I love having unique and novel practices.
From time to time, yoga sequences can be so similar that you can almost shut off and not bother thinking about it (read: sun salutation after sun salutation or Warrior II into Triangle Pose). Yet, this week caught my attention from the beginning!
Yin/Yang Yoga for the Spine, from Do Yoga with Me, was a quick, half-asleep pick at 6:30 am Tuesday morning. I was looking for a longer practice but didn’t want anything that was so focusing at that early morning hour. You know, I just roll out of bed, hit the bathroom and head down to the basement to practice. I didn’t recognize Sarah Jane Steele’s name from a previous session so I was game to try another new yoga teacher.
Right away I was in for something different.
The “warm-up” so to speak, was not like something I’d done before. She directed me to fall into a sun salutation from mountain pose and dynamically we moved into chair pose with rotation. What felt like a short moment later, I was instructed to move back into a low lunge. This sequence was repeated on alternate sides of the body for a total of three times each.
Boy, that woke me up!
It was the perfect way to get the early morning yoga juices flowing.
Once more, Sarah Jane threw me into something new.
Bird of Paradise pose…
Say what? That’s a new one for me.
Let me be honest, I stopped dead in my tracks to watch my computer monitor for this one.
From extended side angle pose, we transitioned into a bind. The bind consisted of placing the top arm overhead and behind the lower back while bringing the bottom arm underneath the front thigh. Catching the fingers together (peace sign fingers!) and holding.
Whew! Just typing that made me recall the difficulty of holding THAT pose.
But oh no, that is not the final destination.
Sarah Jane proceeded to walk her straight leg into towards the bent leg and slowly straightened it into a standing, balance position.
IT BLEW MY MIND!
I was in compete awe of how Sarah Jane was able to hold this position.
The competitive side of me wanted to try it but clearly the bind in extended side angle pose was my challenge that morning. Needless to say, I repeated the name of the pose ferociously in my head so that I’d remember to look it up later!
Here are the details of this pose…
Bird of Paradise (no sanskrit name to be found) is a challenge of balance in the rooted strength of your standing leg with a blossoming openness and flexibility in your torso and extended leg. It requires both strength and flexibility to be successful. Now, since I wasn’t able to try it, I don’t have words to express how it felt. Yet, I have a new pose that I want to try soon! Maybe a yoga strap could help with the bind…
Coming soon...Bird of Paradise is something to aspire to!
Extended side angle pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana), to me, is a foundational pose but receives little attention compared to its sister Warrior poses. Officially, not a warrior pose it has the markings of one (such as the bent knee like in warrior II) except for the side bending.
It was an enlightening pose this week, which follows the past two weeks' pattern of bending (forward and side). To be honest, I had a major release (physical and emotionally) with extended side angle pose this week and I don't totally get why. Was it from the hips? Apparently, releasing the hips can be an emotional experience but I have no reference or source to date. Is it the place of tension that rarely gets a break?
Especially as a pregnant women.
I really like this pose for my pregnant body. It focuses on single leg strength and opening of the side body among opening the hips.
One of the things I want to maintain is my leg strength. After sitting for many months nursing with my first child, my legs atrophied to a point where my pants were hanging off me. Muscle tone and strength were gone. So, continually working on leg strength now and once baby arrives is key for me.
Also, in the past couple weeks I've been stretched (read: my belly has popped). And the sensation it brings is very bizarre. It's like the pressure of the abdominal cavity is increasing and my skins elasticity is not ready for the stretch. So a dull ache. Extended side angle pose is fantastic for stretching the areas of my torso that have been under such pressure. *sigh*
Note: That's not me…yet. Nor have I ever seen something like this before!
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.