The Japanese have so many wonderful words for seemingly incongruous things. Wabi-Sabi is one such example. An aesthetic term dating back to the fourteenth century CE, it celebrates the humble, hidden beauty of incomplete and imperfect things.
Within this concept, random and naturally occurring irregularities are to be revered: a knotted piece of wood, the inconsistent shape of an eroded rock.
Wabi-Sabi is also an acceptance of transcience and imperfection. This is where, I believe, the term can easily tie in with our Yoga practise.
When we practise the physical asana of Yoga, we will be far from perfect. Even experienced Yogi’s will have bodies which are less than perfect, and so may be unable to force their bodies into certain poses with perfection.
And why would we want to?
If we take a walk in a forest, we will see many examples in nature of imperfection. Gnarled tree barks, broken branches, brown-tinged leaves. Yet, we will often wax lyrical on the beauty of the nature around us. We will celebrate its wabi-sabi-ness.
Nature, as life, is imperfect. And so are we. Today’s pose is one I find fun and also a little kooky! It encourages us to smile, to look imperfect, and to love that imperfection. It is a good pose to practise after the traditional Tree pose, which is a more graceful standing balance.
The Pose: Cactus. Stand tall, raising and bending the right leg and taking hold of it just below the knee with the right hand. Balancing on the strong, left leg, use the right hand to open the right leg out to the right side slightly. Bend the left arm and raise it slightly, opening out the left palm and fingers. Breathe into the balance. Then repeat on the opposite side.
Until next time,