Last Sunday we gathered together at Sol Yoga for our first of out five Advance Your Yoga Practice workshop with Ashley, and it was really amazing! I have been working on some postures and stretches on my own (headstand and splits), but it was great to have her lead us through the flows and worked our way into them. I am getting really excited about this Sunday!
So here is one of my first few attempts:
It’s interesting (and a great tool) to see ourselves through lenses, realizing where we need to work on, like my arms are not close enough to my torso when I come down from plank, and that more flexibility is needed in order to straighten the leg and move more fluidly.
Some things that did help:
1. A pose is a goal yet not the end, it’s always a work in progress and there’s always something to learn. Keeping a positive attitude and open heart always helps, instead of forcing yourself into a posture. When things align it’s like a flower blossoming; it will just happen.
2. For me, a lot of it was the flexibility in my hips and hamstrings, so I’ve been working on stretching as well as strengthening for the last few months. What I found especially helpful was the rowing machine, highly recommended for a full body workout. My daily stretching routine always includes: one legged forward fold, full forward fold, seated wide legged forward fold, and of course pigeon. Sometimes the poses we hate the most are exactly what we need to work on, because it’s probably because we are not good at them : )
3. Before bed I take a shower to loosen up the mussels, then lay in bed as I put my legs up again the wall, open up to a “V” shape as much as it’s comfortable, then stay there for 30min or longer reading a book. Be sure to flex the toes towards the shin to keep the mussels engaged, and deep breaths. Gravity does the work to help you stretch your hamstrings and it’s also good for draining out the lactic acid.
4. Last but finally, determination and dedication, aka keeping a schedule and sticking to it. We always hear from our teachers (and I say it to my students too) to live yoga on and off the mat, but how exactly do you do that? Well, it’s not in what we say, but rather how we breathe, how we act, and how we hold ourselves in the world each and everyday that’s truly reflective of who we are.
Happy arm balancing!
Almost forgot another tip is to be brave and look forward with your head (not down), just like in crow pose, and don’t be afraid your head is going to bang on the floor because it won’t : ) Your weight and legs will help balance you out. Also try to keep your arms tucked in close to your torso, a strap will help by binding them at shoulder length apart.