated up like I had been balancing upside down all my life. I hadn’t remotely felt able to achieve this pose the previous day, and then there I was headstanding in the middle of the room the very next. My body now moving gracefully through the air then coming to stillness in a way it never had before.
Of course it feels wonderful when these moments happen but all these individual achievements are simply additional benefits to my main reason for practicing yoga, or at least they all add up to a much greater whole:
I have a friend who plays in a rockband. He tells me some nights when he’s on stage, he doesn’t have to think about what he’s playing, it just happens. He’s somehow in ‘the zone’ where his fingers are playing his guitar all on their own. On those nights, the music feels utterly effortless. It may not happen every night but when it does, that’s when he plays the best rock he has ever played.
More and more, that’s how yoga feels to me and why I practise. As a Vinyasa Flow yoga teacher and student, I too sometimes find myself in the moment, when heart, body, mind and breath all flow seamlessly together and do what they have always been meant to do.
Like it’s the most natural, joyful thing in the world…
… and that truly feels like magic!