The responses I get from people, when they find out I broke my toe doing yoga, are hysterical. “What? YOGA? I thought yoga was just stretching and meditation. How do you break a toe doing that?” Obviously, they haven’t been around these parts.
I’ll be the first to admit, I had no business going where I went last week. No business in the sense that I didn’t fully understand how to grow the pose I was exploring. I only knew I wanted to achieve it.
My mission towards grasshopper pose began after seeing the foundation of the pose in one of the photos I’d taken of the Vinyasa class. It seemed so clear to me on how to get there, I gave it go. From chair pose, I lifted my right leg and placed it across the top of my left leg (figure four), put my hands together in anjali mudra (prayer) and made the connection with the sole of my foot and my right upper arm. I was there. The foundation was set.
The next night I decided I would take it to the next step. I repeated the initial sequence, then placed my hands on the floor and leaned in. From here, the only thing left was to lift off with my other leg. This is where it all went wrong for I didn’t know where I was going; I was just going.
Instead of lifting from the inner thigh, I lifted my leg backwards thereby tipping my body in such a way that my foot had no where else to go but slide off of my arm. I came down ON the toes — jamming them into the ground. It was not pretty. I rolled around on the floor, alternating between holding my breath and trying to take deep cleansing breaths while trying to refrain from letting the expletives fly. Then, when I was able, I crawled to bed.
In my 2 ½ years of yoga practice, I’ve pushed the edge often. Oddly enough, I didn’t feel as scared to grow this pose as I have trying other poses of less difficulty. Even now, after having my practice sidelined once again, I look forward to trying it again. The difference is that I am now armed with the wisdom of my errant move. I have a new appreciation for checking my roadmap before I explore new territory. Because apparently I does make a difference.
Which brings me to the yogic philosophy of this experience?
The koshas, as described by yogic sages 3,000 years ago, provide use with a map-like guide of the layers which make up the landscape to the inner self. These help the yogi to orient themselves during their practice or when they are getting lost in the energies of life. They are the road map to follow when headed into uncharted territory and they assist us in deepening our practice with clear intention and direction. When ego is directing us to push forward when it would be wise to hold back, it stops us. If we follow the road map properly, we find bliss. That’s much better than finding ourselves lost or, worse yet, broken.
Yes, I have so much to learn but, when I do, I will also have so much more to share with others.