Impermanence is the underlying groundlessness of our experiences, personal and impersonal. Buddhism, especially, brings this to our attention. When we try to make something or someone a permanent fixture in our life, we often feel upset when our expectations are hijacked by a deeper truth. Nothing is static. Everyone and everything changes. Flowers blossom and wither, trees leaf out and then drop their leaves, human bodies change and they also change their minds ... when life is beautiful we want it to stay that way and when life is difficult, we 'can't wait' until it changes for the better. We're dealing with impermanence, like it or not.
Transformation is also about change but has a hint of willpower in it, as in "I want to transform myself". It can also be observed from the outside as in "She transformed before my very eyes!" Transformation tends to be described as a positive event that many yoga practitioners aspire to.
I'm wondering what a negative transformation might be called? Regression? Failure? Those would be harsh labels and especially so when Mother Nature itself is in play, which she always is.
Yoga practices put us in touch with these experiences when we are willing to be curious about and receptive to change. Starting with the body practices (asana), you begin to realize that there is the mass of this body, its structure and range of motion, and yet the body's tendencies are not the only components of asana. There are also my perceptions, my concepts, my emotions, my breath, and my energy, all involved in the asana. When you really feel these pulsations within yourself, practice is profound in the most personal way.
"How can you move your body without your mind?" - BKS Iyengar
Just as profound is the yoga asana experience over time - years and decades. When the body/mind is my meditation 'object' I will witness the transformations and impermanence of nature from the inside out. While I might practice to transform my weaknesses into strengths and stiffness into agility, I will also notice when heavy waves of fatigue drag me down or how the side effects of sorrow constrict me. I will notice the quirky physical sensations of joy and how the breath naturally calms during moments of serenity.
Daily asana and pranayama practice is like maintaining a diary of experiences. Stepping onto the mat, whether inspired or obligated, I begin the practice and immediately sense something very basic - how I feel - and explore it through movement, stillness, and awareness.
My posture practice might strengthen me and stretch me. I could discover that I'm becoming physically weaker in some ways but mentally more focused in other ways. My practice will reveal what is true now. Tomorrow might feel similar to today but I know for sure that a month from now, a year from now, changes will happen. The question will be, can I accept these changes courageously and gracefully?