Week 25: The Camel
I've been thinking a lot about the camel pose (Ustrasana) lately. Maybe is it because I sing "Alice The Camel" song on a daily basis but also it has been key for me to work on backbends. I've already written briefly about backbends, which has been essential to help with opening my chest and slouchy shoulders due to late night nursing and carrying baby and baby things. But these aren't the only reasons I am drawn to the camel pose...
This past year has been one of many changes for me. The most significant change was becoming a mom. In light of this, I realized the camel can be symbolic of my journey so far on two fronts.
1. Camels have reserves of water, and I, like the camel, have been delving into my reserves many days over the past year. My thirst for knowledge (when does my baby eat this or that?), patience (when will he sit by himself?), and sleep (how long will he sleep tonight?) have been constant. I really didn't know exactly what I was signing up for with motherhood and recently I've reflected on what has changed. Part of me is experiencing loss (of a life I had pre-baby) but it is greatly overshadowed with the presence of my fantastic son. Reading the book, Momma Zen by Karen Maezen Millera, has been a breath of fresh air (recommended by a yoga teacher and mom) and it too has been nourishing my soul.
2. Camels are work animals who carry heavy loads. I, too, have been literally and figuratively carry a heavy load. As I stated above, I'm carrying a 25 pound toddler many places and all his associated things. But I'm also carrying the load of being the primary care giver to this child for, let's say, another 18+ years of my life. Not a light load but something I am ready to take on.
I look to the camel pose now as a physical chest opener but also an energizing pose to allow me to open up to change and to refuel my reserves. Interestingly, chest opening is thought to release dramatic emotional displays and I am ready for this vulnerability. In one of my yoga books, it is listed as exhilarating!
All in all, camel pose is an advanced pose which has many alternatives to allow almost anyone to try it. In my research, it is common for some people to actually experience nausea and lightheadedness during this pose due to the extension of the back and neck. So some cautions need to be taken.
Ready for the humps and bumps ahead...and now I know more about camel pose and how it can help!
Coming from a group exercise model, it just seemed appropriate that yoga classes would have music. And practicing at home to my one and only VHS (yes, that is how long ago that was!), it was to music. So the first class I attended that had no music, I was a bit put out. Can I really practice yoga in silence?
After getting use to there being no music, I actually enjoyed the silence. And really the silence wasn't always happening because depending on the class, breathing techniques were utilized and I could listen to my own breath.
This past week, I practiced to Krishna Das and it got me thinking about what is the rule about playing music in a yoga class. Is there a rule?
I didn't find anything concrete for an answer, only opinions about to use or not to use music. I suppose it is at the discretion of the teacher and his/her ability to pick appropriate tunes. There are many pre made options, which likely make it easier.
Check out here, here and here about some opinions about music and yoga practice.
Does your yoga practice include music? What do you prefer?
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.