it is compact, core-power, strengthens the arms & wrists, and it makes me feel like i’m flying!
it’s so much fun!
for me, arm balances make me feel like i’m a kid again… learning how to ride a bike: trying, falling, picking myself up, dusting myself off & going at it – over and over again until i get it. yeap! i am persistent. i am determined. i am resilient. what can i say? i love a challenge.
it’s not about the destination. it’s all about the journey and the process.
…this can probably be said about one’s yoga practice in general, but for me, it becomes especially apparent in my arm balances & inversions. personally, my strong asanas (poses) typically involve one or both of my feet on the floor… they are my strengths simply because i feel the most comfortable in them. but, then again, what i love most about my yoga practice is that i face my fear head on. i might not overcome it right away, but i am aware it exists, and little by little i’ll whittle the fear away. in a yoga practice, progress is inevitable, especially if you remain dedicated.
the first time i attempted to get into bakasana (crow pose), i couldn’t even get my feet off the ground. my core strength was non-existent and my arms were like jell-o. i think i face-planted at least 20 times before i was air born (so to speak). in that process alone, i’ve learned how to fall slowly, safely, gracefully even… hey, falling is an art in itself. ask the klutzes in your life. i used my strengths in my practice to help me to improve my weaknesses, discovered the core in essentially every pose i practiced, and continued to fall out of bakasana until i finally flew!
bakasana was my gateway pose, similar to how a couple hits of maryjane can lead to a whole mish mash of other illegal activity in misguided individuals. (bad comparison, i know, but it’s the first thing i thought of when using the word gateway). bakasana has unlocked this constant curiosity to explore my practice, unleashed a love for all things arm balancing, and added a fun factor to my practice. i love when teachers include arm balances into their sequences, and i love integrating them into mine, too! whenever i try something new, i clear my mind of any preconceived notions or expectations, fighting the temptation to psych myself out, because that just leads to graceful falling. i’ve even opened up to inversions, specifically tripod headstand, which has been my biggest fear so far. i am happy to report that i’ve already made huge leaps and bounds since starting to practice my tripod headstand in the beginning of the year! someday… i’ll be solid.
as i explore deeper into my practice, i’ve found that sometimes i hit these sweet spots where everything is in perfect harmony: flexibility is on, breath is calm & steady, and the strength is just on point – bam! i get into a pose like it’s nobody’s business & can hold it there for days. i’m on cloud 9 – euphoria! …granted, on any given day, i may or may not find it, but still, i know it exists! i realize that my body is different every time i step on my mat – as is everyone’s. gotta love the way the body works…
always a work in progess…
afterall, how fun would it be if we could do every single pose perfectly the first time around?
enjoy the journey of your practice, relish in the moment & say hello, to crow!
Kristin Strong Vinyasa teaches at Planet Granite Sunnyvale on Saturdays at 4:30pm. You can visit her blog at http://kristinbibat.wordpress.com/.