The Corner of 36 & Dancer
Last week was my 36th birthday. Like everyone else, I have had fear of growing older, as my youth gets farther behind me with each passing day. I suppose it is no surprise that we fear getting older when youth is all we know.
I must be at the perfect age. All young people, teens and 20s, upon hearing that I'm 36, look at me with a pity reserved for elders and out-of-touch dinosaurs. On the other hand, when I tell anyone over the age of 40 that I am 36, they look at me with the glimmer of hope and possibility. "You are so young," they say, "with so much of your life ahead of you." What conclusion can I draw other than I am at the perfect age, neither too young nor too old. Balanced in the middle of life. (My true hope is that I feel this way with every passing year, though that can't possibly be the case.)
As we edit our forthcoming Advanced Practice Manual, I am drawn over and over again to this variation of Dancer Posture. A full backbend, with the foot touching the head, while standing on one leg. It is a near-perfect expression of balance in all things: mobility, something that comes naturally in youth but fades as the years pass; strength and determination, which we learn to cultivate more and more with age; and balance, a function of awareness, control and surrender that I believe is the foundation of wisdom.
This posture seems to express my age perfectly. Perched at the crossroads of youth and adulthood, flexibility and rigidity, making an effort to balance these forces.
This journal honors my ongoing experience with the practice, study and teaching of yoga.
1) Sridaiva Yoga: Good Intention But Imbalanced
2) Understanding Chair Posture
2) Why I Don't Use Sanskrit or Say Namaste
3) The Meaningless Drudgery of Physical Yoga
5) Beyond Bikram: Why This Is a Great Time For Ghosh Yoga