On February 5, 2013, I wrote the following on my Facebook page:
Dear Kapotasana, you still seem very far away, but I did touch the tips of my toes yesterday:)
Two years later, with one practice each week dedicated to Kapotasana, and still only reaching my toes. I wrote in the last two blog posts about muscle awakening and body clairvoyance, but it seems that some poses primarily require the physical work. And lots of it!
My Iyengar in Light on Yoga says Kapotasana is a “gatekeeper” pose for the more advanced backbends and I agree 100%. There are no sideways approaches to the pose, as there are in some of the assymetrical backbends like Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, where you can maneuver and turn to one side to get the foot. No. Kapotasana requires — at least for me — consistent and dedicated practice.
Krishna instructs Arjuna:
You have the right to work, but never to the fruit of work. You should never engage in action for the sake of a reward, nor should you long for inaction. Perform work in this world, Arjuna, as a man established within himself — without selfish attachments, and alike in success and defeat. For yoga is perfect evenness of mind (Bhagavad Gita 2: 47-48).
We practice because that iswhat we do.
Working without attachments means we work without demanding or expecting a specific result, that we let go of the idea that we control the fruits (the outcome) of our work. In our yoga practice, it means we are not striving to achieve the “perfect” asana, nor do we expect that our work will lead to the perfect asana. Rather, we practice because that is what we do.
Letting go of the fruits of our work and practice is both a humbling and a healing process. Humbling because we accept our proper place in life, meaning we can’t force and control outcomes. Healing because we give up the unhealthy need to be “perfect” and simply allows ourselves to “be.”
And so I continue with the practice, and the hard work that Kapotasana requires, even if I never reach the full pose.
Because that is what I do.