Say never "never". I can scarcely believe it myself: today I was in mayurasana and I could hold this pose for several breaths. Wow. This impossible pose become possible.
I wanted to write about technique. Our bodies are perfect. The body protects itself. When I want to stretch muscles the body must feel safe. The body feels safe when muscles are engaged. To every muscle is an antagonist. This antagonist usually gets stretched.
During my practice I wonder:
1. Which is the muscle that I have to engage in a pose?
2. Which is the muscles that I want to stretch in that pose?
There is always a front side and a back side.
A simple example is the arm. When I bend the arm, one muscle the biceps is active, the other muscle on the opposite side of the arm gets stretched.
This is all so important as this helps to stretch and I play it safe. It protects me from injuries.
Sometimes I saw yoginis swing the knees up and down in order to open the hips i.es and to go deeper into baddha konasana. This is a stretching method of 40 years ago, when I was 10 years old. And this method didn't work! Attention here, no swinging, if you want to see results and if you want to play it safe. If you want to swing, go dancing.
I've deepened this knowledge with the books by Ray Long. To have his books in hand reminded me how important it is to apply these techniques.
Another author who explains this techniques is Bob Anderson. But he doesn't apply the stretching technique to yoga. It was my first book where I learned how the nerve system reacts to certain movements. And how important it is to stay calmly in this pose. It's also important to smile, to RELAX when in that pose.
Why were you so soft, I was asked today. I'm stiff by nature. I apply the correct stretching technique and this made my body softer. I'm resilient, (I love the German word zäh) by nature.
The opposites belong together: Engaging the legs and relaxing into a pose. Being strong and letting go is possible at the same time.
Picture: It's the Suez channel. Thank you Mahesh for this picture. I'll probably never be there, so this picture is unique. Wink, I manipulated it a bit.....:).