Friday, 4 December 2015

Lovely Uttanasana

One morning this week I left the yoga studio feeling inordinately proud of myself.  My yoga teacher had complimented me on a lovely Uttanasana.  Going back millennia people have walked along Stony Stratford High Street, part of an old Roman road, feeling proud of many things but possibly not their Uttanasana!

Uttanasana is the Sanskrit name for a standing forward bend in yoga and if you Google it, you'll immediately get a picture of how it looks.  That morning mine was lovely and I was 'chuffed'.  Then I stopped myself.  What was all this ego stuff about being able to do a forward bend?  My pride became tinged with a touch of guilt.  Yoga is not an ego trip, and I wasn't going to make the world a better place with my forward bend.  Perhaps I wouldn't mention it to anyone after all.

Then I thought about how great it is to celebrate good moments, things, however small, that make you happy.  I have been working on my Uttanasana for almost a year, slowly, carefully, bending and becoming more flexible.  And in all that practice, it hasn't been about aiming for perfection or trying to be better than anyone else.  It's been about the moment itself and about the journey of transformation.  It's been a joy to feel increasing flexibility in body and sense this extending to mind: to feel myself stretching towards a lovely Uttanasana.  So, yippee!!

I love all forward bends, standing and seated.  They are favourite elements of a yoga practice for me. Whilst we are so often pushing ourselves towards the next boundary in everything, it is also wonderful to relish those things we really enjoy.

If I love forward bends, I am ambivalent about backward bends (anuvittasana).  I find them more difficult and it's a lot to do with liking to see where I am going, or, not liking to go where I can't see. So the journey continues, but it's always good to enjoy its steps.


All of the wonderful photos on this blog are by Andrew Holman

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