Last week I wrote generally about home practice. This week, I thought I’d share with you a glimpse into my personal practice.
The illustration below is my attempt at conveying the inner dialogue that goes on in my head. I often begin a practice by approaching my poses systematically. I’ll start at one end and work myself through the various instructions that I know. In doing so, something generally comes to light. For example, currently, I’m apparently fixated on the fact that the toe nail of my big toe falls inward. Why is it not centred on the toe?! This is an example of a jumping off point for my practice. I might then try different ways of broadening the underside of the foot, playing around with shifting my weight in the pose, and continuously (!!) sending the message to my big toe to cooperate. I’ll also begin to think about other asanas that may help me to more effectively teach my big toe this lesson. From this process, a practice develops.
(A) Cut outer edge of foot down.
(B) Turn front thigh out.
(C) Wrap calf muscle in behind the shin bone.
(D) Draw the outer line of the thigh up.
(E) Keeping the inner ankle lifted, transfer the weight to the big toe base and inner heel.
(F) Lift all four sides of the thigh up.
(G) Suck in at the outer hip.
(H) From the base of the abdomen turn the trunk up towards the ceiling.
(I) Turn upper arm out and cut the shoulder blade down the the back.
(J) Rotate upper arm in and lift the arm up.
In my practice, I very much enjoy deconstructing the poses. I have fun experimenting and trying to figure out why and how things work. That said, I also enjoy and feel a need to allow myself just to ‘be’ in the poses – to allow the experience of the asana to penetrate my being. So, for me, it’s really important that I also incorporate that aspect into my practice. Sometimes, the best thing I can do for myself is turn off my analytical mind and allow consolidation of understanding to permeate.
How do you practice? Do you have a process that motivates and inspires you in your home practice?
How does your experience of Utthita Trikonasana compare to mine? Can you share additional nuances of the pose? Or perhaps you experience the pose differently than I do…please feel free to post about your experience. I welcome the feedback and would be grateful to learn from the experience of others.
I really enjoy reading your blog. Your insights are helpful, you write so well, your passion is inspiring and your topics are interesting. What more could I ask for? I’m looking forward to future instalments and to taking a class from you in the future. I’m sure you’re a great teacher!
thx Michael, for your exceptionally kind words. It warms my heart to know that you are finding my blog relatable.
I’ve recently started an Iyengar Teacher Training and just found your blog! Your way of deconstructing the pose will certainly guide me now when doing my next Utthita Trikonasana. Love your drawing!
thank-you! I’m excited for you to embark on the teacher training journey…enjoy your experience and soak up all it has offer! I remember thinking at the end of my first year that I had learned so much. To my amazement, I felt exactly the same at the end of year 2 and year 3! There is just so much!! I know now that our training is actually limitless 🙂 There’s always more to learn, new ways to practice, to teach, to evolve, to develop. Totally fascinating – I just love it.
i have a problem keeping my back st and not rounded