Trikonasana – sketch by Emily Sloat Shaw For the longest time I have been amazed and sometimes perplexed by the vast number of ways to teach and perform asana. There are factions who teach yoga from a perspective of fluidity being paramount – not concerning about alignment but rather concerned only with the feeling of life force moving in the body. Other equally valid perspectives include those clearly invested in the importance of alignment, biomechanics, meditation and chakras. And within each of these perspectives there are endless variations. How does a practitioner know what way to practice or what guidelines to follow in performing asana? A key moment came to me not long ago when I found.
I’m sure many of you have heard the adage “we are not human beings that can have spiritual experiences but spiritual beings having a human experience”. This sentiment was always a little peculiar to me since I wondered what it meant to be a purely spiritual being (which would then be able to wiggle its way into a human embodiment). Would I be a big ball of light? But as I understand it light is both wave and particle, hence it is an entity of the physical realm. Would I have any form at all? Perhaps I would just be a thought, but, who’s thought? The idea that I am a spiritual.
I just spent the weekend in an advanced Enneagram workshop with two of the most spiritually influential people in my life. The Enneagram, in brief, is a system of personality typing which helps us to become aware of our habits of thinking and acting. The premise in this system is that if we become consciously aware of our patterns then we do not unconsciously act them out over and over again. Instead, through awareness, we are able to choose our actions. In doing The Work, as it is called, we start to live more authentically and freer from our compulsivity. As a One on the Enneagram I am prone to perfectionism and judgement of self.