The Inner Life of Asanas is comprised of different yoga poses described by a personal story of the author (or mythological tale she’s heard regarding the pose), physical ways to practice the pose, and reflections on the pose. I found the little stories fun and sometimes beautiful. The physical how-tos on how to practice the asanas were nice but nothing new since I have spent so much time in the teacher training learning how to do asana. What I ended up enjoying about the book were the reflection sections on each pose. It’s there that I realized what my personal experiment really was.
After practicing the pose I would write down my answers to the reflection questions. An example of such a question about bakasana (crane pose) was, “ Visualize a crane and try to embody its qualities. Ask: What are you afraid of? When you work with Crane pose, can you peer beneath the surface to see the root of the fear?” The book describes bakasana as, “the yoga of falling on your face” which I thought was fitting since I can barely do bakasana before I panic at the thought of crashing head first into the floor. When I did the reflection writing I was sort of surprised that I wrote, “I’m afraid of failing.” I wrote failing, not falling. Freudian slip initiated by a yoga pose. It’s true though; I’m terrified of failing in my life.
What my personal experiment became was, as the book suggests, was finding the inner life of asanas. Even though I knew that asanas were more than just physical poses, the book helped me to really see the spiritual and psychological core behind the actions. It also helped me to become sensitive to emotional and spiritual reactions I had to each asana and how my feelings manifested themselves in my body. After a lot of meditating on why I was afraid of failing, and accepting that I if I fell over in crane pose then I fell over, I was able to do a very beautiful and sustained crane pose.