“Ooi, What are you doing?”
“(with a bit of panting) I just found my hip flexor.”
It was about 4 am. My husband found his wife doing leg-up-and-down on the bed. That afternoon, I was trying hard to nail Sirsasana. According to teachers and friends, the trick is using Hip flexor.They show me where it is. So I know Hip flexor is there, but I really don’t know whether really it exists. In yoga philosophy term, I know its presence as a secondary knowledge not a intellectual(Buddhi) level. But suddenly in the middle of my sleep, I open my eyes and moving my legs with Hip Flexors. I can feel my iliopsoas and iliacus are there and working.
Up until I met yoga, I don’t like my body. I have been always plumb and short since I was born. Serial of failed attempt of diet had been filled up the line. In the end, I moved from plumb close to normal size (at least, I started to have boy friends) thanks to the weight loss pill in the expense of my heart rate. The pill increased metabolic rate to burn fat. So ever since I took the pill for 2 month 13 years ago, I still can’t really run very fast because it causes pain in the heart. I usually feel inferior of my body to others as an relatively old, short and not that skinny. So most of time, I just ignore it. The only time I pay attention was only once in 2 years in medical checkup.
When we went through how our body works in yoga theory class, I was amazed. That was the time I realised that I am either ignoring body and even feel ashamed of it. Simple walking itself is coordination of calf, abdomen, hip flexor, quad, tibialis anterior, ankle and mulu bandha. While we are covering Endocrine system, the function of pineal gland and how hormones are working is just beautiful. Every part of my body is perfectly structured in the most precision manner.
In this modern society, our body is not belong to us. We see our body from other peoples’ view. Our body is measured and labelled by industrial standard such as fat or slim, tall or short, big or small boobs. People are doing their best to please others. We cut and mould our body to what others wants. I read somewhere that in human history there are only two cases of cutting flesh out of healthy body; torturing and plastic surgery. When our body send signals of a few pains or warnings, we can’t listen or take it as a trivial matter which can be solved with pain killer. We treated my body just as a transporter of my brain from point A to B.
According to doctors, some of back pains or musculoskeletal pains and difficulties are often stems from our unconscious habits such as the way we sit, walk and carry the things. But the problem is we are so disconnected to our body. We live life in auto pilot mode ears shuts or too busy to listen to.
In the yoga,muscles are challenged as the mind and body have to work together to hold position. Breathing, posting, moving happens all together which solicite new level of discipline in mind and body. From moving one pose to one pose needs great concentration and that’s awakened the awareness of my body. Yoga is all about slowing down and focusing on what your body is doing now. And that awareness will be the first step to correct unconscious habits that hurts body.
Through Yoga, I start to look at my body and appreciate it. It is small, plumb and not that strong yet. But serves me pretty well so far and gave me two wonderful kids. When I am doing pranayama or asanas, I am concentrating and being in present with my body. I can feel energy flow and that create awareness of my body. In Sarsasana, my rectus abdominis and obliques are working apart from hip flex. By knowing them, I became friend with them.
I feel like being an explorer of my body. Even in the same pose, different part of body starts to work in different time and suddenly becomes easier. After I found mulu bandha, I feel standing asanas are improved. Currently I am in the process of digging out Uddiyana bandha.
Not in yoga world, I will be judged by how I look. And I will judge others. But I know there are 640 beautiful muscles, blood cells, digestive systems, strong bones, intestines, nerve systems flowing with energy. For that awareness, I give thanks to Yoga.