Of pixie cuts and Asanas
Gamine, I am not. But I have always wanted a pixie cut ever since I saw Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday, perhaps it was her elegant, chic style, cheeky in its innocent seduction. Perhaps it was her face, chiseled and classic with her pert nose or perhaps it was her with Gregory Peck…sigh!!. I was in love with that hair and associated attitude, so I put it on my bucket list. And I got myself one. And I love it and am uncomfortable with it and feel fierce and vulnerable at the same time.
This dichotomous feeling of strength and weakness, of revelation and hidden layers, of movement and stillness, of discovery and comfort is what I enjoy most about Yoga or more aptly my asana practice. Yoga is much more than the asanas we practice though it has become synonymous with each other. Asanas, or body postures is a way of preparing the body for the next five limbs of yoga, including pranayama. The theory being if the body is sick, the mind will be focused on the weakness or pain or aches in the body rather than any other spiritual advancement. Asanas prime the body for more. Period.
B.K.S. Iyengar, the Guru of modern Yoga, describes asanas in a more process oriented definition that resonates with me. He says asanas are not merely postures but they are imbibed with thought and consciousness regarding anatomy and differences in each person’s unique body. How I get into Warrior pose and stay in and get out of it is as integral as the pose itself. I learned that in my teacher training, and I love that concept, it’s the journey that counts, not just the destination!
Asanas not only tone muscles, ligaments and tissues, but also relaxes the mind, boosts immunity and increases circulation to the organs and glands. I attribute my practice of asanas to increasing strength especially in my upper body. Asanas have challenged my body, I try to hold poses longer, get deeper and take it to the next level. The process of asanas have revealed my vulnerabilities, making my experience raw and honest. One can’t fake it!! The ego is lost when I falter, fall flat, reach out, bend, twist and fail. Some have made me afraid ( handstand….whoa!!) giving me a whole new outlook on gravity and perspective. They have made me confident, given me a high, changed the way I think about my capabilities and driven home the areas where I am weak, exposing my weaknesses and scars to the world outside and more importantly myself. Next on my bucket list is an unassisted handstand and for a girl who couldn’t open a can after surgery, it’s a big one!! Wish me luck!!