1 of 2  

For how it sounds. Or Watsonossana? for my address. (And something, I think, of Sherlock Holmes–not as he was written, but as he’s currently perceived). Or What’s an asana? for plain lucidity.

I’ve written before of two questions: 1) Sometimes what you would call an asana is performed along the body’s vertical line of symmetry, so that it’s done twice—from both sides, that is. Well, in this twoness, this mirror image twinning, what’s an asana? The two performances taken together? Or each performance alone?

Or suppose you’re on the mat both to relax and as an aerobic flow, moving smoothly from asana to asana—a smoothness which is often strenuous in the extreme (but in a good way).

So which is the asana, some particular point in the flow, or the flow itself? Either answer gives you trouble making a definition. Is an asana the holding of a particular position, or a section of the flow itself?

I think though that the word “asana” means something in particular, however difficult it may be to define that something.

Sometimes things seem one way to me, and sometimes they seem the other. I practice however seems natural at the time. Sometimes I use a count to guarantee that I’m holding the pose long enough, and sometimes I just play with the tension and relaxations. Go deeper into the pose. Get lost in it.

Or keep moving evenly from one asana to the next.

Sometimes I mix and match.

Maybe each asana is a sort of “phase space” of the body, together comprising all the possible positions the human body can assume, given sufficient training. There should be an infinity of possible positions. At first you think it’s a countable infinity, but then you realize that smooth movement is a whole different ball game, yoga-wise. There was that yogi, somewhat controversial at the time, whose name I just cannot dadblame think of, who followed no pre-cut routines. Each of his sessions was unique, a spontaneous movement to itself alone (though it might incorporate many smaller movements).

I think he had a point. I suspect he was the real thing. I suspect he was the live-in-the-moment guy who actually lived in the moment.

So what’s an asana according to him? I have no idea. (Not so much because he’s dead now, but because I cannot cotton-picking think of his name.)

There’s something there though, some entirely real if indefinable entity. There’s something that serves as a beautiful guide to the practice, but that cannot be known as a definition. The only way to know that something is to practice it, over and over and over, to spend a regular part of your life practicing it.

Then you will recognize the questions I’m posing. We could talk about them without imposing preconception, aware but not attempting final definition.

1 of 2