Not just about the looks

Before I started the course Yoga poses to me is about relaxing and stretching without having to engage the muscles to keep my body in place. Knowing what is going on is only half the journey there. Knowledge alone will not get you to the destination. It is through creating body awareness and applying the knowledge through experiential learning that will slowly build our way to final pose.
Taking the tree pose for example, I always thought that it is just a balancing pose without the need of much muscular effort. This is why you will see me tumbling left and right most of the time, raising the arms up just makes everything worse. Everything change for me when one day my classmate Tham guided me through Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana A. She mention for a stable base we need to engage the muscles and not relaxing leaving everything to finding a point of balance. That was the first time I was able to engage in a Utthita Hasta Padabgusthasana A without the falling side to side and straightening out of my right leg. Finally those words during Asana practice start to make sense engage the muscles contract them to stabilize, this makes a whole lot of difference.
There is still a fine line between engaging your muscles and tensing it up affecting your practice. There are no any other methods but to get yourself into practice and feel what going on with you body. The saying goes nobody will know your body better other than yourself. No one can feel what going on with your body, the only thing they can do is watching out for your alignment and instructing you where to engage. Finding the balance of energy to use differs from person to person. Take this opportunity to understand yourself from a new perspective and gaining new insights of yourself.
The journey maybe long and tedious, but with every step taken is one step nearer to the destination.
Kai Wen(200hr Yoga TTC 07/15 weekday)

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