In the epic poem, the Ramayana, there is a lesson about working through obstacles
Hanuman is on a mission to save the beloved queen, Sita. Along the way a demon named Surusa blocks his path. For him to get past her he must play her game. She says he must crawl inside her mouth in order to get past. Of course she plans to eat him. Hanuman is a humble warrior, and he can never remember his powers unless called upon to serve the greater good. He remembers his mission to save Sita, and furthermore that his mission is more important than any silly game. It is only when he taps into a longing to serve others that he finds out how magical he really is. Then he remembers one of his super powers, called Karmarupin, the power to shapeshift into smaller or larger creatures. As Surusa opens her mouth, he becomes tiny and jumps inside and passes thru her. By being able to change, Hanuman stays aligned with his highest spiritual intention.
Obstacles on and off the mat
On and off the mat, we are constantly faced with obstacles on the spiritual path. Every day we negotiate with demonic power trippers who would rather eat us up than help us out. Sometimes we have to get big, bold, and confident. Other times we are called upon to get small, humble, determined or focused. This story is a reminder that we have the power of to become whatever we need to be to serve our spiritual quests.
As you consider the day ahead, ask yourself, who do I need to become today?
Every day, just like every asana, is an opportunity to awaken your true power, to practice when to get big and when to get small, so that when conflicts arise we remember the highest purpose of our practice; to bring more joy to the world. Without this intention we cannot know what the best thing to do is, and we might get caught up in petty wars and games with each other. When Hanuman remembered the beloved Sita, he connected to what was most important in his heart, and he knew who he needed to become to overcome the obstacle on his path.
Remember your intention
Yoga teaches us that by simply remembering your intention–by focusing on your in breath and your out breath–you can tap into your god-given power to expand and contract. This is the power of Karmarupin.