The hard stuff.

by Joanna D.

IMG_2370The other morning an interesting question came up, about giving more focus to the things that work well than those that don’t in an asana practice. My answer, “well, that depends.”

If a person was to mainly focus on the aspects of their practice that already work well, those things will continue to stay the same, or perhaps get stronger. If the aspects that are more difficult to work with, lets say… ummm…. chaturanga, never receive the same level of focus, they will likely get more difficult as time goes on and potentially start to cause problems. It also introduces the idea of the “artful dodger”, as David says.

Something like Uddiyana and Mula bandhas, the center of your body, the “core” OR – the use of the legs is vital. It’s so underestimated, that use! The lower abdominal muscles and the legs… they do so much work and rarely get the focus and diligence they need to stay strong and vigilant. So the shoulders and lower back tend to take the brunt of it.

There are smart ways to work on things and not so smart ways to work on things. If you’re not creating an action because you have an injury, well, that’s probably smart but do it in a purposeful way. This practice has the capacity to inspire some serious critical thinking. Harness that, and use it to your advantage. “What can I do that will help me rehabilitate my body?” And, leave me at the other end of it with a greater knowledge of how to move with awareness and dynamism.

And hopefully, it will truly be inspiring!

The hard stuff will pay off in the end. It’s true. Maybe just a little but none-the-less enough to initiate a sense of gratification. It’s so simple and applicable to so many aspects of existence, and at the same time can prove to be difficult. No one really wants to work on the hard stuff. But if you don’t, it never gets easier and you lose the opportunity of tapping into your true potential.

Rehabilitation of a damaged part of the body is a serious challenge. Both mentally and physically. The trick for me, was to remain aware of all parts working together to create stability. To look at the aspects I was unable to work with in the usual way and developing new ways to achieve a similar result. By diligently approaching practice like this, I have come to better know my body, my limits, strengths and received inspiration in surpassing limitations. Relearning how to engage my foot with the earth, rediscovering the muscles in a severely atrophied limb, finding the ability to walk… challenging. Now, it’s all coming back alive.