This is the last week of revisiting a yoga journal I completed 12 years ago. At the time, I picked poses that I was finding a challenge during the practical classes. Interestingly, some poses are "easier" today and others are just as challenging.
Here are the three I practiced this week:
Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
Even back 12 years ago, I really liked this pose. I suppose it is the flexible hamstrings I've got. But I'd have to say that my understanding of how to do the pose has greatly improved over the years. I think the key piece was not collapsing into the pose as I lean over to the side. I had always wanted my hand to touch the floor not realizing that my side body and ribs were compressed. Practicing in Judy's classes, I have been able to increase the opening of my side (hard to believe!) and get greater range in the pose. This weeks practice just reinforced how I use to do the pose and how it has changed. Challenging still - yes - but done better. See here for what else I have learned about triangle pose lately.
"Doing this pose first allowed me to warm up for the rest of the poses. I began to feel a warm sensation as I did the pose. I think that it was my body waking up and realizing that I was doing something vigorous and physical. I found that my body was tight and not free flowing. I did the pose more than once because I wanted to feel the position with a more limber body."
Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
Kind of like a squat, kinda of not like a squat. Over the years, I've had a love hate relationship with chair pose. It's a wonderful leg strengthening pose but gosh, sometimes it just too much work! My body awareness in this pose has also changed over the years. I now think about joint angles as I sit down. Apparently, the angle (or flexion or bend) at the ankle, knee and hip should all be the same to make this pose correct - technically.
This week I noticed major tightness in my shoulder joints and lifting my arms overhead was the most challenging. I just love how practicing yoga session to session can be so different. Let's see what I thought 12 years ago...
"This pose was also difficult for me to do this morning. I allowed myself three or four diaphragmatic breaths in mountain pose before starting, yet I do not think I recovered from the previous pose. The “squat” position was the most difficult and I found that my legs were shaking to hold the position. However, after the pose, I stood in mountain pose and I felt that my muscles had a good stretch and that I was relaxed."
Opposite Arm and Leg Lift (similar to Locust pose - Salabhasana?)
What grabbed me about reading my journal entry about this pose was more about where I started - alligator pose. What? Again, I totally don't remember this pose. Off I go to my resources and find that it is actually crocodile pose (Makarasana). I suppose alligators and crocodiles are not the same things in real life so why would they be in yoga. Thus, wrong name (again!) but a perfect plan to start with the opposite arm and leg lifts.
This pose too is a classic one for me that I can't say how many years I've been doing it! I think I'll be doing this pose for years to come. What did I say about it in 2001?
"I began the pose in the alligator pose [actually crocodile pose] and allowed myself to gain focus on the move that I was about to do. Initially the movement was stiff but as it progressed, I began to stretch my hip flexors a little bit each time. The breathing was calming as I tried to concentrate on it. It made the movement flow and gave it timing."
Many yoga adventures - then and now - and how it's been easy and hard. I just feel so lucky to have the chance for these adventures. And ironically today, I saw my teacher, who marked my journal 12 years ago. I can't say she would remember my journal or me for that matter but what a perfect way to finish my reflection on my 2001 assignment.
More practice, more reflection,
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.