Process: its how you get from A to B. To bake a cake there is a process. To launch a product there is a process. If you have a job – of any kind – chances are you understand that the “final deliverable” of whatever you do, is 1% of your job. The rest of it is the process getting there.
There is a common phrase you’ll hear in the yoga world (or at least the Astanga world) that says yoga is 99% practice, and 1% theory. Which I personally remind myself every time I can’t remember the damned sanscrit name for a pose. My brain is just not fast at remembering terms and random factoids. But processes: there I’m golden. (Good thing I’m a musician and a yogi right? Can you imagine, “Hello I’m Doctor Bliss, and you have an infection in your…. oh dear, what’s it called?”)
– partly cause it was a challenge to TAKE all the individual photos in the 3-second window from “click button” to “be in pose” so I wanna get some use out of this puppy.
– partly cause I’m too lazy and warm here in my bed on Saturday morning to get up and take a new picture for you all. Please forgive.
– partly cause these are great to look at process:
On first glance, here are the “end deliverables”:
1 – reach hands up
2 – bend forward at the waist
3 – plank
4 – slow push-up for chaturanga dan
But lets talk about it from the perspective of process:
1 – reach hands up
a. make sure feet are spread wide, even contact with the floor from all points of the foot
b. feel your feet rooting down into the mat, but meanwhile lift energy up through the arches of the foot, and continue that muscular / energetic pull all the way up the legs to the hips
i. toes are gently touching, heels are 1-2 inches apart, so as to open up the sacral muscles in your low back
ii. legs are turning slightly in towards one another, activating this idea of a “hugging the middle line” up through the center of the body.
c. feel the base of the spine strongly connected to the hips, and helping with the rooting sensation in the feet.
d. feel the spine grow up gently out of the base, respecting your natural spinal curve.
e. feel your shoulders resting on top of you elongated spine, as though they were placed on top of the spine, and are dangling around it, with a nice, relaxed, wide base across the clavicle and front of the shoulders.
f. keeping this weighty, relaxed, “dangling” feeling in the shoulders, attempt to raise the arms to the sky, reaching out first, then swooping up, all the while, not allowing the shoulders to become part of the lift.
i. take note that if you think of your arms as lifting up and out of the belly or even low back, it can help the feeling of keeping the shoulders down.
So take that idea, and apply it to the harder poses. (This is also why its good to ask questions!) You will start to see that even in yoga, all the “end deliverables” (the shape, the pose, the form) is really just many many processes.