Week 216: Support From Within
Although I didn’t have a big event coming this week, I dabbled in Adriene’s Confidence Boost Yoga practice. Who doesn’t want a confidence boost?!
I surprised myself since I hadn’t done this video before. I am usually on the hunt for a video that is at least 30 minutes in duration so I can’t believe I’ve missed this one. This practice brought forth the idea of standing in your own skin. Recognizing what you, as an individual, can do to set the stage for your own confidence level. To quote the Youtube description, “add mindfulness and consciousness to your life”.
Two key yoga asanas stood out for me in this practice:
1. Balance (standing flamingo pose into dancers pose [Natarajasana])
My balance was unbelievably off this week. The typical strength and pose I feel during balance sequences was totally absent. As we progressed from one side then on to the other, Adriene had this gem of wisdom:
So whether you just need a little lift, or you’re preparing for something, an audition, an interview, like I said a date, a conversation, this is your time to really find support from within. So balancing poses can be a little brutal because they kind of show us when we’re not connected…so the lesson here is to just tend to it.
I wonder what caused me to falter. Was it the early morning practice (I’m not fully awake)? Is there really something else that is taking my attention? I’m not gonna lie, life is hectic at the best of times. Or was I just distracted by the rockin’ leggings Adriene was wearing during this practice?
Absolutely not the leggings! ;) Loved the leggings!
Maybe more likely that coming into stillness and focus this week was much more difficult than I let myself believe. The past six weeks have been ramped up with activities and life so was it finally presenting itself in my yoga practice? Possible conclusion…
2. Stick pose or is it Staff Pose?
The simplicity of sitting on the ground with the legs outstretched is very deceiving. I suppose I haven’t really blogged about Staff Pose (Dandasana) before as it may not always show up in practice and/or it is a asana that could easily be overlooked - dare I say! Yet, in this week’s practice, something struck me…
Initially Adriene called it stick pose. It confused me as I had thought it was called staff pose. Funny enough, it can be called both. This was the first time I had ever heard a reference to Stick Pose, and thus, I needed to know more.
Fittingly, Adriene went into great detail on how staff pose is SO essential to yoga and life.
[In] Dandasana, we kind of just always come to this shape but we forget that Danda, the Danda is the line from the base of the spine to the crown. The line of our energy centers. The line of energy that we move with and that supports us. And when we take a second to really connect to this or your whole practice, it really does serve us and it really does alter the way we carry ourselves and the way we walk into a room and the way that we meet and greet experiences. Whether we plan for them or not.
Ding! Ding Ding!
Danda? This was another new thing to me. I’d never even heard of that word before. Well, what learnings I am getting this week. I’ll tuck that one away for another week!
All in all, who knew 30 minutes of yoga would open me up to so many new things and a renewed sense of confidence,
For more on Staff Pose...for me to still try too...
Do you recall your childhood dreams? Ever wonder what your life would be like if you pursued them?
The start of every school year, my mom would sit me down to complete my school days scrapbook. It always had a place where I could check off what I wanted to be when I grew up; it included a predetermined list but I could always add one or two.
On the predetermined list, ballerina was always listed. And each and every year until I was probably 12 years old, I picked ballerina as what I wanted to be when I grew up.
Well, this childhood dream was never fulfilled nor have I ever taken a ballet class in my life. However, in this week's practice I was reminded of this dream.
Now it wasn't that I felt like a ballerina this week (completely the opposite as my baby belly grows larger) but I felt pretty strong and balanced doing the king/lord of the dancer pose (natarajasana).
Now I didn't practice the full pose with my leg extended far behind me, but this standing pose was challenging enough with my suspended leg slightly behind my body and the hand pressing into the foot. I was able to balance with success and feel strength through my back/glutes and a well-needed stretch through my chest and front hip.
Dancer's pose is a great heart-opener and with the timing of a new year, it was fitting to practice this pose to help ponder what I see for the future year. It not only reminded me of my past dream(s) but also my 2014 dreams.
What are your 2014 dreams?
A some words that represent my dreams for 2014 would be:
- happiness and contentment
- smiles and fun
- compassion and empathy
And as a new year rolls around, my practice this week reminds me of dreams and encouraged me to dream big this year. Will you?
I love learning all the terminology of yoga, from the sanskirt asana names to the different technique names, it is almost like learning a new culture or language. Which I suppose it sort of is.
This week I popped in a newly borrowed DVD, Yoga Journal 21 Day Challenge, from the library (side note: I'm super excited that the Edmonton Public Library now loans DVDs for three weeks!) and started following my new teacher. She took me through an easy to follow sequence of poses and had me challenged throughout. What caught my attention, though, was the way she described a pose. We were "binding". Now I have to admit, this variation on the pose (bound extended side angle [Baddha Parsvakonasana] versus extended side angle [Utthita Parsvakonasana]) was different so I needed to know more.
Let me explain further...
Binding, as it is called (and I didn't realize it had a name) is when in a pose you clasp your hands together to intensify the stretch, clasp the hand and foot together to progress the pose or when the arms or legs work together by exerting equal force against each other. Here is a thorough video with many examples of poses that bind and here is a list of benefits.
In past practice, I had been doing binding poses and just didn't know it...or know how to name it...such as eagle pose (Garudasana), dancers pose (Natarajasana)
and bow pose (Dhanurasana). Now back to my practice.
Initially when my new teacher guided me into bound extended side angle, I felt apprehension. I suppose this is normal, as you think, "you want my hands to connect in which way?" However, I was pleasantly surprised that getting my hands to touch AND clasp wasn't terribly difficult. Whew! The pose was an excellent chest opener, leg strengthening challenge and mental toughness exercise.
This week's practice made me recall other binding poses that I quite enjoy and must explore in the upcoming weeks.
Not really tied up in knots, just "bound" to try more binding poses,
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.