I was looking for a challenge. Most of my yoga practice has been 60 minutes or less lately so in my infinite wisdom, I opted for the 80 minute class this week.
Whoa - was I blown away!
My yoga endurance has declined. Likely around the 60 minute mark, I was pooped. But I persevered for my favourite part, corpse pose or savasana!
As with many sessions on the mat, I was asked to set an intention from the start. I’ve been feeling a bit jammed up lately and needed my body to be a little less robotic and a little more free. Thus, fluidity was my choice.
Note: read whatever you’d like into my choice of intentions. I admit it probably reflects other dimensions of myself as well. I need more fluidity in my thoughts and emotions lately too! Not just in my physical body.
Interestingly enough, the teacher Tracey Noseworthy, talked about where she works, Jala Yoga and how it means water. The visual movement of water aligned perfectly with what I wanted from this practice.
As I began with a new teacher again this week, I was anticipating a vigorous session. I basked in the introduction as Tracey encouraged a practice of Sukha, “happiness, ease and joy”. Was I ready for what lay ahead?
Well, sort of.
This practice pushed my limits as I alluded to already. The start was faster paced than I’ve been use to lately. My breath was too long for each pose, so I had to adapt. As I quickened my breath, I began to feel heat but was regularly reminded to smile during practice!
I fell into the pace and started to move in to many poses. The sequencing of the poses was unique and different. Not similar to any of the “regular” routines I was use to on the mat. The variety was so welcomed. I can’t speak more highly of this practice sequence. So much to write about but I've chosen only one pose to focus on this week.
Upward Bow Pose.
My work was almost done on the mat when upward bow pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana) was added to the mix. As Tracey cued the positioning, I knew where I was headed. The quiet, critical voice in my head quickly started to ramble that I couldn’t do it. The fatigue of the practice felt too much and I wondered if I would make it.
The pose is the ultimate in back bends. It places the spine into extension whereby the hands and feet are the only supports. It is an amazing hip and chest opener that stimulates the thyroid and pituitary as well as the fourth and fifth chakras.
So did I make it?
Tracey cued to first press up slowly, lifting the hips, as I placed my cervical spine into extension with the crown of my head on the floor. Then powering up with the arms, pressing up into the final position with the hips lifted higher. I followed suit. And I did it!
When my body was settled back onto the mat, I was engulfed with energy and a flood of emotion.
I thought that was it. Yet, Tracey cued a second AND third round of upward bow pose. With each attempt, I had to silence that little voice telling me I can’t.
In the end as I rested on the mat, I reflected on that little voice. Where are you coming from?
This pose is reminiscent of a past physical activity, that at the time, I felt fairly incompetent at. What activity is that? Gymnastics. As a young 5 year old, I already had a complex about all the things I couldn’t do from gymnastics class. This position was one of them.
The emotional rush that overcame me during and after the pose, can be a result of “mastering my inner voice” but also seeing how both ease and power can work together so well. As I am still a student of chakras, I also found via some research that opening the fourth and fifth chakras (heart and throat) can also increase emotional growth, confidence and self-esteem.
Challenge achieved. Yes.
Intention achieved. Yes.
I look forward to taking another 80 minutes to repeat this practice as I have so much more to learn from it and then write about!
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.