Friday, August 19, 2011

You Want Me To Put My Foot Where?

On those days when I feel up to it and have the time, I’ll do a 45- or 60-minute Vinyasa Flow class on YogaGlo.  At some point during these sessions, I will invariably think or mutter this question as Yogini Lucy Limber effortlessly places her foot behind her head or up in the air and asks me gently to follow suit. Say what?  Oh yes and don’t forget to breathe slowly through your nose into your ribs, keep your shoulders down and eyes soft.  Anything else, Lucy? Would you like me to recite the periodic table and juggle knives as well?

It’s a lot to take in, especially since just about every practice involves a pose I’ve never seen before.  This is not surprising; a recent study by the Government of India identified more than 900 asanas, or poses.  So, even though I’ve been at it now for more than three weeks, its not too surprising that I’m still charting plenty of new territory.

These poses are fascinating.  Not only do they work on very specific muscles and organs, they work on your emotional state.   There are poses for depression and anxiety, poses for stress, even yoga poses for anger.  In fact, its not uncommon for certain poses to evoke strong emotions and cause tears on the mat.  I think of each of these as an excavation mission, digging out emotions that are deeply buried. And you don’t have to spend one conscious second on this side of the practice.  Focus on the poses (and breathing into your belly button, opening your third eye, yada yada) and the rest takes care of itself.

I think the key to enjoying – and sticking with - yoga is to find a style you enjoy and work at your own pace. Every body is different and brings with it its own idiosyncrasies and history.   And if you practice every day, you’ll find that each day’s session can feel different to you, and that’s okay too. 

I haven’t talked to you in a few days, but practices this week have been mostly Vinyasa and Anusara and mostly 30 minutes/day.  Some poses are getting easier and others are just as challenging.  The half moon pose in particular continues to frustrate.  Some days it’s fairly easy (i.e. mostly doable without grasping the side of the coffee table or falling over) and others it’s only somewhat easy on one side and impossible on the other.  Thank you coffee table, for being my support during this pose this week. 

Days completed:  25
Days to go:  75

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