by blogasana on October 12, 2010

We all have our favorite side we hide into,
hold back from,
or rest in,
which will create a hard outer form position
like the prevailing wind direction
will make a tree grow crooked.
With our internal counter balance
softly correcting this habit,
we can open up new channels.

~Unknown author

This has long been a favorite quote, a favorite idea. That we are molded and shaped, physically and energetically, by the winds of life.

That what we know as home, what feels comfortable, may be “crooked.” And with mindfulness and gentle effort we can come back into balance.

A few weeks ago I was fortunate to see my teacher Mary Paffard. She offered a workshop in which she talked (in part) about grounding, connecting, home, and comfort—earth/1st chakra qualities.

The question came up for me, What if the thing that feels comfortable isn’t a healthy place? What if we plant and grow roots in a place that feels like home only because it’s known, not because it’s nourishing and safe?

Mary’s insight was that if it is not a healthy place, there will be a feeling of stuckness. The result will be dullness and a lack energy and nourishment. Whereas if it is a healthy place the resulting feeling will be aliveness and engagement.

We can strengthen behavior patterns as well as physical patterns by going with habitual comfort.  I’ve talked several times about behavior patterns. The same thing holds true around the anatomy of a pose: the most “comfortable” place might not be the best place.

Often we go deeper into our pattern because it feels good initially, but pay for it later when the “crooked” pattern is strengthened.

Try this: do one of your favorite poses (which most likely is a favorite because it’s easy for you or you feel somewhat successful at it — aka, it supports your body’s favored pattern). What about this pose do you like? What part of the body feels very receptive to the movement?

Now do one of your least favorite poses (which… you guessed it, probably challenges your body’s natural tendency). What don’t you like about this pose? What part of the body isn’t participating?

What are the links between the poses? Are they opposite of one another?

Do the “easy” natural patterns of your favorite pose try to compensate for the challenging parts of your least favorite pose?

These questions can be real head-scratchers. It takes time, patience, and attention to notice how we might be unconsciously falling into our “favorite side to hide into, hold back from, or rest in.”

And, yes, I do believe “with our internal counter balance softly correcting this habit, we can open up new channels.”


This picture of Cowboy has absolutely nothing to do with the post. I just thought it was pretty.


Would love to hear your thoughts and findings of this exploration!


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Tracy October 13, 2010 at 1:03 pm

This has me thinking! Forward bends have been posing a challenge, I have very tight hips & hamstrings oftentimes. Your post helps to to think differently about being more open to these poses rather than just getting though them. And my “easy” poses could use some exploration… Can’t wait to get back on the mat and find out! Thanks for the food for though… and photo of Cowboy. ;o)


Geanette October 13, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Very timely! “with our internal counter balance softly correcting this habit, we can open up new channels.” My current experience with this just cracked open…wide open. My old patterns to run have been challenged. Running from the pose, emotions, experiences, people… Waiting for the internal counter balance is scary but taking the step to allow it is rewarding and truly opening!!

Thank you for sharing this! I will have to save this quote… very enlightening.


Elizabeth October 14, 2010 at 8:16 pm

My favorite poses are probably Warrior II (feeling of strength and it uses my legs which happen to be the strongest part of me) and one that I don’t know the name of but it is a forward bend with the legs crossed in front of each other (super relaxing and helps me see that my hips are slowly opening with time).

My least favorite are child’s pose and downward dog – because everything I read makes it sound like you can relax into the poses and neither of them are relaxing at all for me. Child’s pose is just generally uncomfortable and downward dog just seems to use a lot of shoulder/arm strength which is an area I am weak in.

I am not entirely sure how they might link, but I am noticing that the dislike is perhaps less to do with the pose itself and more related to my inherent need for perfection and feeling frustrated that I just cannot get a pose (especially child’s pose).

I’ll think about this when I practice later.


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