Monday, May 16, 2011

Learning to Fly

A mostly accurate excerpt from a not so recent conversation about flying:
Me: “There’s no way something that big and heavy should be able to fly.”
Paul: “ According to the laws of physics, there’s no way is shouldn’t fly.”

This week is flight school.  Not that we will be doing a whole lot of arm balances, per se, rather we will be paying attention to the relationships which create the foundation for flight. 

I have frequently said that crow (kakasana—very similar to crane, bakasana.  Quite honestly I have not been able to find sources which agree on the differences between the two.  Although the Second Series calls the pose bakasana, I actually prefer kakasana, because of the association with the Ramacaritamanasa of Tulasi Das.  Unfamiliar with this reference?  Come to class this week to hear the story!) is the gateway arm balance, meaning that if you can approach crow, you can (and will want to) approach other arm balances.

In crow, we find an interplay of opposites.  There is a forward bend (the hips are in extreme flexion allowing the torso to meet the thighs and the knees to reach the upper arms) and an upper back bend (the chest is lifting and moving forward) held together by the fear of not faceplanting into the mat.

The Little Engine that Could was one of my favorite books growing up.  My son now has the copy that was given to me as a child
The pose is more faith than strength, more mula bandha than flexibility.  If your first thought when approaching crow is “I can’t do that,” then you are 100% correct.  We will build a foundation that, with consistent practice, will bring you into the full pose over time.  Remember, the goal is not any specific expression of the pose; the goal is learning to approach something that is purposefully difficult.  The goal is “I think I can!”

It is supposed to be difficult.  It is supposed to be scary.  It is not always going to happen all at once.  We will take the pose in stages so that every student can work in some aspect of the pose.

Yes, I will ask some of you to try to jump into the pose.  I may even ask some to enter it from handstand in the center of the room.  It can be done. I will show you.  I will guide you.

Faith and mula bandha.  Faith and mula bandha.

No comments:

Post a Comment