February Flexibility Challenge (Week Three)

Said it before, saying it again – I love the variety of postures and with that the variety of experiences that these challenges bring. I wasn’t going to do the March challenge – it’s a handstand progression challenge. I just feel like handstands are out of reach for me right now. Then I came to day 21 of this challenge – I tried something I didn’t think possible at all and hey, look at that – I can do it! So maybe I’ll do the March handstands… We’ll see. For now, we are in week three of the flexibility challenge:

Day 15: Urdhva Dhanurasana/Upward Facing Bow/Full Wheel is a posture that I need to work on. But I honestly didn’t know how much work it needed until I started my blog. In Bikram, we do every posture in front of a big mirror but that isn’t the case with Vinyasa. Taking pictures (or videos) of myself has helped me see what my body is doing and as a result, know where my postures need correcting. It also helps to have a friend watch me do the posture while looking at an image of how the posture is meant to be done. All this to say, take a picture of yourself from time to time. It’s wild how wrong you can be about what your own body is up to. And wheel has SO MANY BENEFITS, it’s worth the work.

Day 16: Dhanurasana or Bow Pose, how I hate you. I try and try but just can’t progress with this posture. I feel like it exposes all of my weaknesses – my lack of core strength is especially evident in my inability to get my chest up off the ground. And my bad knee makes it so hard for me to get both legs up evenly, get them up high and get them up without kicking my legs out to the side. Ugh.

Day 17: Purvattanasana or Reverse Table Top is a great heart opener. If you click on that link, you will see Kino MacGregor walk you through the posture and explain its benefits. It is a favorite of mine because it stretches the legs, opens the heart and strengthens the arms all at once.

Day 18: Vrschikasana or Scorpion Handstand is something I am still working on. I can’t do it in handstand without using the wall – and then I feel like I get farther in to the posture than my body is ready for. Somedays I can do it in forearm stand. I haven’t tried yet with a supported headstand. It is an amazing combination of a stretch for the front body and a balancing pose – even moreso than the basic inversions in that you aren’t straight up and down so you have to really engage your core muscles to keep yourself from falling over in to wheel.

Day 19: Shalabhasana or Locust Pose is something I have only ever tried in Bikram where the dialogue has you put your arms under your body which makes this an entirely different thing all together. For this challenge, we were allowed to put our arms in different positions which allowed me to get my legs farther off the ground. Still can’t get them all the way up and over to touch my head but that’s cool. Yoga is about the journey not the destination.

Day 20: Upavistha Konasana or Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend is a posture that generally comes easily to me. Of course, this winter has been horrible and this week in particular was tough on me as far as getting in any exercise goes so I had to work for this one. But it’s so worth the stretch to the inner thighs.

Day 21: Laghuvajrasana or Little Thunderbolt: Oddly, while Camel is one of my favorite postures, I have never tried to go deeper in to the pose. I just assumed it wasn’t available to me. And yet there I was, with my forearms on the floor. I have a long way to go but it did convince me that maybe I should try for the March challenge and see if I can add handstands to my practice.

Just one week to go in this challenge – some tough ones coming up.
Happy Saturday – and namaste.

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