For the ashtanga practitioner, the word “catching” spoken in a Mysore space has its very own meaning. It defies our ideas of normalcy. It challenges imagination. It inspires. And it frightens.
Whether it refers to the just-mind-boggling-movement of taking one’s ankles from urdhva dhanurasana (or backbending) or catching the heels in kapotasana (pidgeon posture), it relays a level of difficulty that is truly extraordinary.
We can look at it physically. We can make it a goal. We can measure the catch.
Or we can treat it as a verb, as an action, as karma–not fixating on some projected outcome–but rather reveling in the act itself, riding the waves of desire, of attachment, of fear, of strength and of courage that inevitably comes when we meet such incredible challenges.
We can look beyond the “catching” of heels or ankles or calves or (eeks!) thighs, and see it for the unfolding mystery of facing our demons, our own limitations, whether it be in our mind or in our body.
Perhaps what matters more isn’t how far one goes, but how deeply we dive into the process, that what matters more is not the bend of the body but our ability to breathe and stay steady and calm through such crazy intense moments (no matter where it comes in one’s practice).