Your Yoga Practice
From Old Words Comes New Wisdom
by Sara Russell
How many times have you heard “hug the thigh muscles to the bone”? If you have been doing Iyengar yoga for some time, I am sure this instruction has crossed your brain waves at least once.
I came to my mat Christmas morning with another BKS saying in mind – that today’s practice should be new. I should not attempt to repeat the same pose from yesterday. Yet, memory draws me to past practices often. Unfortunately, I do repeat. Like shampooing: wash, rinse, repeat.
Except something new happened as I repeated that instruction “hug the thigh muscles to the femur bones”, I felt new muscles come to action, my hamstrings! See before, even thought I thought I was doing this with the entirety of my thigh muscles, but it seems that only my quadriceps where working.
All of the sudden I wanted to repeat this new sensation in every pose – Utthita Trikonasana, Ardha Chandrasana, Virabhadrasana 1, Virabhadrasana 3…Setubhanda, Sirsasana, Sarvangasana, and even seated Pranayama. As I experienced my hamstrings in poses that are quite familiar to me, some thing else happened, my abdomen started to engage too. I wasn’t doing yesterday’s pose after all. It happened with out me consciously doing so.
All of this spilled out of the curiosity and intention to practice an instruction I have heard before. Later in the day, reflection on my asana and pranayama practice, led me to think about what would happen if I had the same curiosity and intention about other aspects of my life? Such as relationships, deepening love, and being able to receive love more fully so that in turn I could give my love more fully too (after all it was Christmas). What new sensations and transformations would spill forth then?
Sara Russell is a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher. Sara has been practicing Iyengar yoga since 2004. At first, as a physical outlet and to compliment running, but overtime the benefits of yoga reached her emotional and spiritual health as well. Sara has taken many workshops with senior teachers.