Skillful Action

I think what I loved most about my early days as a student of Iyengar Yoga was the transformation I recognized in myself. Those were the days when I woke up regularly with a crick in my neck. After a few months of practice, it occurred to me that I hadn’t had one in so long I couldn’t remember. I also became much more aware of my posture and my breathing. I had suffered from acute anxiety as a young adult, and now I could control my breathing to control my inner tension. Over time the practice of yoga took the place of distance running though there was no clear line of delineation, except possibly the birth of my daughter. My daughter was breach in my belly and the midwife was concerned that I would need a caesarean section. She didn’t hold out much hope for a natural delivery. My yoga teacher contacted her teacher Manouso Manos about using asana to help the baby to turn. I trusted the skills of my yoga teacher so much that I gave a try to what Manouso told her to do with me. I didn’t understand what she was doing at the time, but I do now. It’s variation of setu bandha on the bench. It takes two teachers– one to hold the student’s shoulders down with their feet and while the other teacher moves the bench to the side that the baby’s head resides. The idea is that moving to that direction will make the baby want to scram to the other side. Then the bench is moved to the other side so the baby ends up head down in the position for a natural birth. I had no idea what she was doing, but I was game to try.

A few days later at my scheduled appointment, my midwife was astonished that my baby had moved and was in a perfect position for a natural birth!

My perfect baby was born three days after her due date and we were both happy and healthy.

My teacher quotes the Bhagavad Gita in that yoga is skillful action. The struggle of figuring out what is the right thing to do in any given situation is the human condition. The practice of yoga brings the mind body connection which quiets the ever-distracted mind. These glimpses of clarity allow us to distinguish what is the right action. That is the hope anyway.

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