A few weeks ago I wrote about my struggle with Pasasana, the first posture of the Intermediate Series (Nadi Shodhana) of the Ashtanga Yoga practice. I’ve been working on it consistently, but still feel like I’m still in the same spot. This tends to happen in Ashtanga, at least to me. However, as a teacher, I see this pattern of struggling with a specific posture for a long period of time often with students.
I can honestly say that Ashtanga is never easy. At times, I have practices that are more open and tend to flow amazingly, and then I have practices where I feel tight and stiff. It ebbs and flows, but even when practice is flowing, I still find myself challenged in each asana as I find the new places and paths they lead.
In that respect, I find the term, “mastery” misleading when talking about postures. Do I need to bind my hands or grab my heels to master a posture? Is mastering a posture physical or spiritual or both? I’m a firm believer that when you can breathe proper and steady, remain conscious, bring your awareness completely internal, and accept completely where you are at that moment that day; that’s mastery. Otherwise, I’m just mimicking a shape that someone told me to do. Yoga is an internal practice.
Since I’m having so much trouble balancing in Pasasana because I am so high up on my toes, I decided to try Pasasana a different way. This time, I rolled up the mat in front so that I could place my heels somewhere and not have to worry about balance. This gave me the opportunity to place awareness towards my shoulders, heart center, and twisting at the spine. If you’re practicing with me, I recommend doing it both ways, as I also mention in the video, so that you don’t become dependent on the mat as a prop.
Check out the video. Let me know what you think:
And then this one, where I show Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense Western Stretch) where I did two videos in one! Beginners on the top, advanced on the bottom (so cool)..!!
I’d love to know your thoughts! What postures challenge you? How do you define mastery of a posture?