We, as practitioners of yoga (and especially of asana) have many challenges when dealing with the changing nature of our bodies and minds. For those of us in the Iyengar tradition, and as students of a master such as BKS Iyengar, the physical aspects of yoga can be a particularly sticky area. I am thinking sticky because of the inevitable: Attachment. Attachment to the body. Attachment to the mind. Attachment to what they can or cannot do. Attachment to some external ideal of alignment that may be in conflict with what is. And seeing what is brings an internal alignment, an integrated state because of a profound and deep acceptance. Because of the fact that all things change, especially with regard to the body and mind, the concept of alignment cannot be a static, fixed archetype of a pose or a state, but rather a fluid, dynamic, ever - changing observation of relationships. And when this observation is truthful in its acceptance of what is perceived, then there is the possibility of some harmony in the strangest of circumstances. Are we relating to ourselves as we actually are? Are we relating to others as they are? Or are we imposing some external idea, concept, or definition of how something, some person, ourselves, ought to be on the vision and experience of what actually is. And in doing so...missing the point (alabdhabhumikatva), missing the vision, the darsana, of what is already here. One of the reasons we practice may be to uncover the courage and confidence to see what is rather than our projections of what should be.
When I saw my father's ravaged body in the hospital before and after he died, I thought to myself how beautiful he is, now, as he is. This body, this vessel has truly been of service. This body has been of service for his being, his country (he fought in the South Pacific in World War II), his friends and family. This vessel and all the heart, heat, ALL that it housed for 86 years, this vessel, as it is, has been of service. It is beautiful. And especially beautiful because it housed a heart that loved and hurt, and was of service.
So I am thinking that it may be helpful, for me, and perhaps for others, to remember that this body, this vessel is being of service, as it is. This vessel, when it is appreciated by heart and mind, is aligned with heart and mind, and this is the true alignment. So align body, heart and mind and live life as an offering. See, and love things, as they are, as an offering. And allow for the perfection of imperfection, as an offering. So practice as offering. Body, mind, life and love, all offerings. All appreciated. All accepted. All blessed. All divine.