This post is part of Sadhana, a 26-week exploration of each of the Namaste Yoga sequences. It’s never too late to join! All that is required is to try a new Namaste sequence each week – and don’t forget to post about your experiences to be entered in our monthly contests. Read all the Sadhana posts here or connect with others participating in Sadhana on our Facebook wall.
• a combination of qualities, such as shape, color or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses
• a combination of qualities the pleases the intellect or moral sense
• the condition, state or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects
• the action or process of improving something until it is faultless or as faultless as possible
Beauty and perfection are not the same. They do not mean the same things. They are completely different! Perfection can be a limiting term. Quite often in life it is our "flaws or defects" that make us beautiful! Is a swan perfect? Is YOUR swan perfect, or is it beautiful?
Which do you prefer, perfection, or beauty?
You can explore these questions in the Swan Sequence. The warm-up sets the tone for the whole practice: rolling, flowing, freeing. You notice every vertebra in your spine as your roll through the cat poses. This feels beautiful!
This sequence uses the Third-Eye Opening Breath Body Link. Drawing your attention to your insight, your intuition. This is not a perfect sense, but one you must learn to trust. Imagine every breath adds clarity to your intuition. It is a beautiful moment when you learn to trust in yourself. Once you feel that peaceful clarity, you can learn to return to it, even in the most stressful of situations. Third-Eye Opening is an incredibly useful link!
Explore cat rolling and downward dog again. You're body is warmer now, there is added fluidity to your flow. You can carry that fluidity into the Swan Pose. Breathe fully and experience the openness in your chest! Imagine a bright, golden line of energy from the lift in your chest radiating out as you lower smoothly into the bow. This is a restorative pose as you can imagine the golden light still shining, but now being absorbed into your head. As if the moment were made to meld the love in your heart with the brilliant power of your mind.
"The most ancient traveller in the world is called love... love means expansion," ~ Swami Rama
You soon lift into one-legged down-dog. Strong and straight are your arms and spine! The extended leg continues this line, not perfectly, but beautifully, at whatever height is right for you! Bending the knee calls to mind the graceful arc in the neck of the swan.
The extended leg lowers and begins the flow of the whole body into pigeon pose. Again you can feel that joyous lift in the chest! "Expand," Kate says, and then calls us to "continue to expand." Why does this beautiful moment have to end??? But of course, as breath changes, so do we. The practice seems to have lasted but an instant, and we are in Savasana.
The moment for reflection has arrived. You notice your hips feeling more open and flexible. Your spine sinks further into the floor. Was your practice Perfect? Of course! It was perfect for you, AND it felt beautiful! Perhaps, by letting go of our desire for perfection, we make more room in our lives for beauty.
Kate leads you into your next moment with this thought: "Yoga asks us to make a choice in our life to forgive, and then to remember that, again and again."
What do you find when you practice the Swan Sequence?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Heather Gregory is an avid Namaste yogini and has been practicing the sequences nearly every day for three years. Her favourite part of Namaste is the opportunity it affords to find her calm, collected center and carry that forward through each day. We enlisted Heather to embark on the 26 -week journey and blog about each sequence. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org