February 22, 2007

Favorite Asanas

I've started to look forward to yoga asanas (postures). I thought I might write a little bit about that, since this kind of crept up on me. Somewhere in the last few practices it hit me that I was anticipating postures (oh good! we seem to be heading towards Ardha Chandrasana!) or feeling let down when a particular posture was not in the offing.

I am sure its something I need / want to be aware of - another level of letting go in my practice - but I also want to give it voice and honor it.

So let's start out with Ardha Chandrasana - Half Moon Pose. I love the feeling of flying. I love the balance. I love the way my elevated arm is reaching for the sky. I love the challenge of balance, and the challenge of getting in and out of the posture with grace. I love the visual of trying to make the pose align as if I were pressed up against a wall - one of my teachers did that with us once with a partner to push us open and it was wonderfully instructive.

Bakasana - Crow Pose. I'm not a petite thing. So to support the weight of my body on my hands is a BIG DEAL for me. Many of the arm balances are out of reach right now. And Crow is one of the first postures that I ran into that was completely inaccessible, but which has become accessible - I can almost always get up into it, its mostly a matter of how precise my posture is, and how long I can hold it. And I am consciously working to get my knees up under my arms (I started with them pressed into the side of my arms). Crow is posture where today I can measure my progress, see my growth.

Triangle Pose - Utthita Trikonasana - is always fun. Being long of bone, I love to feel my body pulled in different directions. I love the open your heart feeling. I love "spreading my wings", an image some instructors have implanted. Similarly, Vasisthasana (Side Plank Pose) makes me feel strong and long and yearning. I love the moments, waiting in high plank, for the words "move your right hand to the center of the mat and roll open". The anticipation of the opening, the unfolding, is delicious.

Pigeon Pose and Downward Facing Frog are both challenging poses for me - because my hips are not easily or comfortably open. But when we move into them in a hot practice, when I am all opened and limber, these poses take me deeply into myself. I always look forward to them, but especially when they come late in a practice, a surrender of sorts.

Finally, Urdhva Dhanurasana - Wheel Pose. It's my edge right now, related to body weight and arm strength. I've gotten up into it, unassisted, perhaps twice so far - when a combination of energy, strength, and practice have come together. I had popped up into it a few times with some assistance from a teacher who lent her ankles. And I get partially up into it most of the time - yearning, pushing, practicing.

And as I write this, I see 4 or 5 other postures I really like, really want to write about. I guess the fact that so many of these postures work for me, are filled with joy, is why I am a yogi. As they say, there are worse things to be addicted to!

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