|painting by Jessie Fisher|
Part of my cringe regarding this coveted pose comes from early attempts at teaching it. I regularly included it in classes as an impressive goal pose. It seemed easier to please our egos than challenge them with too much yoga philosophy. Though easier was definitely not as interesting.
|Pop-up sidewalk meditation. (I'm the teen on the right)|
Instead, being aware of how we meet our bodily experiences and sensations as they arise (and pass), show us valuable information about how we meet life. Can we practice without struggle or strain? How do we sit comfortably with emptiness? What would right effort feel like?
As a teen, I spent a few summers living in a home with a Japanese Buddhist family. My brother and dad resided in a shack in the backyard. My dad worked on the home in exchange for our accommodations. The family also happened to be our friends, and enjoyed having us around the premises. A small Buddhist temple in the living room often caught my attention. MTV was going downhill, so mimicking the Buddha statue gave me something else to do with my free time. Even though I wasn't aware of any meditation techniques, showing up, ringing the bell, and sitting down felt like enough. This precious practice introduced me to the feeling of being at home in my own body, if only for a few minutes at a time.
Yoga is sometimes referred to as a goalless practice. There is no final destination and nothing to be accomplished. The expansive present is the practice. Beyond achieving, posturing and proving.
"Yoga asks us to walk a razor's edge, to devote ourselves wholeheartedly to a particular pose, while fully understanding that on another level, the pose is arbitrary and irrelevant. If we cling to the form of the poses as ultimate truth, we miss the point. The poses were born from the practice of yogis who looked inside themselves..." -Anne Cushman