“A yoga pose has no end point.” Michael Stone
A yoga pose has no beginning either. Take chaturanga, it requires so many building blocks and is itself the building block of so many poses, it exemplifies the endless pose. Can you remember the first time you were taught it? Did it “start” with learning Knees-Chest-Chin? Supported by a block under the hips or your knees on the floor? Did it start or end the first time you were strong enough to hold it for a full exhale without needing to collapse to the floor before down dog? Did it end in your last one for the night in class yesterday? Does it perhaps end in mayurasana, peacock pose?
We refine and refine poses, relearn them, forgo them, rediscover and fall in love all over again. We experience over and over again how the poses have no end points, we can see that so clearly over the life of our practice. What we often miss is consciously experiencing it right in the moment. What would it mean to be in chaturanga, or down dog, or warrior two, and consciously experience an endless quality to the pose?
What would it mean to consciously experience that in a kiss? while cooking a meal? preparing a word document? sitting with a tree?
Ever since the first timeline we encountered, we’ve had a visual framework for our life span, concrete dots marking the beginning and end of particular life epochs. But we forget about the arrows marking the end of each side of the line. How can we be in that dot moment and feel the endless double-arrowed line threading through?
Perhaps it’s with the rest of the Michael Stone quote: “A yoga pose has no end point. Neither does the breath.” Feeling each individual inhale and exhale, with the prana threading through without ever stopping?
Perhaps it’s when we’re in chaturanga and we simply say to ourselves “There is no endpoint to this pose.” And consciously experience it, feeling how that chaturanga contains every knees-chest-chin, arm balance, forearm stand, shoulder injury, or wrist recuperation that you have or will experience. (Substitute chaturanga for kiss, meal, tree, summer day, etc. and their corresponding accompaniments).
Perhaps it’s when we become fixed around a visual image in our minds of what we’re doing. An image by definition is fixed, ended, unchanging, unflowing. It matters the way we present ourselves to ourselves, both in language and images. The more we try to match our experience to an image, the more we’re creating a black dot absent of a thread.