Me me me me me me!! Ok, that's enough about me for now. Let's talk yoga!
I noticed something interesting last night in standing bow pose. I've developed a problem where my kicking leg keeps on "turning out" at the height of the posture. This ONLY happens on the right side. It's very annoying. I can SEE it happen, but it happens on its own. I keep trying to just do a better kick (kick BACK more), but it doesn't always straighten it out.
Well, last night I noticed ANOTHER problem: my left shoulder wasn't coming all the way under my chin. It was over to the left a little bit. That meant that I wasn't stretching my left arm forward as much as I could. So in the next set, I paid attention to stretching my arm and got it in the center right away.
BOOM: my leg stayed in the right place.
On one hand, well yes, of COURSE that would work. If you don't coordinate coming down AND kicking AND stretching, you end up with trouble. But it just did not occur to me that a little laziness in my left arm would be the cause of all the other problems! I've had quite a few teachers in the last couple months tell me to fix my leg, but no one ever thought about the other parts of the posture. The answer is not always obvious. Sometimes the trick is to find that "keystone," and once you slip it into place, everything else automatically stabilizes.
This is just one timely example of one of my favorite aspects of the series, which is expressed neatly by the founder of the Sierra Club, John Muir: "When you try to pick out anything by itself, you find it hitched to everything else in the universe."
It's pretty amazing. There is nothing in the yoga that really exists in isolation. The different components of the individual postures are physiologically linked, the postures themselves work together in synergy, and then of course everything that happens in the yoga room is inextricably linked to your life. I could list SO many examples, but here's another small technical one. I had a little epiphany about "chin up" when I was doing the first part of awkward pose the other night. The hardest part of that posture for me is getting the backbend in the lower spine. It finally occurred to me that when you lift your chin a little bit, so that there's a tiny arch in your neck, it triggers the backbend in the entire spine. I moved my chin maybe a millimeter higher and found an awesome curve in my lower back. That was cool! There are so many interlocking pieces in these postures. I never get tired of them.
I laughed at myself when I wrote the opening paragraph of this post - "I'm not going to talk about me anymore, I'm going to talk about yoga!" - because it's almost impossible now to talk about one without bringing up the other. That's when you know you're really in deep. You can't talk about yoga without weaving in pieces of your self, and you can't tell a story of your life without yoga in it!