In all levels class, and really even in an advanced class, I now teach “Chaturanga Practice” instead of teaching or calling out Chaturanga or four limbed staff pose. Calling out Chaturanga does nothing for most of us. I still only Chaturanga on a good day when everything is connected, warm and working together with my breath.
Especially here in the US – I feel like we have arrived at a place in regular practice where we are drilling instead of dancing. Where we are blowing through the hard juicy parts and leaving ourselves out of the party. Unfulfilled. And who would blame us?! It goes by so fast, it’s not only easier but quite logical to muscle through a vinyasa and pretend like that one part never happened. Sure we feel a little weak, a little less-than, a little unnoticed and we have shoulder pain – but we got through it right? WRONG!
Lately, in my public classes and on the channel I have been committed to basking the art of modifying into a new shiny light. Often in class we hear “If you can’t do it, then you can modify and do this.” It is quite true but why does modify always have to sound like YOU SUCK.
In fact, what could be more empowering that having the skills to modify your practice, adapt, change, stay curious until it feels good. Man, I just cannot see it any other way.
So – as you move along through your “Chaturanga practice” stay connected, curious and experimental. Stay focused on your alignment and the action. Those hovering cats – that is the action I am talking about in Chaturanga. I wish we could all be in the same room together to talk about this- some of us are – and some of us will some day! But for now- this little post will have to do. Lower your knees. Practice just lowering sternum to floor. Work on alignment not just upper arm strength, work on integrity, creating a full body experience. Oh, and find some ounce of joy to build upon! Joy will take you places. (Can this be my first THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID on the blog?) That’s what she said.
No man or woman left behind! Get empowered, MODIFY!