The Path To Bodhichitta

You start where you are, the practice will meet you there.

My Photo
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Duet Of Bodies

There's something to be said about using someone else's body to guide yours into a pose. And that something is that it feels really really good. I mean, really good!

Partner Yoga was one of the last sessions during On The Mat And Beyond. And it drew the most participants. Families, friends and of course, couples. Theresa formed us into a large circle as part of a five minute warm-up, which had the kids giggling uncontrollably and the adults cracking uncertain smiles. Then she shooed us back to our places and from then on, two became one.

“Partner yoga is about trust, communication and respect,” Theresa told us seriously. As we nodded back in equal seriousness, her face broke into a smile and she clapped her hands. “Let’s begin then!”

The first pose was a shoulder opener. Partners pressed their backs against each other, and took turns to stretch each other’s arms backwards.

“No doughnuts!” Theresa called, walking around. Translation: no sticking your bottoms out and leaving a space between your two backs.

Then she instructed us to sit, one person in butterfly and the other with his feet straight out and pressed against his partner’s shinbones. Clasp each other’s hands at the elbows and take turns moving forward and backwards.

“Match your breathing rhythms,” Theresa said, but that was easier said that done. Aside from counting aloud, we struggled to listen to each other’s breathing pattern.

The third pose was a variation of paschimottanasana. One partner with her legs outstretched, and the other sitting behind her with bent knees and his feet placed on her lower back. As she moves into the pose, he gradually straightens his legs to guide her deeper into it. It was one of my more effortless paschimottanasana! And it felt oddly reassuring to feel the warmth of someone feet on my back.

We laughed and melted into a couple more poses, when Theresa decided to give us a brief taste of her true passion – AcroYoga. For the purists, this is acrobatic yoga and it is fabulous! Imagine this…

Your partner is in downward dog. You stand in front of him, move into downward dog with your heels in front of his fingers, place one foot between both his hands and use it to balance while you put the balls of your other foot on his lower back. Then bring your other foot up alongside it and relish the feeling of being almost airborne. And no, your partner is not supporting your weight. Neither are your wrists bearing the brunt of it. The weight is evenly distributed, hence the delicious feeling of lightness.

The class ended too soon, to disappointed groans and appreciative applause. Later, Theresa told me that she is a dancer and thrives on movement, which makes hatha yoga understandably painful for her. Marrying dance and yoga made perfect sense, and eventually gave birth to AcroYoga.

Partner yoga is two bodies performing a duet, each one listening to the other’s melody and matching it in return. There is no rivalry and no moving to a different beat. There is no carelessness either because taking responsibility for another’s body requires you to smack in the moment. Best of all, there is no ego because it’s not just about you. And at the end, there is gratitude for the compassion and service your partner has gifted to you.

That appetizer of AcroYoga has awakened the daredevil within me, and it is roaring to get out. So now, I have to feed it. Luckily, Theresa will be holding her first AcroYoga workshop on February 22nd. Watch this space for further details!


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home