“When you don’t have anything, then you have everything.” – Mother Teresa
Focus: Raga + Dvesha
Raga and dvesha are two of the five kleshas (the causes of all suffering) and translate roughly to attachment and aversion. When we seek out actions/interactions for personal pleasure, it may hold us back from participating in something greater than ourselves. When we avoid actions/interactions due to personal fears, it may prevent us from learning and growing beyond ourselves. While it is challenging work, we strive to put aside our personal preferences and comforts when asked so that we can participate in what is best for the collective.
Pendant Pose – an arm balance that allows the body to dangle, like a pendant! Arm balances tend to be postures that we seek out (raga), perhaps due to the ego, or that we tend to avoid (dvesha) perhaps due to limiting beliefs. The challenge is to understand and realize why and if you are seeking or avoiding this posture.
Don’t assume this pose isn’t for you if you struggle with arm balances or wrist pain. This arm balance engages the body in a very different way than other balances where we shift our weight forward into the arms and shoulders. If you experience wrist pain, try just taking staff pose – sitting with your legs straight in front of you, pressing your fists firmly into the earth, tightly drawing navel to spine and finding a chin lock without lifting off. If lifting your hips is an issue, elongate the arms by placing blocks under the hands. And if you always avoid props in your practice, maybe try adding them in to see how it might enhance your posture or create new insight into the pose.
Stretch/Restore: Wrist Stretches
A natural counter to all of that arm balance work — even if it was just prep work, we probably were bearing a lot of weight on our hands this week!
Here are a few options to try: try different positions of the hands in a cat/cow stretch – fingers to the sides or pointing to the knees; from kneeling, flip onto the backs of your hands and press your hips towards your heels; clasp your hands together (thing cheerleader clap!) and roll your wrists in both directions. These kinds of stretches tend to highlight areas of raga/dvesha quite well. Sometimes the sensations that feel the most intense, may be what we need, even if our brain tells us to flee. Don’t linger if you feel pain however – allow yourself to breathe into these feelings and find the subtle discernment between pain and deep sensation.