Child’s Pose

At the risk of inviting the ire of Yoga devotees and proponents, I venture forth and say I have “dabbled” in Yoga. I’ll probably be told there is no such thing as “dabbling” in Yoga, you either are a Yogini or you aren’t. There is no middle ground. In my case I offer up the poor excuse of never having enough time to pursue it with intensity. I sign up for employer initiated lunchtime Yoga sessions and stop being a practitioner whenever I change jobs.

Having said that, I will admit that Yoga is something I would definitely like to pursue more whole-heartedly. I still crave the serene after-effects of it; experienced after every hour long session. It used to make me feel so calm and productive, equilibrium restored. It was good for me. Good for my sanity.

I haven’t practiced any Yoga for about six months now. I can’t get myself to learn the asanas through a video tape. I envy people who can do that. I can either watch the screen or do my Yoga – can’t do both things at the same time. I need an instructor to help me, to correct my poses, to explain the benefits of each action to me. It used to be great to hear what part of the body, what internal organ any particular asana was targeting. But there was the one asana the benefits of which no one has ever been able to explain to me – The Child’s Pose. So you settle down on the floor, knees folded in, head on the ground, arms stretched out forward or by your sides, in the passive version. I loved doing it because it always followed a rather strenuous set of asanas and it didn’t require my doing anything at all. But I didn’t fully comprehend its relevance. If it was supposed to be restful why that particular position, there were so many other ways of resting.

So today, when I looked around this place I call home, taking in A’s crumpled up socks in one corner, little A’s tricycle parked in the middle of the living room, her discarded outfits in one corner, crumpled up bits of water-soaked paper on the coffee table(this three year old loves soaking things in water), her building blocks and other things that make me go, “Ouch!” whenever I am picking my way through this mess, my mind went blank. It was akin to a catatonic state. It was task avoidance in the extreme. I was in the middle of extreme chaos. I needed to deal with it. It was a Sunday. I needed to deal with it because Sunday was slip-sliding into Monday and my home is just a place where I rest my head during the week. I can only call it home during the weekends and the messes that need to be cleaned up during the weekend take away the comfort that the word “home” is supposed to conjure up in ones mind.

So I stood there, motionless. Sensory perceptions intact. My optic nerves were transmitting images of entropy to my brain but the synaptic connection that gets the motor nerves to act on this impulse was missing. I was rooted on the spot. The only thing I wanted to instinctively do was retreat into “The Child’s Pose”. I slowly settled down on the floor, assumed the position and felt my brain shutting down. My mind was blank, I didn’t want to think of anything. No deliberations, no weighty issues to ponder, just a cocooned feeling of extreme comfort.

I have no idea how long I stayed in that position but it restored me in some ways. When I was up on my feet again I reached for a large garbage bag and started picking up and dumping all offending items in the bag. I put away all the discarded clothes, swept up all the scattered toys and put them in a bin, reached for the vacuum and cleaned my “beyond redemption” light-colored carpet to the best of my abilities, worked through all the discarded dishes in the sink and finally felt a little bit better about myself. Restoring an element of sanity to my life felt good.

So now I think I understand what this particular asana is all about – a physical representation of discarding all your troubles, wiping the slate clean, regressing back to a time when one had nothing to think about, retreating back into the womb, then emerging renewed.

This story is true except for the fact that I didn’t do all these things after emerging from the pose. Instead I grabbed my laptop, wrote down the experience and listed all the things I should be doing – the task avoidance lingered. But in my case, writing things down on paper does always help. Once I list the things that need to be done I can work through my checklist and actually get them done. So I am going to sign-off now. Chores await!

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