The other day, I discovered that I could no longer sit cross-legged on the floor. It was shocking because till just a couple of years ago, I used to spend hours sitting cross-legged on the floor cutting vegetables on an old-fashioned cutting instrument. The reason was not far to seek. After an attack of sciatica a couple of years ago, the doctor had advised me to stop sitting on the floor and I had followed his advice religiously. Now I found that even though I wanted to, the thing was beyond my ability.
“That’s okay,” I comforted myself, “I just need to get back a bit of flexibility. Yoga will put me back in shape.” I had learnt yoga in school and had mastered several asanas. Of course, it was decades since I’d left school and I had never practised yoga after that. I surfed some YouTube videos and started with the basic Suryanamaskar, supposedly the easiest set of asanas. It looked really easy, and brimming with self confidence, I began to copy the video.
I stood with a full length mirror to my side so that I could see whether my poses were correct. The first step was to fold my hands in a namaste and then bend backwards. As easy as a pie! I glanced sideways into the mirror to see if I had bent back far enough. I was surprised to see that I appeared to be standing almost straight! “Something wrong with the mirror, maybe,” I thought to myself as I bent back as far as I could. The reflection moved a teeny bit backwards.
“Never mind,” I consoled myself, “It’ll get easier with practice.” The next step was to bend down and touch the ground with my fingertips. I bent forward eagerly but to my astonishment, my hands wouldn’t go beyond my knees.
“Okay,” I said to myself, “I’ll keep trying till I get it.” Next, I had to slip one leg back and get into the equestrian position but when I did it, it became a “fall flat on your face” position! I continued doggedly, pushing up into a plank position, then an inverted ‘V’ position. But when I had to swing one leg forward to get back in the equestrian position, I tripped and fell flat on my face for the second time. I had given up looking at the mirror. It was obvious that even one step of the Suryanamaskar was beyond my ability.
To cool down, I settled into the Shavasana or corpse pose. It was heartening to know that there was at least one asana which I could do easily! As I picked myself up from the floor, I told myself that I would try again on the morrow. As Scarlett O’Hara said, “After all, tomorrow’s another day!”