With work and the recent bout of the flu over the weekend, I had to miss a few yoga classes recently. I finally made it back to Anusara 1 class this evening. Maybe I shouldn't complain, because this is a Level 1 class - but the class felt easy. At least most of the poses we tried today were easy. Even the Half-Moon Pose was manageable tonight.
I'm been keeping track of my progress in yoga in the areas of flexibility, strength and balance. I believe I have progressed in all these areas, but my most significant improvement is in the area of flexibility - and to a lesser degree, my physical strength. Balance poses - even a basic Tree Pose - still challenge me. On the upside though, my struggles trying to perfect standing poses have given me a pair of nicely shaped calves.
What I have noticed of my practice recently is how applying the principles of the Anusara practice has helped me improve on some of the poses. The Anusara classes are not as strength-based as some of the other Power Yoga classes, and it can get rather technical - but it has helped me in my practice. The simple details of energising the legs, the direction of the hips, the tucking in of the tailbone - all of it contirbuted to a more successful Half-Moon Pose that usually alludes me.
But yoga is more than about neat little tricks to get the perfect pose. And Half-Moon Pose is more than having strong legs to balance. It's getting different parts of my body to co-ordinate in an energised whole into a pose. Yoga is about union afterall, and my practice is revealing to me in small glimpses of how all parts of the body are connected.
It seems I had the ability and the strength to do these poses all the time - but I had to learn how to work the body as a cohesive whole into the asana. I wonder at all the new information the brain had to assimilate to make the poses possible. How body intelligence has to come from a kind of mental intelligence also.
Yoga is a wondrous practice indeed. It is mind, body and soul practice.