Real

“Nothing ever becomes real til it is experienced.” ~John Keats

 

 This quote by John Keats for me sums up my experience with my yoga practice.  Both on and off the mat, until I have experienced it, I can not really understand it.  And once it is experienced, whatever it may be, it becomes real.

Let me give you an “on the mat” example:  When I was a new yogi and was striving for my downward dog, I struggled.  The whole posture for me was painful and awkward.  I can not imagine what it looked like!  In my mind there was no way that my heels were ever going to reach the earth and my legs were far from straight.

While practicing at home with my Baron Baptiste “Foundations” DVD http://www.amazon.com/Yoga-Journal-Baptistes-Foundations-Vinyasa/dp/B000VI70VS, when he says to allow the spine to descend into the body, I thought “What?!?”  He goes on to explain that the chest opens and the shoulder blades come together allowing the entire torso to be under the shoulder blades.  For months I went to my mat and every time I entered downward facing dog I repeated Baron’s words.  But still it didn’t make any sense!

One day after I had finally stopped striving for the perfect downward dog an internal shift happened during the pose which ultimately changed my practice forever.  I was concentrating on moving the weight of my hands into the first three knuckles of my fingers when the slightest rotation to my shoulders happened.  From there my chest opened, shoulder blades came together and I felt my torso fully engaged, underneath my shoulder blades.  DING DING DING!!  It all came together.

Since that moment, my downward dog asana changed.  I realized that it wasn’t about striving for the heels to reach the mat or the perfectly straight legs and back.  It was about noticing the small details in the hand placement and being conscious of where my weight was distributed.  This shift of body awareness allowed the body to move where it was meant to be.  Once I had experienced that, the words and movement became real for me.

From my open heart to yours,

Shanell

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