by Sara Russell
How many times have you heard “hug the thigh muscles to the bone”? If you have been doing Iyengar yoga for some time, I am sure this instruction has crossed your brain waves at least once.
I came to my mat Christmas morning with another BKS saying in mind – that today’s practice should be new. I should not attempt to repeat the same pose from yesterday. Yet, memory draws me to past practices often. Unfortunately, I do repeat. Like shampooing: wash, rinse, repeat.
Except something new happened as I repeated that instruction “hug the thigh muscles to the femur bones”, I felt new muscles come to action, my hamstrings! See before, even thought I thought I was doing this with the entirety of my thigh muscles, but it seems that only my quadriceps where working.
All of the sudden I wanted to repeat this new sensation in every pose – Utthita Trikonasana, Ardha Chandrasana, Virabhadrasana 1, Virabhadrasana 3…Setubhanda, Sirsasana, Sarvangasana, and even seated Pranayama. As I experienced my hamstrings in poses that are quite familiar to me, some thing else happened, my abdomen started to engage too. I wasn’t doing yesterday’s pose after all. It happened with out me consciously doing so.
All of this spilled out of the curiosity and intention to practice an instruction I have heard before. Later in the day, reflection on my asana and pranayama practice, led me to think about what would happen if I had the same curiosity and intention about other aspects of my life? Such as relationships, deepening love, and being able to receive love more fully so that in turn I could give my love more fully too (after all it was Christmas). What new sensations and transformations would spill forth then?