Open Mind, Open Hips

Arrrgh, my hips!  They just don’t open.  They have a mind of their own, and it’s a very stubborn one.  Why am I doing yoga?  Why am I in a teacher’s training course when I can’t even sit in the lotus pose, one year into my yoga practice? Maybe I should give up ecause my body will never co-operate and isn’t yoga supposed to calm my mind and not frustrate me?  These thoughts flood my mind every so often

But here I am in Mysore, being Pretzelized and loving it. So obviously there’s something that I’m doing right or rather, something that Yoga is doing for me.

When I started practicing, I hadn’t even thought about my hips and how open they were or weren’t.  I wasn’t thinking of becoming a yoga teacher because that seemed like such an absurd idea. All I was looking for was a form of exercise that would strengthen my body and calm my mind.  I bought a few Yoga DVD’s and started practicing on my own. I enjoyed them. One morning, lying in bed, I said to myself “why can’t some amazing yoga teacher come by the dive center?  I’ll give her free diving for yoga lessons.”  And because Yoga was meant for me, within two days my wish came true in the form of the lovely Zan, a yoga teacher from Canada.  Finally, I started practicing under the guidance of a real live person.  My palms were on the floor within a few weeks, my body felt more limber than ever before and one day, I even managed to stay in Bakasana without injuring my nose.  We called it “Pritha’s power pose” because it was one of those defining moments for me – when I decided that yoga was the way forward and that maybe becoming a yoga teacher wasn’t an absurd idea.  Then, the set back would come – some basic hipasana that I couldn’t, for the life of me, manage.  “But you can do a headstand so easily. And you can put your hands in a perfect reverse prayer which even I can’t do. Just keep an open mind” my teacher would say.

Gradually, different parts of my body opened.  My Trikonasana got better, my hands went flush against the floor in Padanghastasana even if my body asn’t completely folded.  The changes were tangible – I could see and feel them and almost touch them.  So I soldiered on and came to Tirisula to do the TTC.  Not necessarily to teach right away, but to better my own practice.  Coming out of the course, I see a marked improvement in the flexibility of my hips amongst other parts of me.  I’m not all the way there yet; my Badakonasana still requires sand bags and maybe even lead weight but the improvement is definitely there and it makes me deliriously happy.

Happy makes me calm and opens up my mind to endless possibilities. So in this moment of clairvoyance: If I practice with an open heart and an open mind, one day I most definitely will have completely, unaided, open hips.  I finally believe it.

Thank you, Paalu, Wei Ling and the girls in class for helping me get here ! x