When I first took Vinyasa classes, we would cycle through Sun Salutations and sometimes build to challenging poses but I don’t ever remember doing arm balances. When I moved over to Bikram yoga, I repeated the same 26 postures and two breathing exercises every time. It wasn’t until recently, when I came back to Vinyasa, that I was introduced to arm balances. The first one I tried was Crow Pose. It seemed impossible to me then and to be honest it is something that eludes me now.
But it opened my eyes to a whole new world of yoga poses – and the challenges I have participated in on Instagram have allowed me to practice at home (or at work!) rather than just in class. Honestly, I like them because they are fun. Some look insane, some look easy but are impossible. They have many benefits but what I love the most is that they ask for balance and strength and flexibility.
Above is Flying Pigeon – a pose I found trolling Yoga Journal one day. I am concentrating so heavily on getting my toe off the floor without smashing my face in to the ground, I don’t even notice how much work my arms are doing! Strengthening my arms in a pose I like makes poses I dislike (Chatruanga Dandasana) that much easier. I’m not practicing yoga in preparation for a fitness challenge or anything. I am practicing because I like it, because it is fun, because it asks me to do things I didn’t think possible, because it connects me with people.
I’m not sure how many of these are yoga and how many are acrobatics or gymnastics or who knows – but who cares?! This looks fun too – Flying Baby Pigeon Pose. Will have to try that one tomorrow, post it to Instagram.