Things just out of our grasp

I love supine twists. I feel like I’ve blogged about that before, but I do. I know that some people say twists (and hip openers) can be uncomfortable and even emotionally challenging for them, but I find them oddly relaxing. I was doing the “lunar” series of poses from Shiva Rea’s Lunar Flow Yoga last night, which features a series of supine twists. Rea gives this lovely little instruction–it’s really a small thing–to oscillate your neck from side to side as you settle into the pose, before you turn your head in the opposite direction of the “twisting” movement. It helps you relax and let go of any tension you might have in your neck and shoulders as you stretched your legs. A small thing, but important.

What pose do I wish I loved? Bow pose (Dhanurasana). This one is tough for me. I don’t have the flexibility in my legs and back to quite reach the full pose. It’s just out of my grasp. Isn’t that an interesting metaphor? To say something is just out of your grasp implies that you’ve reached for it, but it is tantalizingly too far away. I was browsing Diane Ackerman’s fabulous book, A Natural History of the Senses, which is made up of small, beautiful essays, organized by the five senses–smell, taste, touch, vision, and hearing. Here she is in in the short essay called ‘Speaking of Touch,’ which reminds me of  that feeling of stretching backwards, unable to reach:

We call our emotions feelings, and we care most deeply when something “touches” us. Problems can be thorny, ticklish, sticky, or need to be handled with kid gloves…Music teachers often chide students for having “no sense of touch,” by which they mean an indefinable delicacy of execution. In fencing, saying touché means you have been touched by the foil and are conceding to your opponent, although, of course, we also say it when we think we have been foiled because someone’s argumentative point is well made…What seems real we call “tangible,” as if it were a fruit whose rind we could feel.” 

Beautiful, yes?


3 thoughts on “Things just out of our grasp

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