Yoga asanas (postures) are awesome. Somehow, they’ve influenced many parts of my life. But, they are tricky in that they can quickly digress and become a source of comparison from person to person resulting in either ego inflation or degradation because of their somewhat superficial-ness. And that’s not a win-win situation. Especially nowadays with social media, I’m sensitive to how yoga gets represented. Many “yogis” regularly share photos of themselves in particular asanas. Upon viewing it’s easy to say, “wow, I’ll never be able to do that.” Unfortunately photos don’t show how deep their breath is, or other subtle nuances that got them there. It also doesn’t show that persons persistence to get up early every morning to take time for their practice while working towards what you now see. It’s easy to walk away thinking a yoga practice is all goal oriented and nothing else beyond that. An asana photo represents that person in a specific time and place in their life. It represents possibility. It represents practice. Yoga is a system of techniques to promote health, well-being, concentration, control, and lightness among other things. It is to be experienced. Not just observed.
To make sure we stay humble when using asana in a yoga practice and sharing photos of ourselves, we have to keep it real and show it all. That’s why I’m sharing photos of myself in a posture that my body currently doesn’t understand or is unable to do. I do have to say that I’ve come quite a long way in my abilities and mobilities, but I didn’t roll out of bed and nail it. It has taken work.
Here’s the first one: Agnistambhasana AKA fire log pose. A seated pose; two legs in external rotation with bent knees. In this pose, if you are sitting on a mat the shins move towards parallel to the front edge of your mat and the ankles/knees are stacked. For some reason when both of my legs are asked to do deep external rotation at the hip joint not a lot happens. In teacher training several years ago I become the example of the guy that could use a lot of props in the pose. I remember quizzical countenances appearing before me as they looked at the lack of “un-folding” into the pose.
I should probably practice this one every day, but I usually forget. Good luck!
Pictured above: myself in the top 2, and how it’s supposed to look with the legs resting comfortably on each other in the lower photo.