Staying Mindful Inside Asana

I know most of you must have seen the video of Rachelle Brooke Smith doing standing bow on a tiny ledge in NYC. She’s been called crazy, arrogant and irresponsible for filming it. Granted, it’s looks a bit crazy. I love rockin’ standing bow as much as the next yogini (especially because I am a hot yoga fiend) but on a ledge? Not so much.

But, if I’m getting really honest…I have probably pushed my own limits with poses that may have been dangerous for my body, though none admittedly would have sent me hurtling to death. I’m thinking specifically of hip openers. Over the past few months I’ve been playing with the full expression of kurmasana. On more than one occasion I have given myself that extra exhale in my hips to find the space to get back flat and belly on the floor. I know I should have waited. I wasn’t working from a place of steadiness and ease, but with ego.

You know that little whisper that says… just another half inch and I’ll be right there…Yeah, yeah I know my quads aren’t quite engaged and my breath is a touch short but one.more.push…

Maybe you don’t. If so, that’s awesome. My ego puts on make-up and passes herself off as determination. She’s tricky, that one.

I’m reading Sparks of Divinity, The Teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar (From 1959-1975). The book is a collection of journal writing, conversations and teachings complied by Noëlle Perez-Christiaens. After seeing this video and thinking about my own desire to ‘progress’ my practice one quote in particular jumped to mind. Iyengar said to Perez-Christiaens, ‘You want to do a pose to master it and put it in your pocket; I do it to do it. Be detached from the results.’

Brooks-Smith said she was feeling confident or she wouldn’t have done the video. While I love finding new places to explore and open up in my asana practice, I think my feet will stay firmly planted on the ground and detached from the results.

Namaste y’all.

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4 thoughts on “Staying Mindful Inside Asana

  1. Noooooooooo thank you. On the other hand…

    A man was accustomed to practicing meditation on a hill near his village. He was dissatisfied with his practice, though, because after many years he felt he had made little progress. One evening as he sat on the hill, he noticed a tiger nearby watching him from the brush. The man didn’t dare move for fear of exciting the tiger to spring. He sat all night in meditation, afraid that every moment would be his last. By morning he was enlightened.

    Nothing quite like the prospect of immanent death for tightening up the concentration.

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