As a student of Yoga Mandir, a pose that is very likely to be taught in the developing level evening class is Ardha Chandrasana, or half moon pose.
I have a strong memory of the first time I was introduced to this pose. Alan called out the name as we entered into it—Ardha Chandrasana—as I followed his guiding voice to form the shape and achieve the balance.
The feeling in the pose was an unlikely combination of fragility, shakiness and weightlessness, like a new bourn doe struggling to its feet and then a sense of permanence, as I settled to find the balance, sensing the firmness and stability. I moved with care, fixing my bottom hand to a block and raising my back leg to bring the asana to life.
As I came down I felt something very calming that held me and traveled with me through the transition for the second side . This feeling was generated from the first side, and it did not change or leave me throughout the rest of the asana. “Back leg higher,” I heard Alan direct as he moved us through the other side, calling out the alignment and action points. I was working hard at the demands of the asana, putting all my strength in stabilising my bottom leg so the top leg could lengthened away. It felt like I was floating in the pose! My chest opened and my back leg became longer as it extended into that space. I was balancing.
As a baby I was born with reflux. If I lay down my oxygen supply was diminished, so for the first twelve months of my life I was positioned upright in a padded bucket with two holes cut out for my legs, which prevented me from falling over. This resulted later in life as a balance and learning difficulty. So for me, balance had an association of fear, and of failure. Would I manage it or not? But in that evening class, positioning myself in the pose using the alignment points and quiet observation creating the required focus and concentration to hold the pose . For now, everything was suspended as I completely held the balance.
That evening was my first lesson of many that the practice of Iyengar yoga can override past experiences, allowing me to go beyond what I thought I was capable of. In the balance I was still and calm, my mind settled. I became one with that Ardha Chandrasana, or half moon in the night sky. In Iyengar, this is what we know as action in meditation.