The Good Side, The Bad Side

We all have a more prominent side to our body; a leg you stand on more, a stronger arm, a better side for photos. It’s something that we’ve sort of come to accept; our bodies aren’t made equal, one side is slightly weirder than the other. This goes for your internal being too.

Within my practice, I’ve always been very aware that any asana involving twists are difficult for me. Anatomically, I think my shoulders are quite tight and having shorter limbs makes the binding a little harder. Not impossible, just a little harder but it’s allowed me to get to know where in my body there is a block and what I need to manipulate to overcome that. Turning or twisting towards my left is much harder than towards my right. Since practicing yoga, Marichyasana C and D have always been more consistent on the first side. For a period I could twist and bind independently on both sides, but when I’m stressed or tired, the second side often goes and I need some help. 

The first posture of Intermediate series is Pasasana, AKA my Everest! Whilst in a squatting position with legs together, you twist to bind your arms around both legs. My achilles don’t allow me to squat flat footed either so there’s also a balancing element to this for me! My teacher comes and assists each time and admittedly, the more I practice it, the easier it has gotten but as ever, one side is easier to get into than the other.

In these twisting postures, I have learnt to be more patient with myself and to keep giving my ‘bad’ side the chance. Wishing it was different or just bullishly trying to get into the bind literally gets you nowhere. It’s about taking the time to adjust your position and to feel your way through it, and simply to keep trying your best. 

Off the mat, I’ve been going through some things internally and as all humans, I have a side that I struggle with. It’s not the majority of my personality (though at times it feels like it takes over a bit) but at the very least, it’s always there on some level. When I remember it or it comes over me, it feels like a disappointment that I have it and a wish that it wasn’t there because in honesty, I only want a good side. 

Of course though, as it is anatomically, mentally and internally we aren’t created equal. We have to work on getting to some level of equanimity and some parts will be easier than others to get to that. Learning patience with the harder side and accepting it’s a part of me is a daily lesson. As with the twisting asanas, fighting through it and wishing it was easier does nothing, whereas calmly looking at it from above and creating some distance with it helps to put it in a different and more workable light. Once you acknowledge that an area needs more attention to improve, and that possibly some outside assistance will be helpful, it can feel like a weight has been lifted because there is now proactive work to start on. 

The harder sides of us help us to evolve and grow, and to develop a deeper understanding of ourselves and a patience in our approach. If we were entirely without a lesser side, a side for us to improve upon, then how boring and stagnant would we be, individually and as a community. It’s not always easy to truly get to this mindset, but it certainly helps in the journey understanding that the bad gives us space to change and better ourselves. 

So, the bad side is in fact our better side. Not everything can come easily because if it did, I’m quite sure we wouldn’t do very much more!