I recently had a photo shoot with my good friend Emilie Nystrom. We took a few yoga photographs as part of our day together and this one was one of my favorites. Most days I love this pose – it stretches my wrists, is challenging, opens my heart and gives me a really nice rush of energy. But doing it doesn’t make me any better of a person, a teacher or a yoga student. This pose is just a shape – they obviously all are. Inherently, there is little meaning in them and whether or not one can achieve them. That is, until we attach one to it. The meaning I have for wheel pose, or urdhva dhanurasana, isn’t about how it looks or even that I can do it. For me, it means years of work – physically through a lot of practice and study of alignment, opening in terms of flexibility and work in terms of strength. But it also means years of work opening myself up emotionally by turning inwards, looking at the tough parts of my experiences and personality that I have used to protect my heart. As I look at these parts, experience struggle and success, sabotage and backtracking, I have become more open and this shape has transformed. All of these things have happened for me to be where I am in this pose and that is why the experience of this shape has meaning for me.
This is just a physical representation of how things go in life. I’m always making changes, taking on new shapes and bringing in new ideas and influences. This shapes where I go next and the meaning I make about where I’ve been, where I am and where I’m going. The meaning I make about what happens is more meaningful than the content of what happened.
This teaches me to be curious. Curious about my own experience and what meaning I make of it. It also teaches me to appreciate that others are making their own meanings and I may not know what they are. We are all collectively having an individual experience. Curiosity then becomes so empowering – within ourselves, our environments and within our relationships. As I connect more with myself and understand what things mean to me, I naturally become curious to see how others view a similar situation or even a similar shape. Everything can change in the time it takes to inhale or exhale or one 60 minute music download – this is just enough time for me to check in and ask – what am I making this experience mean for me?
Twentytwofourteen – The Album Leaf
Mirror Maru – Cashmere Cat
Alone – Petit Biscuit
You’re Mine – Lola Marsh
I wanna go – Summer Heart
Make It Wit Chu – Queens Of The Stone Age
Passing Out Pieces – Mac Demarco
Indigo Road – Joey Fehrenbach
Halcyon Days – Mokhov
Ruby – Ali Farka Toure, Tourmani Diabate
Lions – Deptford Goth
Passage – Lowercase Noises
Fjogur Piano – Sigur Ros
Outfit by Actio926