When considering the pose of the month, hanumanasana (please see thePose of the Month column), I couldn’t help but see the metaphors, the comparisons, and examples for everyday life. So much of yoga is lost when it is isolated to the mat. So much is gained when the experiences and lessons we learn on the mat spill out into our lives.
Back to splits, the posture, I visualize the posture and I see a balance of extension and flexion of the hips and, in the middle, the strong extended spine perfectly centered and balanced between. We all are being pulled forwards and pushed backwards, often at the same time. The goal is to keep your focus on the center. What is the center exactly? In yoga, we talk a lot about the centered being beneath all the chatter, distraction, and stimulation. It is what is at your center and in your heart. What I think of as center is the part that doesn’t change.
T.K.V. Desikachar notes in The Heart of Yoga, “We find there is something that can perceive this constant change in things because it is itself not subject to change. This is purusha, something deep within us that is able to recognize our true nature.” Beneath all the thinking, questions, and chatter, what about you remains constant? What remains unaltered no matter what is happening around you? I don’t plan on answering that question for you, but I think it is certainly a good question to ponder.
In Buddhist philosophy, one of the basic tenets is that nothing remains constant. All compounded or fabricated things are impermanent. Is it possible to believe both to be true? I think so. Maybe the lesson is not to cling to what you know you cannot. Nothing remains constant or the same except something that can’t be seen or described. Something timeless, something you can’t hold onto, but just is.