February Flexibility Challenge (Week Two)

The above photo was taken at the end of a posture clinic given by Beach Yoga Girl – one of the hosts of said challenge. The people on either side of me are lining up to take a photo with her – for Instagram. I took her clinic today (Saturday) and Friday. After Friday’s class I took a photo with her but didn’t post it – seemed a bit much. Or rather, just not my style. She spoke a lot about how people push themselves farther in to postures than their bodies are ready for just to take a photo for Instagram. The ego is a powerful thing! These challenges are fun but certainly not worth an injury.

Day 8: Eka Pada Sirsasana (foot-behind-the-head pose) is something I could very easily do once upon a time. This is one of those postures where I am forced to admit that yes, my body has changed over time. That said, I practiced the day before and was almost there. And I pushed a little too much in said practice and was unable to get anywhere near the actual pose when the time came to take a photo. But that’s fine. Yoga is not about challenges and photos, it’s about the journey. And on day 8, my journey took me to the prep pose and no further.

Day 9: Tortoise Pose took me on the opposite journey. I was sure that I would never be able to do this posture. I have tried before and couldn’t begin to make it work. But this time around, I decided to rid my mind of “can’t” and instead, break the posture down in to its parts – I can get my legs to a 90° angle, I can get my belly on the floor for separate leg stretching, I can get my arms behind my knees in wide legged stretch. Let’s see what happens if we put it all together? Bam! Success!

Day 10: Inverted Staff Pose exposes the heart but for me it exhibits, once again, my lack of core strength. Leg strength, check. Flexibility, check. The core strength necessary to both keep my feet from sliding away from my body and my upper-body perpendicular to the ground? Nope, not even a little bit. Add it to the list of postures that need work. It is fun, though.

Day 11: Warrior III is now and always will be one of my favorites. The combination of strength, balance and concentration necessary for this posture is like every single you need to practice yoga in one posture. You can never master this posture – it will be different every day. And the power you feel coming out of it – Warrior lives up to its name.

Day 12: When I was in middle school (or junior high school as we call it in NYC) I could do a Full Split easy as pie – I could even bend back, grab my foot and touch it to my head. No more. But I can still do a split, which is nice.

Day 13: Partridge Pose was hard – another one, like Warrior III, that asks for balance, flexibility and core strength. Starting in side plank, which is hard enough, you then have your foot behind you and your arm over your head and I am usually not one for props but I had to cheat a little to get in to this one. That said, I would love to try it again after a Bikram class when I am super stretched out and warm and see if I can’t get in to it on my own. I was SO close.

Day 14: Pigeon Pose in its many variations can be a lovely stretch to fold in to all the way up to mind numbingly impossible to achieve. I am currently somewhere between the two extremes. Again, something to try after Bikram when I am feeling extra limber. Or at the very least, when it isn’t 8° outside.

Namaste.

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