It’s not one of the most popular poses or a pose that looks strong or graceful. It’s a twisted kind of pose that was at the top of my least favorite list of poses for many years. Why would I want to twist myself up in, as one great article about eagle pose referred to it as, “a solitaire game of twister.”
When I used to practice this pose it made me feel claustrophobia and panicked. With arms and legs tangled up, what if I lost my balance? I felt trapped within my own body and my mind. Can you relate?
It’s hard to realize that in eagle pose, and in life, we can be both trapped and liberated within ourselves. In those years I did not trust myself. I had not realized how strong and beautiful and wise I am. I had not yet realized I am my very own best friend. I had not yet learned and accepted that I have very little control, of anything. I had not yet learned how to ride the wind.
When a bird flies you may see it moving its wings and yet often it is riding the wind, working with what is. Going with it, not pushing and resisting, complaining or whining.
I sigh as I think of just how many times I did all of those things. I was not in my body but trapped miles away in my head spinning stories and feeling out of control and afraid. I wasn’t speaking my truth, or following my own path, or even aware of the gift of the wind around me.
Riding the wind is not going along with whatever comes your way. It’s seeing where you are and deciding how it’s working for you. It’s seeing if this is the day to jump off the cliff to take a chance on living the life you are here to live, not the life expected of you.
Sometimes it takes a while to get there. As I struggled in eagle pose I knew the level of my discomfort meant there was some fertile ground for growth.
“Discomfort is an invitation for another possibility.
I was up to me to say yes and dig deeper.”
I got curious. I found a yoga practice that included eagle pose and did it day after day. Which part of my body reacted the most in this pose? Was it my arms, twisted up and unable to catch me if I fell? Was it my frustration at my inability to tuck my toe around the back of my other leg? What exactly was this particular shape bringing up for me?
I never really figured it all out. But along the way, eventually, my curiosity was enough to fuel my practicing and it was enough to finally get comfortable with feeling this new shape and being uncomfortable. Habits, repeated actions of any kind, can reveal all kinds of treasures. These days I love the arm portion of the pose and the super yummy shoulder stretch it provides after too many hours at my computer. Especially when I lift my elbows and move my hands away from my body.
The legs part still feels awkward, but it gives me practice with awkward because life provides all kinds of awkward and now it’s not so scary. I have found a way to abide in the oddness. And as in life, so in eagle pose, nothing last forever.
So this week can you get curious about eagle? Can you do it over and over again to see what it might reveal to you? Can you get comfortable with the occasional odd discomfort, and stay open to what it might reveal.
And maybe, just maybe, you’ll catch a beautiful ride on the wind. I hope to see you out there…there are skies upon skies open to you.