Advancing Your Asana
The physical challenge of my yoga practice keeps me present. When my muscles are firing off and I’m working hard to balance or find a new degree of flexibility, my mind becomes more focused and the stresses of my day are nowhere to be found. While some yogis feel arms balances like side crow, and full inversions like handstand, take them out of their peaceful space, I find that they offer me a rarely achieved sense of grounding.
If you haven’t yet tried these advanced postures and believe that you have a mind best quieted through physical challenge, you may want to try a Hatha II or Vinyasa Flow II class. In these classes, your instructor will teach you, step-by-step, how to work into asanas like headstand and crow pose. While these poses might appear suitable only for gymnasts and Cirque du Soleil performers, they really just require a little bit of strength and a good bit of courage. If you put trust in yourself and in your teacher, and release your expectations, these poses are incredibly achievable.
The comments I love hearing most from students are: “I can’t believe I did that!”; and “That was the first time I was able to balance in X pose!” Yoga can offer us more peaceful minds and at the same time, it can provide us newfound confidence and a child-like playfulness. Balancing on your hands, flipping upside down, and even tumbling to the ground can be a whole lot of fun. — Michelle Laxton