“One should not overstretch or understretch. If one thing is overstretched, something else gets understretched. If overstretching comes from a swollen ego, then understretching results from a lack of confidence.” BKS Iyengar
“The challenge of yoga is to go beyond our limits – within reason. We continually expand the frame of the mind by using the canvas of the body. It is as if you were to stretch a canvas more and create a larger surface for a painting. But we must respect the present form of our body. If we pull too fast or too much at once we will we will rip the canvas. If the practice of today damages the practice of tomorrow it is not correct practice.” BKS Iyengar
These are quotes I keep in mind when I practice.
I purchased “Light on Life” in 2005 when Guruji came to Boston for his ‘Light on Life” tour. During this time my practice was very different. I had to keep my ego in check and not blast past my limits. I had to work on finding the intelligence of the pose and remind myself that the beauty in the asana is not the advanced variation of the pose, but the journey it takes to get there.
Now, as I grow older I have to make an effort not to understretch. Not to practice mechanically, to reach toward my limitations and dance along, and a little beyond those limits. The challenge is stretching the canvas without tearing it. I have to work through my injuries safely, but at the same time I have to work harder to get stronger.
My work is to reignite the joy of playing with stretching the canvas, to find the balance between overstretching or understretching and creating a larger surface for painting my asanas.