I have some intermediate students who are very flexible and they want to continue down this path towards malleability. Now if you are thinking, "Oh gosh where is she going with this?. . . I'm not one of those students", stay with me. This blog will have something for you too.
There is a whirl of excitement upon learning something new on your mat. Attainment does give you a little spark or boost to your self esteem, which, ultimately is not a horrible thing. However, if you are overly focused on the finished product or the acquisition, it will lead you to one of two places. One, an injury or two, a missed opportunity to enjoy the journey of working towards something.
Sometimes we don't know exactly why we want to do some of these fancy poses on our mat. But the question of "why" is a great place to build understanding. If you can’t answer the question of "why" or recognize the value of attaining such a feat (be it physical or mental), then I think that’s a good enough reason to say, you probably don’t need to work on that.
You can look at the practice of flexibility in a couple of ways. One, is the practice of flexibility in the physical body which is an important element of general well-being and health. For instance, while seated in a chair, can you bend over and easily tie your shoes? Another aspect, is the practice of flexibility of the mind. How flexible are you life? In terms of life changes, jobs, transitions, etc. How do you interact with your partner or loved one? Are you always “giving in” (a state of being overly flexible)? Or are you an attuned negotiator who can communicate clearly and meet in the middle?
I hope that in the coming days as well as when I’m 80 years old, I’ll be able to sit comfortably on the floor with a blanket supporting my hips in sukhasana (indian style). And as I sit and close my eyes to meditate or pray, I can allow my mind to be still, relaxed, and peaceful - in a way which radiates utter flexibility. I hope that my relationships are strong, clear, purposeful and have a malleability that endures time with grace.
So, the next time you are on your mat and longing to achieve a certain pose, just ask yourself, “How flexible do I need to be and why?”.