"Eka Pada Rajakapotasana"
This is one of my favourite poses, not just Eka Pada Rajakapotasana to me, Its "THE" Eka Pada Rajakapotasan to me.
Firstly the beauty in which this pose illuminates in its physical form, including many progressions and variations, and the journey the body takes leading into the final pose is something else all in itself. But here it is something different! I have an emotional connection and major shifts in the obtainment of this pose where further depth and understanding of myself came from having my body perform this posture with grace.
For me I was around twenty-four years of age. My practice was soaring and was in acceleration mode, but I found that I was struggling to obtain this posture.
I would spend my evenings dedicating time, specifically, to the process and discovery of eka pada rajakapotasana yet no matter how much I tried and how much I pushed I could not get my body into this posture.
A major shift was about to happen within my practice. This was the first time I watched within my practices subtleties, specifically in this case emotions, being directly connected to my physical practice.
Through this posture I found that my heart was closed. I found that I was going through emotional over comings of love and of being open to love. The act of loving itself, the act of being intimate with another.
With this observation and as the weeks went on, events began to manifest which exposed to me what I needed to see. After years of darkness a light was shined. And you know why? Because I asked to be shown. I wanted to see. I was ready to see how my approach to love was blocking many things within me.
A specific event was the direct reason behind me opening, being able to express, to be in a space of love again and to be exposed to another.
Once this event took place I obtained the pose the very next day with comfort and ease -exactly how a posture should be obtained.
How could I not reflect on exactly how this happened - something so obvious - a pose in which I was working towards for months and not coming even close to and then one day waking up and finding myself naturally progress into "THE" Eka Pada Rajakapotasana.
And therefore, I hold this posture close to my heart, literally as well as metaphorically.
From this point it was not an issue to get into this posture, or for that matter many other back bending postures where my heart was open and exposed.
My heart was open again and my practice blossomed because of it.
"My heart was open again and my practice blossomed because of it."
Recent experiences of this within my practice are happening more and more, sometimes the releases come fast and sometimes it takes months to work through.
I am constantly in search and finding new and old resistances, some of course more stubborn to shift than others.
But within my practice I always try to remain the observer to the experience and any time I am spending trying to shift, overcome or purely understand I can feel is time spent well.
By training my mind to become the observer my mind doesn't allow me to get too involved in what I am uncovering, as this may result in a negative impact on my body, through injury, or my mind, through negative thought patterns arising.
More and more within my practice I have found myself analysing and watching the blockages and resistances in my subtleties and how that, in turn, effects my physical body within my Yoga practice.
In life we always logically start with the most obvious reasoning for answers. In Yoga we start with the physiology and what is happening in our physical bodies that's stops us from obtaining the postures we are striving for. But once you have ruled out the fact that you have tight hamstrings due to the fact you are a runner - as here you just have to spend a little more time opening them with daily forward folds and long holds in Pachimottonasana, or the fact that you have weak arms - you don't do weights and most of your day does not consist of any physical lifting for the growth of these muscles, so yes that does mean extra holds in Chaturanga Dhandasana should do the trick here.
Buts it’s after this, beyond Physiology, it is after the physical analysis that you begin to go inwards, and this is a natural progression when you start to find yourself going deeper into you practice.
So, once I eliminate any physical obstructions I briskly move into my emotions, into the time and what I am going through currently within my own life. What could be stopping me from something that may have occurred years previous on this day on my mat.
It is here I begin to find the answers and begin to direct my practice into working through these restrictions.
My body reflects my emotional, mental and spiritual state. I believe this fully to be true.
When you find yourself not being able to obtain something whether it be in your Yoga practice or during everyday life, ask yourselves the question.
Start by asking, what do I need? What do I want? Of course, you won’t get a straight forward response, but your innerself will acknowledge that you have begun to take notice and will find a way to give you the answer you are searching for but not through worded response.
By simply asking the questions you can eliminate a few answers. For example, why am I constantly tired within my practice? So, I give myself the answers, here I must try and understand - am consuming the correct nutrients? Drinking enough water? Getting enough rest? From these reflections I can confirm these can either be the answer to my question of they can be eliminated, and you can begin to focus on what is affecting you day to day internally - in your emotions and what is going on in your mind. Here you can go further and ask more questions. Am I happy with my work? Am I giving myself enough me time? and further still after more elimination going deeper. Are the seasons affecting me? Did something happen to me this time last year? Have I been asking people for guidance, help or support when needed it or have I been baring the weight of everyday living and now I’m at the point where I feel a straw could make me break?
Here you will discover, through process of elimination or asking an accurate question, the answers, that something is happening in you that is holding you back and not allowing you to live at your potential.
"My body reflects my Emotional, Mental and Spiritual state.
I believe this fully to be true."
When your practice grows, and you find yourself connecting more and more with the subtler aspects of your journey ensure you continue and strive forth but with a gentleness. Discovering what is going on with and within our bodies can be a daunting task to begin and expose.
Ensure that your mental and emotional state is ready for the answers that they may find. Not only this but ensure that you are ready to work through these issues.
If you at any point find yourself becoming overwhelmed understand when you have done enough for the day. Ensure that you open and close each practice of self-investigation correctly, so you can differentiate it and not allow it to affect the rest of your day.
If you upon analysis find that you are in a state where you can investigate further, then go for it and delve in deep. Enjoy the process whilst remembering to remain the observer of your finding - not allowing yourself to become too involved at any time during this process.
The outcome and results are space created, a lightness, a shedding, an energy reserve, self-understanding, progression and growth. Both of superficial and subtle qualities are affected.
There is more space created within the body as the resistances have been released. A lightness in the body directly due to more space being created in it. The way that we physically move through matter is more fluid, easier and less restricted.
In the mind less space is taken up by worry, over activity, negativity or insecurity leaving more space and a more tameable mind for positive, clear thought processes. A heavy mind is that of a worried mind and with less worry the mind becomes light and things can be perceived more accurately, with Jnana - where a larger perspective has been obtained.
With this we can begin to shed the way in which we may have stood held ourselves before - in an insecure manner. Now the way we held ourselves before has gone, we have eliminated the old way and what we have discovered is we are now a taller, more confident version of ourselves.
Shedding is a trans-formative process and shedding of no longer required qualities of the mind allows for transformation of the mind to take place.
If we do not shed, we cannot transform.
When it comes to energy, less time is spent on the imagination, less time is spent wasted within thought.
Physically, once these restrictions and blockages are released, we begin to discover more about ourselves and let go of the bodies tensions. Here the body finds it has more time and energy for other, more catered aspects of the practice.
Overall there grows a more refined self-understanding which is fulfilling the intent of your yoga practice.
It’s about the beauty of baring witness to these shifts, the changes, the new openings and less restriction that we find come in our Yoga practice. It’s the effort we place in discovering the root of these blockages and not allow things to go dark, unacknowledged, stagnate or restricted again.
"The outcome and results are space created, a lightness, a shedding, an energy reserve, self-understanding, progression and growth -Both superficial and subtle qualities are effected."
I continue to watch my practice with eagerness to see what I am next to discover about myself. Through these new discoveries I enable myself to not only move better through space with my physical body, but my thoughts and general understanding is now clearer, there is more space within my mind. This allows me to channel my energy correctly and efficiently, allowing me each time to gain larger perspective and understanding of myself and therefor those and things around me.