To Dabble or Not To Dabble?
That’s the question, right?
Do we experiment with asanas that we haven’t been taught by our teacher in the Mysore room? Or do we only ever practice what our teachers have shown us?
It probably comes as no surprise if you follow me on instagram, but I'm Team Dabble. I don’t advocate experimenting with postures that you are in no way capable of safely doing, but if you’ve been practicing for a bit and want to try a handstand, I say go for it. Or, as in my case, I like to dabble in the postures just ahead me in the series I'm working on. Exploring asana fascinates me. Sometimes (gasp!) I even post videos on social media of me doing it.
Uh oh, is that the Ashtanga police banging on my door?
Look, I just think that staying motivated and having fun is important, and for some of us, flashy postures are a great way to do that. I know, I know. We should be super spiritual all the time and not take pleasure in achieving poses. But I don’t think that’s very realistic, and I would also question that as an ideal.
I once watched an interview with the great David Swenson in which he was asked about the commercialization of yoga. I’m paraphrasing, so please don’t quote me, but his answer has stuck with me and reassured me on many occasions. He said that people will be drawn to the practice in many different ways, and that we should be grateful that more and more people are practicing yoga because of it. Not the typical holier-than-thou stuff you hear from so-called serious yogis! I’ve also heard him and other legendary Ashtanga teachers talk a lot about the importance of keeping elements of fun in the practice. They seem excited when students are enjoying themselves. I love that approach.
Not being hopelessly attached to what you think is the right or proper way to do something seems, I don't know, pretty yogic, right?
Dabbling in advanced asanas may not appeal to you. You may feel satisfied and challenged by your prescribed practice. Awesome! But for many of us, exploring our bodies through different and challenging movements is fascinating and fulfilling, and gives us just a bit more motivation to make it back to our mats. I think that’s awesome, too.
Throw me in Ashtanga jail if you must. That will give me lots of time to work on handstands.
Peace and Love,