Currently, my favorite pose is Balasana or child’s pose. Structurally, it is immensely helpful with releasing my sacrum and glut muscles, especially after a long drive or too much time sitting. The longer I rest there, the more opening I feel through my entire pelvic bowl… after awhile, waves of heat and space rise thru my butt, low back and spine. Simply delicious.
Energetically and emotionally, it is the softest, sweetest and most nourishing pose I can imagine. So gentle and so kind, child’s pose offers a sense of permission and ease that I feel we could all use a little more of these days. I turn to it whenever I am fatigued, frayed, tender or scared. Without fail, it settles me every time.
Before my practice, I am contracted, slightly scared (in that subtle, beneath the surface way we almost all and almost always are), and DULLED. As in, my entire system is somewhat sedated, less vibrant, less alive.
During my practice, my breath begins to deepen and warm and expand- revealing the cracks and tensions and stagnancies inside. Stretching my psoas in a simple lunge proves so intense, a spontaneous lion’s breath emerges. And I am suddenly and without apparent reason, very angry. Moving on… after seven or so improvised sun salute variations, I find what feels like a small pile of gravel in my left shoulder and jaw. It won’t dissolve, no matter how contorted I become, no matter how deeply I breathe, no matter how badly I want it to. Ten to 15 minutes in child’s pose unwinds my right hip, sacrum and glut muscles- too tense from too much driving. And when I remember a strong inhale on my way UP into forearm stand (thanks to my Mysore teacher, JD), I finally find my balance. Hovering there, inverted and upended, all those unnecessary and circular thoughts disappear and the vibrancy returns.
In Padmasana, at the end of my practice, I am still.
A sweet and subtle tingle of warmth, lined with chill, snakes up my spine. The light around me seems brighter- as though a gorgeous gust of wind has pushed a heavy gathering of clouds west, revealing the full spectrum of the sun. My body is not resisting me in any way any longer- it holds itself effortlessly, aligned and peaceful.
I practice because it makes me feel better.
I practice because it increases my capacity to hold steady when things feel shitty, scary, unbearable, ugly and mean.
I practice because it makes me love stronger.
I practice because I don’t mind doing the dishes or cleaning out the litter box quite as much afterwards.
I practice in order to open myself to the awesome sweetness and grace that life offers.
I practice because it makes chocolate taste chocolatier,
and champagne seem bubblier.
I practice because it clears my mind, opens my heart, strengthens my body… and on the really good days, liberates my spirit.
I practice because it makes sleep deeper, joy brighter, rain delightful…
And because it helps me to understand so much more readily and with so much more compassion when someone is tight or rushed or rude.
I practice to know my essence.
And because, ultimately, my practice is the most direct pathway I’ve found to a consistent and dependable relationship with and connection to God.