I spent many years of my life avoiding Yoga. I didn’t have a ‘groove’ for it like I did for T’ai Chi. Anytime I tried it – I would inevitably crunch my lower back; cursing Cobra for my injury. I’m sure some of you are nodding your heads in agreement. So I avoided it like the plague.
I kept bending myself like a straw – not an articulated straw – but a straight straw
No wonder I was always in pain – I was blaming Yoga, when really problem was within myself. I wasn’t *thinking* about how to do it, I just shoved my body into the position so it would look like Cobra. And when the result was exactly what one expect from crunching one’s body backwards it never occurred to me to do anything but outwards blaming. I was missing the pattern – doing the same thing again & again & again that yielded the exact same results but never questioning myself.
It kind of reminds me of something I came across this week – about the perception of New Yorkers being rude, yet the author was explaining that most tourists don’t understand the nuances of living in a very big and crowded city and that their behavior might be rude thus causing those around them to act rudely back. In this case, the cause and effect were flipped. The meaningful part of that essay, for me, was when the author said this:
“..when someone is rude, they will be treated rudely in return. If you come to this <situation> and you wonder why everyone is rude to you, what you should be asking yourself is this:
What am I doing wrong?
In life in general, you will get farther with other people if you do not always blame them for the things that go wrong in your life. Asking yourself what you are doing to produce a certain response from others will take you far in reaching a greater harmony.”
I often find my son does this very same thing – blaming others before wondering if his actions might have been cause – especially when it happens again and again. So much of life is about patterns and taking the time to notice them; reflect upon them and see if there’s something to learn from it.
So back to Yoga…in Bikram, there’s a back bend that happens in the beginning of the series. It’s a really big back bend and it scared the HELL out of me. So instead of forcing myself to go back as far as I could, I listened to the instructor describe the movement as a lifting up before going back. And the light bulb went on and the little voice in my head said “WAIT! Instead of going back like a straight straw, lift up first and bend back like an ARTICULATED STRAW”
Guess what? It worked. I love back bends. I love Cobra. I love Camel. I love life as an articulated straw.