“Anyone can practice” is a strong statement issued by an even stronger man, Pattabhi Jois.
While this courageous man must have gotten away with it, you must be warned that it will leave you stigmatized as being naive or simply “delusional”, if you dare to mention this to a non-yogi at a dinner party. Interestingly enough, the moment you refer to it in front of Ashtanga yogis they won’t question his statement. Instead they will ask a different one, can anyone perform any asana?
It’s when we are dedicated enough to practice and even try the weirdest poses, that we start taking our practice for granted. All of a sudden we feel a sense of entitlement. We really should have practiced long enough by now to perform certain poses, and may even find it unfair that we are not able to do it when someone else is.
Here is where we need to go back to the phrase “anyone can practice.”
We need to ask ourselves, what does our yoga practice require us to practice?
Where are we clotted and knotted in our body and mind so much that we cannot do the pose you want to do?
Often times what we do in yoga translates into other aspects of our lives.
So the real question becomes, where are you pushing too hard, expecting too much too quickly and discard building a foundation? In contrast, where do you simply go with the flow and why? What are your strengths and what are your weaknesses? When is your strength a weakness and vice versa?
Once we are willing to look beyond the asana and stop judging the yoga practice, then it can take us to our knots whenever it feels that we are ready, and gradually move us through them. All while it generously lifts us up and guides us to see the hidden potential in ourselves, and in the things around us. Ironically enough, it may even grant us the pose we wanted so much.
In other words, anyone can practice but we must ask the right question to get the right answer.
Esther Geis is a self-taught visual artist mostly working in the media of oil paintings. Her works express a philosophy of “joyful complexity”, a counter-philosophy to the ideas of the era of enlightenment. Instead of trying to grasp the world through categories and classifications Esther’s works aim to express the need to see uncertainty, nuance, context, non-linearity as well as unexpected extreme events (black swans). She grew up in Hamburg, Germany. She completed a full education in law in Berlin (1&2 State exam) and holds a Masters degree in law from the University of Glasgow. Having spent many years with law she finally found her true calling in art and moved to the United States to marry the love of her life and pursue her dream of becoming an artist. Esther lives and works in London together with her husband Francisco. Her works are in private collections in the United States, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Germany and Spain.
Editor: Maja Despot
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Artwork by Esther Geis