About a month back, Y is for Yogini had a great post on the differences between being a PUSHER or a SENSUALIST. No, she’s not talking recreational drug use, but how you are in a yoga class: do you push into every pose, muscling into to, straining to get the perfect alighment, or are you a sensualist, sinking into each pose with ease and big exhales.
(BTW, Googling “sensual yoga” is not a good idea on a work computer.)
I’m a fence-sitter: some days I’m a sensualist and will just yin out on my own in a back corner, preferring to spend most of the class with my legs up the wall and just feel the practice, other days I push myself, play with my edge and try to do poses that scare me and bring me just past my comfort level.
However, it seems that on the days when I’m pushing, I can achieve poses that I never would have thought my body could handle: tripod headstand, bound warrior II, bow with toes to head, side crow… Flip the coin over and the days when I’m a total yoga sensualist, yoga nidra slips over me like a fuzzy blanket at the end of class. Oh yessssssssss.
While yoga teaches us to enjoy the journey and not become attached to the outcomes, (we’ve all had those days when we’re rocking wheel and then the next day can’t even get up into a supported bridge,) this weekend was a BIG BREAKTHROUGH weekend, where months of focus coalesced into achieving that “perfect pose”. OK, so not Yoga Journal perfect, but perfect for me in that moment.
The first one came in Saturday’s intermediate class with Pat D. With a brilliant assist from Pat in bow, I was able to really get LIFT in my spine. So much so that now I can work on getting my toe tips to the crown of my head.
Sunday saw a kick-ass side crow that got busted out in Lorraine’s class. I’m not a big arm-balancer (too many years of believing that I have no upper body strength — and yes, I’m working on letting that go). I tend to choose tripod over crow and sidecrow is pretty “meh.” But something called out to me on Sunday and next thing I knew my toes were flying and just my palms were connected to the mat. WIN!
Pushing has a place, though only when balanced with a good, juicy, sensual practice to restore and relax.
How about you? Are you a pusher or a sensualist? Where do you find balance on your edge?