Sometimes you need to take a step back, to take a step forward.
This was my approach to yoga this week.
I gravitated to Do Yoga With Me’s Power Yoga for Beginners. I don’t necessarily look at myself as a beginner (it’s been over 190 weeks of blogging and over 20 years of practice!), yet I am a big believer of there is always something to learn.
Fiji McAlpine, led a smooth and focused practice. The generation of power wasn’t via moving through the poses quickly, rather it was in the act of slowing down the movements and emphasizing proper alignment.
At first sight, it looked easy. But the amount of heat that was being generated by my body was evidence of the work being done in the static positions. It was a challenging practice both physically and mentally!
Here are my learnings…
Forward Fold - "make the number seven (7) with your body"
Great cue! I’d never thought of it that way. I suppose I always thought of the letter L yet the number seven is a bit more fluid than the straight lines of the letter L.
High Lunge - "step the left foot behind the left hip. Not in a line behind the right heel. Eventually you will stand up and you don’t want to walk unnecessarily on a tight rope”
I can honestly say I have never thought of where my foot is in relation to my pelvis in the high lunge. It is possible that the balancing act of bringing the body upright was related to where my back foot and heel was positioned.
High Lunge - “check out your foundation by letting the hands float”
Whoa! If your lower body isn’t solid, lifting the hands can sure throw you off! It was a clear indication of how much the upper extremity holds you up in the position. But this doesn’t serve you when coming to an upright position.
Check! Foundation awareness is key!
Chaturanga - “make sure you don’t go down too far...half way down or less"
Clearly, I’ve been dropping too low in this position. My arms were telling me that they were not ready to keep me up! Face close to the mat, say a couple inches - alright! Face away from the mat, say a foot or so - no way! To be frank, I actually wasn’t sure if I had been doing this right. Fiji provided a great visual of how to actually do it.
Reversed Warrior - “take the energy of the upper body to the back of the mat. Take the energy of the lower body towards the front of the mat. Allowing those two pieces of the body to split energy into two directions with equal force"
Cue the fireworks!
The cueing of where to direct energy gave the reversed warrior a whole new dimension. My body lengthened in both direction and the asana felt like a completely new pose. Who would of thought I was suppose to pull the lower body and upper body in different directions.
Warrior I - “attempt to turn the right hip forward until the knee buckles or lose the engagement of the right foot or leg...the hips never really truly square because we have the foot planted"
Hallelujah. I most certainly have never been able to square my hips in Warrior I. Glad to have cues now such as the buckling of the knee or loss of engagement in the leg so as to know when to stop trying to square my hips more. From a visual perspective, it has become clear to me that of course they can’t square because of the back foot. Such insight Fiji brings to the practice.
Spinal Twist - “grabbing the left knee with the right hand, pulling the knee across the body to the ground”
By using the opposite hand to pull the knee across the body, this allows for greater range of motion. I’ve never seen this before and I will be sure to continue to use it during my practice.
This beginner power practice had lots of details on positioning that was a welcomed challenge!
The last gem that Fiji shared in this practice was “ask the body to work together”.
If you don’t ask, then how can you step forward?
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.