In yoga, there is theory and there is practice. Theory opens your mind to a teaching, raising new levels of awareness, whereas practice allows you to integrate that teaching through an experience – creating a physical pneumonic device so to speak. In my Ashtanga classes, I have the gift of teaching faith to my students every day (at least once a day), in Janu sirsasana C. Often known as the toe-breaking pose, this posture instructs the toes of one foot to be flexed on the floor, while the leg of said foot is bent to the side at the knee. The toes are facing the knee while the heel is pressing into the navel.
It is not uncommon that when we arrive at this pose in class I am met with sighs and “are you crazy” expressions. The truth is, this pose is hard. When beginning to do the pose correctly it hurts your toes.. a lot! It should hurt your toes, so it doesn’t hurt your knees. It takes many months and years of practice to access this pose even remotely without compromising the alignment of the hip, knee and ankle. And flexibility is not favored over those lacking in it, because sometimes unlearning the habits of your flexibility is more of a challenge than waiting for the body to open up. The redeeming factor to remember is that with consistent courage to practice the pose it will hurt until doesn’t anymore, and that I can guarantee.
But this is exactly what I love about this pose. There is an opportunity for everybody (literally) to learn the lesson of faith.
Practice and all is coming – Sri K. Patthabi Jois