When Yoga and Life Collide
Six months ago my life changed.
One week I was in a relationship and working.
Then I wasn't.
In every 'crisis' we find out how much we can stand. At the very least we learn to stand the rain. Or we learn to love rainy days. Rain makes things grow. This storm brought me yoga. I'd practiced sporadically in the past. No more. Yoga is a part of my life.
I've never been happier. Isn't that always the way?
I practice bikram and vinyasa yoga. Bikram yoga is a practice that's done in 105 degrees. There are 26 postures that are done in the same order each time. The practice becomes a moving meditation.
Dandayamana-dhanurasana or standing bow pose is now my favorite pose in bikram. Standing Bowpose is an example of a “tourniquet” effect, because it transfers fresh blood and oxygen from one side of the body to the other, and then equalizes it. This pose helps develop balance and it firms the abdominal wall and upper thighs and tightens upper arms, hips and buttocks. Most importantly, it helps build patience and determination.
Let me paint a picture. One can see from the pose itself that it requires balance. By this point in the class, you are already warmed up. Your thighs are burning because you have been in Utkatasana. In Utkatasana (which needs to be a whole post alone) you are in chair pose, on your toes and squeezing your knees tight and easing to bent knees. Then, you move in to standing head to knee pose.
So by standing bow as I mentioned, you're pretty tired. But something happens when you get into the position and hold it...
I feel like an archer and the arrow when my chest is lifted. My teachers encourage "Kick back, lift higher, kicker harder with 50-50 strength. You can balance here forever." And lately- it feels like I can.
I'm terrible at staying present in practice (and in life sometimes for that matter)- and when I'm in this position there's an indescribable happiness that rises. A combination of gentle movement on one leg. You've hit the sweet spot when you literally sway almost imperceptibly as your back arches and your toe is over your head. Stretching your heart up to the sky and kicking hard enough that you might spring forward- right at your target.
Until you fall out. It's frustrating. But, you can't think about it. No judgement, just get back on the horse. Do it again. And again.
Hmmm I wonder- it's pleasantly annoying when life and yoga collide. I walk home from class- at first with my teacher and then by myself. My thoughts wander back to the class and standing bow- then to the future...and then sigh, to dating...
I'm not a fan, but noting spectacular happens when you're in your comfort zone.
I'm learning to appreciate the journey.
With this newfound flexibility and strength I'm going to stretch my spirit.
I'll have lots of wacky moments (and bad dates). When I do, I'll simply get back into position and try it again.
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