Week 197: How to Grow My Practice
I had a blast at another Yoga Central class! I was challenged with so many different poses which I do not practice at home.
It is becoming clear that for my yoga teacher journey to be fruitful and every expanding, I must get to practice outside the four walls of my basement and my Mac!
The pose that gave me a jolt was one I never thought I could do....
Yes, I'd see it on the glossy pages of Yoga Journal and in advanced yoga images in books but to have really done it still astonishes me...
Who knew I could hold my entire body weight on my arms...what an empowering pose!
The pose you ask?
Crane/Crow pose (Bakasana)!
What I have been enjoying about practice in studio is the opportunity to use props I might not have at home such as a foam block (surprising I don't have one yet!).
Our teacher cued us to place a foam block at the top of our mats. I paused for a moment and wandered, what the heck are we doing with a foam block there? Maybe a supported half moon pose or a supported wide-legged forward fold, but not crane pose.
We settled into a deep yogic squat to begin with and allowed a deep flexion of the hips to begin. It became clear that we were in transition to the next pose when we were directed to place our hands on the mat in front of us. Curiously, I hesitated in putting my hands down on the mat initially as I wanted to see what was coming next.
As I intently listened to the cueing, I realized I was needing to release my deep squat and and shift my weight forward onto my hands. The block with positioned as if I had an imaginary triangle with the base as my hands and the top point as the block. I shifted forward and placed my forehead on the foam block. Instantly, I felt my legs come forward and naturally land behind my arms. Whoa...I got this far!
Gently, I lifted my right toes and then my left off the ground with no difficulty.
And of course, I heard the teacher say, "now lift your head off the block". No time to think but I lifted my head with amazement and was sitting or should I say supporting myself solely with my hands.
My brain went to its chitter chatter self and I slowly lost my balance and had to come out of the pose.
I was hooked and tried again and again to get crane pose!
Maybe it was the rush of having my head below my heart or the power I felt in my arms, but it was one of those yoga highs!
After the fact, I did a bit of searching (as I've never written about crane pose before) and found that it is upper body and core strengthener. Um, yes!
Can’t wait to try crow again…even with a foam block for support!
Week 196: Dirt Under My Nails
Are you getting your hands dirty this week?
I sure am.
I'm no gardener but I do like looking at nice flowers over the summer months. I’ve played my luck the past couple years and planted before the May long weekend. This year too, I’ve got my bag of potting soil and trowel ready to go!
Amazingly every year not only do I tempt fate with the weather but my back too. I always have some tightness and soreness after some time playing in the dirt. Does this educated exercise professional ever do a warm-up before gardening? Of course not…yikes!
Needless to say, I was on the hunt for a gardening specific yoga sequence but happily stumbled upon a Do Yoga With Me video that fit the bill.
Constant forward flexion.
Doesn’t that sound like an every day occurrence?
Well, moreso when kneeling over pots and gardening beds with the addition of a digging motion. That is an equation for back pain.
Hatha Yoga for Better Posture provided a time and space for working through the supportive muscles of the core with many opportunities to extend and flex the spine through a full range of motion.
I thoroughly enjoyed the novel yoga work at the wall. All though, Melissa set-up the move as an exercise not necessity a yoga asana, standing at the wall with the arms up in “cactus position”, low back pressed against the wall with the feet placed further away from the wall was a fantastic alignment tool to get the spine stacked back to its more natural state. This was one of the many seeds I needed to sow to get my back to feel better!
Although I didn’t warm up, I sort of feel like I’ve been training for gardening all year long. My yogic deep squat (malasana) was the perfect position for many of my gardening feats! Even to the point that I actually wasn’t bothered to be in the position for long periods of time. Woowho!
I still have more to add to my garden this year (flowers and herbs!) so I’m sure this practice is going to get me through the early days of Spring!
Aspiring Yoga Teacher
I've practiced yoga since I was a pre-teen and have always found it to keep me centered. I will be a teacher one day and this is my journey to discover teaching and practice.