OK, so by now y’all know that I have an addiction called yoga that I love to talk about (hey, there could be worse things). As I mentioned in my post Down Dog Dilemma and my other yoga posts, I kinda fell into yoga, and this awesome practice could not have come at a better time. I feel like every couple months I am shedding skin and learning so much about life and myself. The other day I was thinking about yoga and reflecting on what one of my teachers said in class about the poses in yoga.
My teacher put it beautifully that yoga poses are just shapes and not about how deep or advanced a pose you can or can’t achieve. Just SHAPES!!
Yet in yoga every time I practice I strive to further my practice, refine and push myself deeper into poses in order to achieve these interesting shapes. Just when I think I “achieve” a pose, there are further twists, balances and variations that remind me that this practice is a journey; you never get “there” and you can always work on something. And the most amazing part for me is that the beauty of this journey is when you let go and let the pose just happen, one day you find yourself in that crazy shape! This is my OMG, “look at me mom” moment. Gosh, such joy from moving deeper into a pose!
Chaturanga (pushup): Pushups are actually sexy! Chaturanga is a building block in yoga. No chaturanga = no crow/tripod/ etc. Oh, and hello to that tricep that I now have! Bring out the guns and Michelle Obama arms!!!
Sirsasana 1 (headstand 1): You can do anything that you don’t tell you mind that you can’t do aka don’t psyche yourself out and just do it! For me, this sirsasana 1 has taught me how to push deeper into poses with complete body control using core strength, balance, and of course self-belief.
Sirsasana 2 (headstand 2): If I can do Sirsasana 1 and stand on my head, I can do Sirsasana 2, right?? NOPE. This shape took a little while to learn and even more time to believe in myself. Of course all those chaturangas helped! Bottom line: lay the foundation and it will come.
Paschimottanasana (seated forward fold): This probably is my favorite pose. Although not as interesting looking as other shapes, the surrender that “Paschimo” requires and the release that I get coming out of the pose is AMAZING. My body feels so juicy (ok, I know this sounds weird). But when you completely surrender, good things can happen!
Adho Mukha Vrksasana (handstand): Wait, I thought this was yoga and not gymnastics?! No seriously, I practice handstands in yoga (an probably every place I can find space to invert myself…handstands is my planking). The alignment and control that this pose requires, your whole body needs to be working together and in sync. Then there is the OMG moment that I just stuck a handstand in class for the first time…eeek! [Perfect] Practice makes Perfect! Key word here is PRACTICE.
Adho Mukha Svanasana (down dog): Even when you resting, you are working. This shape is also another building block in yoga, and it is imperative to learn how to do it correctly so you do not hurt yourself. Basically, build your foundation with the right materials!
Agnistambhasana (double pigeon/ fire log): Well, when you sit at a desk for hours upon hours, your hips are not your best friend. This pose for me is about getting the gunk out out of my hips and opening/releasing all that tension built up in there. Clean house and take care of your hips, and the other shapes will magically unfold!!
Urdhva Dhanurasana (wheel): Well, you must think that I love every pose…but wheel for some reason wheel does not do it for me. But I have learned that sometimes you just gotta suck it up and do it, AND keep an open mind. Hmmm, sounds like this shape is applicable to the real world…
I could go on and on, but I will spare y’all of my loquacious nature. So wrapping this all up…
The magic and beauty of all of these poses aka shapes is that they work together and balance each other out. It is not about one or two or three shapes, but about the state of flow that we find ourselves in during our practice while moving through all of these shapes. It does not matter if one shape is simple and another looks “sexier” (i.e. child’s pose vs scorpion). After all, they are just SHAPES and that feeling of flow that is what we are truly after.