Pain that is not yet come can be abandoned.
In January 2009 I began to study Anusara more intensely than I had ever done before. A studio, less than my previous three hour drive from the TexMex border town I lived in previously, allows me to take a class every week! Each week I am loving the after effects of the class, my muscles worked like a strength training session and elongated at the same time. I work my muscles hard to create Muscular Energy and in an attempt to create more and more strength I’ve kept working to engage my muscles more and more. Following the directions to hug the muscle in these ways:
1.) drawing the muscles concentrically to the bone
2.) drawing all muscle energy to the midline of the body
3.) and lastly drawing into the focal point of the pose from the periphery.
In and in and in and in even more has been my goal. Most of my days, currently, are spent in a fitness center training other people on how to build muscle and lose fat. It is often an atmosphere of push your limits, so I am used to some pain. I figured it was all part of using new muscles, as I tell all my clients.
Sutra 2.16 notes pain as being a sign of an undesirable condition resulting from carelessness. Reading this in relationship to yoga makes me realize I have been careless. Again the sutra notes, suffering begun in the body easily falls into the grip of the mind. In reflection my mind has been doing a number on me, making me feel ashamed for still being sore. I should be strong and beyond the pain. “You are so weak’” it tells me at the key moments I need to feel strong – like as I go for a handstand. So I engaged more, thinking more is good, right?
What I wasn’t realizing, but really got after taking a class every day for five days while in San Francisco on vacation; and then the following week headed to Boulder for the first week of the Anusara Immersion program was that I was missing a crucial part. The balance.
When I got some time to reflect during my home practice a week later, I realized I was still in pain. I became curious and slowly I heard my body speak, “You aren’t hugging you’re tugging!! You never let go and expand.” I was so focused on creating muscular energy I was forgetting its counter-balance, organic energy (the re-expansion after creating an engaged foundation). Duh!
So last week as I planned my class to teach about muscular energy I brought my journey of discover
y to the individuals gathered. I shared my lesson learned in hopes it would be a guide for abandoning pain that had not yet come. I demoed only one pose so they could hopefully see the difference between pain and ease. As I stood in front of them I hugged, feeling the edge of where it could become pain, and then from there I expanded out. I am sure my muscles sighed an air of relief in that moment.
I am excited to take my new discovery of self and put it into practice this coming week as I embark on my second week of the immersion program. Stay tuned! ☺