I recently saw photos of Buddha Bose doing Physical Postures (Asanas). Buddha was one of Bishnu Ghosh's top students before Bikram, basically one of Bikram's older classmates. There are three things that strike me about the collection of pictures: the highly developed muscles, the generally tame "flexibility," and the hip rotation.
1) Highly Developed Muscles - It is well known that Ghosh was a proponent of "muscle control" and that he lifted weights. Modern yoga traditions seem to carry little, if any, focus on muscle development. There is certainly muscle awareness and strength that is necessary, but I have never heard or seen any teacher encourage muscle development with the adamancy that they encourage flexibility, stretching and "opening up." Perhaps that is a symptom of our culture, but it seems like yoga in the west has veered more toward gymnastics, even female gymnastics, with an emphasis on beautiful lines, deep bends and flexibility.
Which brings me to my next point...
3) Hip Rotation - Despite the lack of focus on other forms of flexibility, several of Buddha's postures have rotated hips, like this Lotus Pose. It is not impressive to look at, but it takes significant flexibility in the hip joints to achieve this posture.
All of these things make me wonder about where we put our focus in modern yoga practice. We encourage depth, alignment and beauty but not strength, muscular balance or broad functionality, like rotating hips.
Seeing these pictures and pondering their significance is making me reassess my own Physical practice and yogic approach.
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