Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Well, its been a few days.

I had a pretty mellow weekend. I did a great back bend practice on Sunday and worked my way to kapotasana which was fun. I needed some help in the heat of it to really get a hold of my heels but I did a good job on my own. I also played around with a fun backbend variation from the level 3 syllabus which is called kapinjalasana in urdhva danurasana. It is a one-legged urdhva danurasana and the other side of you is doing natrajasana or kapinjalasana. I had never tried it but had seen it demoed a few times.

As I was practicing I found that I could do it so long as I turned my bottom foot out. I kept finding that was the only way to maintain my balance. So I texted both Noah and Darren to find out if that was okay. They both said, "It's the only way." In fact, Darren said, "Remember, f it affords access, then its alignment."

I thought this was so cool because it really made mee think deeply about what it means to access a pose. Not just the shell of the pose, not just the outer form but an intelligent alignment with the mechanics exteriorly and interiorly. When we first learn alignment it can seem like it actually denies access. For instance we say things like, "Only lift your leg as high as you can keep the hips square" and many times people feel like we have denied them a full expression with that injunction.

But here is the cool thing that we see over and over again. If we really engage those boundaries and practice within them then the body lines up over time with the optimal blueprint and the boundary or the imposed limitation that initially seemed to deny access, begins to afford an access that is healthier, more therapeutic and eventually a greater freedom in and expression of the pose arises. It is very cool. Then you get to the advanced poses and the you work within a form that is trickier and trickier.

So, it is an interesting inquiry into what access really means and the consideration of "if it grants access then it is alignment." For us in Anusara Yoga what we want is access to the profound and deep flow of Grace that is our true Self. So what grants access to that?

Surely, there are access points at every level of our being from the outer shell do the deepest sheath. But if we are stuck in the outer "how to" of asana or sadhana we may forget that the how to is only there to serve as access points to the Infinite. So really, we practice poses, and figure them out and explore them simply (and not so simply) as a means by which we might explore the finite mechanism of the body to experience and express the infinite Grace within.

So really, what grants you access? Think about it.


Dale said...

ok, I know you said to think about it, but this is something that I have thought about alot, so instead of bouncing up & down in my seat waving my hand around, I'll just go ahead and blurt out what works for me :-).

To, me, it's all access points.

There is a garden in which my Beloved awaits. There is the man that my beloved wants me to become. There is the purifying of the body. These are the "optimal blueprints" of my spirit, my character, and my physical nature.

As I begin to think God's thought after him, I enter into that garden and abide with my Beloved. My heart releases lesser obsessions and embraces the Beloved - the optimal lover of my soul.

As I become a person who chooses to do the right thing, who loves to show mercy and generosity, who is humble and helpful, who defends the weak and opposes the opressor, my character approaches its optimal blueprint. I become more like Jesus.

And as my body is purified of that which no longer serves me, it too approaches its optimal blueprint.

I read the Bible and pray and worship, but that is only the work that I do - a spiritual exercise or access point - to make the refinements in my spirit that allow me to love God more purely, powerfully, fully.

I try to do the right thing, and I strengthen my resolve with mental/spiritual exercises, but that is only the work. My goal is sanctification - becoming holy.

I work on asana and vinyasa, seeking better alignment, a stronger and more enduring body, purer breath, and clearer mind, but that is only work that I do to seek my physical optimal blueprint.

These are all only fingers pointing at the moon. The UPA are a finger pointing at the best way to work to achieve the physical optimal blueprint. The pose is an opportunity to apply the UPA - another finger. In my practice, the UPA is not the end goal, and the perfect pose is not the end goal - the optimal blueprint is the end goal. All these other things are merely tools.

Prayer and study is a tool. Taking morally correct action is a tool.

The goal isn't what you do, but who you become. I am seeking to become a better Beloved for God, a more pure person, and a better yogi.

And so it goes ...

Myriam said...

Oh, well..
Hey Christina, was doing anatomy and Therapeutics with the Kirks and met a very nice lady from Vancouver was talking sweet things about you.
Bought your book... read it.. it is so great ! thank you.. .
when you say, turn the feet out... what is it mean really? It was in Kapotasana or on your way to kapinjalasana?
thank you very much for this space.
may the Grace with you all..