I don't often talk about the specific asana ins and outs of my practice on the blog. I don't talk much about it because I think reading about it would be boring. That doesn't stop me from talking about it to friends and family in person...but after a few minutes of "pose chatter" their eyes start to glaze over. :-) I get up. I do the poses. Some days they go more smoothly than others. Over time there is more ease, less effort....yawn...
...but I'll deviate a bit today for a short rant and a bit of self pity....fair warning.
At the moment, I hate mayurasana. I've never really hated a pose before. There were, and are, lots of poses and transitions that I struggle with. For any number of reasons, that doesn't especially bother me. I've waited years for things to open enough to do a full expression of a pose. Again I've worked for years to strengthen things enough to hold a pose together. There never seemed to be a reason to hurry.
...so what's the difference with mayurasana?
I think it comes down to belief.
For a long time, (like years) I didn't really believe that this practice was something I could do with any sort of skill or grace. I could muddle my way through the fundamental poses, laugh about how weak my upper body was when trying to hold chaturanga, and that was okay. I was a "smart kid" with a venomous hatred for all things "sporty" and a knack for breaking things as I clumsily knocked them off counters. A hike in the woods?...great, count me in for sure. A game of kickball?....oh god no. I used the words of others, of family, of friends to reaffirm what I thought I already knew...physical grace was for other people.
...but I kept practicing
...and the unexpected happened. I got more flexible. I got stronger. I learned to breathe. Each new pose seemed equally impossible, so when some new pose happened in my body for the first time, I accepted it with delight. I was never disappointed when I couldn't do something, because I had no expectations that I would be able to.
...and over time, the practice and my teacher slowly worked to change my belief. Maybe this was possible after all?
I thought I might hit a wall with karandavasana, but no. Even there, my teacher showed me how to break it down into pieces. I patiently worked on each one. There is still alot to do on this pose. It's challenging, sure, but doesn't especially frustrate me, because I can find a way in. As I work on it, it improves.
With mayurasana, for the first time, I am disappointed. I am frustrated to the point of tears, to the point of wanting to stamp my feet and yell that it's not fair. Mayurasana is pushing buttons. The feeling of someone taking a sharp stick and poking at all the tender and vulnerable spots has been a hallmark of second series practice for me. Layers and layers of feelings and experiences that I thought were gone have risen to the surface to be either embraced or burned away for good.
I was still frustrated after this mornings' practice, unusual for me. As I was stomping around the kitchen, my husband asked why I was frustrated. My answer?..."I think my boobs are too big to do mayurasana." ...he burst into laughter.
Yes, it's of course, it's absurd. It's ridiculous in some sense that existential angst is brought on by my attempt to wedge my elbows under my chest and pick my toes up off the floor. Then again, in some sense it's not so absurd. This is a practice designed to help me see what is actually there in front of me. Samskaras by definition, run deep. It takes some creative digging perhaps to bring them up to the surface to be examined.
The more I see, the more my beliefs are challenged....because when you believe so firmly that you can't, what do you do when you see that you can?
Mayurasana is pulling at deep samskaras and asking big questions....am I really enough, just as I am?
My teacher seems convinced that doing this pose is entirely possible for me...with practice of course. This will not be the first time that I lean on his belief in hopes that it will drown out my own doubts.