Imagination always precedes transformation.  We must imagine that things can or will be different in order to begin moving towards a new and better way of living.  Imagination precedes all great works of art and science.  Musicians and athletes imagine the perfect performance, that they might be better able to achieve it in reality.  Kalpanas is the Sanskrit term for these intentional mental creations.

We try to protect ourselves by keeping ourselves stuck - we can't fail if we don't try.  We might have put ourselves into a category and then closed the door behind us... 'I'll never be able to do that pose' ... 'I'm not that kind of person' ... 'I hate this asana/practice/meditation' ...

But imagination can help us to replace our internal patterns, especially ones that keep us limited or stuck - if we are able to imagine a bold, brave, strong way of living in freedom, then we are already inhabiting a more positive space.

And yoga practice gives us a place to have a go.  We think: 'My virabhadrasana III might not look like it does in the book, but it looks like the way I do it when I'm giving it my best shot'; or 'I might never master this pose, but it's interesting to try'.

I taught a lady who hated bakasana.  Every time we came to it in practice, she huffed and puffed and didn't want to do it.  But we persevered.  I'm sure she wondered why she was doing it; what possible benefit it could have to her mind, well-being or physique.  But we kept on coming back to it.  And you should have seen her face the first time she did it - how proud she was and how good it felt and how once she cracked it, she loved it and could always do it again.  The doubt had gone; the fear had gone; the negative image had gone.  She could do it and we moved on to other challenges.

We learn to have an open mind through these small break-throughs; when we replace a limited sense of ourselves with the possibility that there might be more.

Bring a sense of kalpana to your yoga practice: imagine yourself strong, flexible and capable of positively approaching even the most challenging asanas and practices.  Bring a sense of kalpana to your life: stay open to life's myriad opportunities.  We just smile and practice and try again and laugh when it doesn't go to plan.  It's all we can do. 

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back ...Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”


  1. I think it is true that we can limit ourselves in life by what we tell ourselves we are able to do - rather than just giving things a try! If it does not involve death or destruction, what have you got to lose?! Vanessa.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts