My journey to parsva bakanasa (side crow) taught me many things about the body/mind and what is called “muscle awakening” and “body clairvoyance.” Nothing like trying to do something and have absolutely nothing happen in your body demonstrates the reality that parts of our body can be unconscious, asleep, dormant.
That was my experience to parsva bakasana. I saw it, I tried it (for probably two years) and nothing would happen. I became painfully aware that the muscles and intelligence needed for this pose were completely dormant. Looking back, I believe becoming aware of the unconsciousness in my body was the first step. In other words, trying to do — over and over again — highlighted the unconsciousness.
So how did I journey toward a pose that felt impossible? Not only did I continue to try it, but I watched others do it. I watched videos on YouTube over and over again trying to imagine how the pose would feel in my body.
I also used EFT. I tapped:
Even though this pose feels impossible for me, I’m open to the idea that my body knows how to do this.
Even though it feels like I have no muscle awareness for this pose, I’m open to the idea that my muscles know exactly what to do.
And on and on for probably two years. I tried the pose, nothing happened. I imagined the pose but couldn’t feel it in my body….
Then, one evening after my practice, I was sitting on the sofa watching yet another demonstration of parsva bakanasa. And, as I watched, something clicked in my body and I knew absolutely that I could move into the pose. I immediately returned to my mat and did my first fledgling side crow!
It was exhilarating to say the least, and it also taught me some key components to reawakening our bodies, our muscles, our visceral consciousness.
Just like a baby has to learn, by instinct, how to begin to move and awaken muscles, so too as adults. Except as adults, our aim is to reawaken those muscles that have become dormant from lack of use. And yoga is a great venue for that!
Yoga postures require movement different from activities of daily living and help activate our conscious awareness of these dormant muscles. Which is exactly what happened in my journey to parsva bakasana.
Clairvoyance means “to see clearly” and body clairvoyance refers to the ability of these awakened muscles to anticipate an action and use the most efficient muscles to accomplish it. Yoga practice creates this type of phenomenon and enables our muscles, our bodies to “know” what to do.
It’s all Yoga
Our yoga practice initially brings to our awareness where our bodies and muscles are dormant. Then, the work toward those poses eventually activates and awakens the dormant muscles. Once awakened, these muscles being to work almost automatically via body clairvoyance.
When that happens, our bodies move with ease and grace into postures that one time felt (and were) impossible.
And all of that is yoga.