Yesterday I was in my seated asanas and I could hear, between my breaths of course, Sharath’s words in the Shala as he was working with someone. I heard words like; no fear, go back, walk, why fear, go. His tone remains the same and it is just words that he repeats as he has his hands on the student. I glanced up, in between efforts to keep my drishti, although I did not need to at all, as I understand very well the fear, the hesitation and the inability to let go.
I am compassionate to myself as well in this area. I worked hard to let go of the fear and to not let anything distract me. This is not easy when you are in the first row and Sharath decides to take a seat on the stage while you are standing up and dropping back. Maybe I’m wrong but I could feel his eyes on me, knowing my mind is now getting in the way. I want to walk in to deepen the back bend and want to let go but feel a lot of hesitation held in the body. The thinking starts as well and the “I can’t.” My breath gets belabored and it’s hard to bring a sense of ease and calm to this back bending process. It’s almost like I’m rushing to get through it and this is actually the area where it okay to stay as I heard a teacher say, “it’s your time.” You finish primary series and things go great and then you come up to this other series, Urdhva Dhanurasana, and it’s like I put the breaks on and then take off doing 120 mph when I decide to do it.
You can read about back bending and talk all day about it but nothing is going to get over any fear without doing it. You have to feel it and continue to explore the changes. You have the knowledge about drishi and how your legs should be, positioning of the feet and the arms. You can watch all the videos about it but you have to experience it to gain the knowledge and get over the fear because it will always be there. This practice is about experiencing, it’s about finding the peace in the pose through the breath. I get to drop back twice and Sharath is up standing in front of me so I know my time is up. I try to breathe and back bend with him. I touch down and walk and before I know it I’m up. He was easy on me. I feel like he sees through my desire to be pushed in this area and he wants me to push myself so he stops. He wants me to figure it out.
Fear is present when you don’t know. No freedom is coming without experience and true knowledge is learning through experience. It also takes time to know some things, a time to grow and a patience that yoga can teach us. We are all going to look back onto times of our former self when we thought we knew. We didn’t, we didn’t have a clue. I know I didn’t and I am okay to find some humor and laugh. All we can do is be in the moment; doing the best we can with each breath, enjoying the learning process and the journey of this life. I find humor in the things I thought I knew especially when I discover it’s really something else. It’s a build up and there are no shortcuts. Even if you are on the fast track something is going to get you thinking and change you through experience and true knowledge. It’s not ending for me and I am grateful for the fun times on the journey.