Sunday, April 13, 2008

Inversions - My world upside down!

I am in flight to India. It is my bi-annual trip for business but I am fortunate to dock in Model Colony right next to Guruji’s Yoga Center RIMYI. I have to sincerely thank Mrs. Sunita Parthasarthy, Guruji's daughter who so gracious to request Mr. Pandu that I be allowed to take classes for two weeks I am in Pune. Thank you! I am excited and looking forward to the energy I have been craving for the last few months.

So as I sail to the Mother Land at 40,000 feet I have with all humility the luxury of flying business class. It gives me the space and leg room, and a near flat bed. I have known to work my yoga poses in flight with my most important prop – the yoga belt/strap, please don’t leave home with out it! I sometimes I will do some poses in the galley as the flight attendants watch with amusement and awe. And of course my neighbor passenger may on occasion have to deal with a spilt glass of water, as so happened in this flight. As a matter of fact I will write a whole blog on doing yoga on a long journey like India. 10 hours to Frankfurt, 4 hour lay over and then 8 hours to Mumbai (though that will be in shavasana). Then another 4-5 hours drive to Pune in the middle of the night. By dawn I will be at my destination tired and jet lagged.

So as I settle into my seat I get my yoga books for reading. The two I bring to read are Light on Yoga and Cool Yoga Tricks. It is great to read them. One to simply absorb the mechanics of poses through Light on Yoga, but Miriam Austin's Cool Yoga Tricks is just a joy. Today I started with Cool Yoga Tricks as my book of choice. Not only do I refresh on the various tricks but I get to look at the models some of whom are my teachers, such as Terry Peterson and Nuvana. My routine would not be complete without my Ipod playing “Leaves In the Wind” and a glass of wine.

I flipped over to a section called Inversions.
It has been some time since I read this section - my memory of the introduction had faded away, but deep down it was there somewhere about why “Adho Mukha Vriksasana” was my most favorite pose. As I read through the Miriam’s homage to Inversions I realized why this pose is my favorite and closest to my heart. I realized spiritually why it is my kids favorite and every kid I have taught yoga also finds it the most fun pose. This realization just poured out the emotions and feeling I have bottled up inside me for the past year. Those simple words evoke so many emotions inside me and opened up my heart chakra. I quote Miriam from her book on this beautiful synopsis of Yogic Inversions:

“Upside Down – Inverted poses gives us great energy. They help to balance the glandular system and the hormonal system and bring oxygen to the brain. They increase our physical strength and balance. Emotionally inversions bring us internal balance and poise when our lives are upside down!

Inversions give us new perspective. When we see the world upside down, we glean new understandings. In a shoulder stand and Plow our view is a more intimate as we gaze deep down into our own hearts. When you take the time to look what secrets does you heart want to share with you?

In Inversions we put our heart above our heads. Can you imagine how our lives – how the world would change – if we put our heart above our heads more often!"

It was the last sentence that brought all my pent up emotions to the surface. As I type this blog I have shameless tears pouring from my eyes. I have no shame, I have no fear as I experience this wonderful cathartic explosion of my heart and pour it out in open. It is what I have learnt in this journey of pain and suffering which I have dealt with by practicing Iyengar yoga.

I have been on a journey of severe mental and emotional pain. Since early 2007 my life has been fractured and simply took a journey of its own – to a complete destruction. I have been hanging upside down in every way. I can’t describe in words the pain and suffering it has caused. But in this pain there has been a salvation. Being upside down has brought my heart above my head. It has compelled me to think from my heart – it has brought me closer to my inner soul and it has propelled me on a new path. Putting my heart over my head has not been so easy. It has been a challenge, just as challenging as pushing yourself up in a hand stand. Sometimes I can only be there for a few seconds and sometimes I simply cannot lift up. But those few seconds when I do are uplifting and full of hope.

Observing the world when transitioning into handstand or down the chair in a Duipada Virpiriata Dandasana gives you a completely different view of the world. It gives you a renewed level of confidence and comfort – so that you can reach the end goal slowly but surely. Being upside down brings an acceptance that life whether up or down is simply “life”. I does give you a chance to look at life from another angle, especially the 180 degree upside down angle. Being upside down brings your heart closest to you. It strengthens you in every way. I now know why I like inversions – I am an inverted soul and my heart always has been and wants to be above my head. I can’t ask for anything more from the universe but the strength and courage to appreciate these inversions that happen in my life. However hard and painful they maybe it gives me a chance to appreciate them, understand them and learn from them with courage. I hope you will too.


The Yogi.

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