Seeds of Santosa - Transformation is in the Details

This blogging lark is not an easy business. More often than not I'm at a loss for something to write, though I've made a promise to myself that I will write once a fortnight (bi-weekly), I'm not in the business of writing just because... it is of course it's own discipline; a means of training the mind to be a regular participant in something that allows the individual to grow. My question to me is, can I do it and am I really doing it? (OK that's two questions...). Currently no, but with the convention around the corner, I'm on the precipice of being effusive about my experience there, so we're going for an "average".

The potential is in the air...

Here's another two. Why Iyengar Yoga for me? Why not some other form of yoga? We all know that modern yoga is fruit of the same tree. Perception of play is perhaps the answer in my humble opinion. By that I mean, a lot of, but not all modern yoga is built on movement from one pose to another and it absolutely has merit, so does the investigation of each pose in detail. Āsana is like being in front of a masterful work of art with the eyes of a novice. Have you ever been to a museum or gallery and there are seats where you can just sit and contemplate the enormity of the work? Have you ever done just that? It changes your perception and experience of the work and your idea of the artist, their intent and view into the window of their workspace. I'll never forget going to see an exhibition of a British artist Howard Hodgkin and being less than impressed (I was young and full of myself) at the bright daubs on the canvasses until I was at one end of the room and turned around. Each canvass sprung into life and far from being separated from the artist, I became aware of the space he regularly worked in. It was intimate at the same time as realizing that I was on an expedition. Maybe that sounds all a bit profound, but I can assure you it was true. Sometimes the details are only revealed when you can stand back.

Our personal practice in āsana runs parallel to this idea. We stay in the poses, first to increase endurance as a beginner, but then to see the āsana as a canvas, as a whole. We come close to the work in different ways, by applying restraint or working with a shape (prop) which are unyielding, to give us a different perspective. Guruji encouraged us to explore or limitations and move beyond them. What can you find in yourself when you are asking a different question in the same arena, apply a different colour and see the interplay between what is already there and the new application? Then find contentment in the present. Judgement without criticism. Measurement without judgement. Props are often surprising element and throw up a different question to what you expect. They are also for the experienced - also a surprise when I first heard it, and then realised who true a statement it was in practice... always in practice.