Back when I was a beginner at Ashtanga yoga (about 11 years ago), I remember a male teacher correcting my posture in Janu Sirsasana B (pictured below). I had gotten into the habit of ignoring the instructions about sitting on the heel. Apparently, I decided that I didn’t do that part. Not that it was a totally conscious decision or anything. Actually I remember trying it for a second when the teacher was explaining what to do, and then backing out again to sit on the floor as we held the pose.
This picture reminds me of how I felt in the pose. It is really very intense.
So anyway, the teacher came over to me and looked me in the eye and guided me to lift up my bum and sit on the heel. I lifted my vagina up and over the heel and sat. It just felt so strange! I looked up at my teacher to make sure that this was really what I should be doing.
Actually the strangest memory just broke through as I was writing that. I remembered a relative telling me (when I was a kid and sitting on my foot) that blind girls would sometimes sit on their heels to secretly masturbate—I am not kidding! So maybe that’s why I felt so weird about that pose! Like I was afraid that I might secretly masturbate, or something. Geez.
I remember shrinking back from the sensation of the heel sinking into my flesh “down there” and when I got the “okay” from my teacher I hardened myself to the experience. Numbed myself to it and sort of resigned myself to the fact that this is how I should be positioned in the pose.
So when a person is stuck in a negative association with the underside of the pelvis, where we sit, there might be resistance to really feeling what is going on “down there”. This is why I chose to read the book, What’s Up Down There? I wanted to work on demystifying my own pelvic floor. It can be hard to separate from the gender associations of this part of the body, and I don’t really think that we should.
Thanks for reading. I didn’t know this one was going to be so intense…