Virabhadrasana II (Warrior 2) was my favorite pose for many years. I refused to stay in it for long periods of time. Warrior 1 is a favorite of mine. I am an internal rotator, not an external rotator. However, when it came time to hold Warrior 2 for a longer period of time, I was frustrated, angry, and a bit rebellious. I would come in and out as I wished.
I started teaching themed classes over time with the energy of Warrior 1 being, “I am HERE” and Warrior Two Pose being, “I am TAKING AIM at MY GOALS. DREAMS. AND VISIONS.” And, lo and behold, the lessons I was teaching quickly became my mantra. I have fallen in love with Warrior 2! I sit still and look at my body. I find both strength (Sthira), and sweetness (Sukha). I look out from my middle finger and focus on my goals, dreams, and visions. I see myself achieving them!
Hanumanasana – Splits pose
Take it one day at a Time
Hanumanasana is the pose that has taught me the most. It is possible to do strength poses such as handstand with willpower and determination. However, Hanumanasana requires flexibility that cannot be forced.
You have to be open to surrendering, be kind, patient and loving to your body. Splits are extremely difficult anatomically because they require flexible hip flexors and flexible hamstrings. My mind’s stability has been challenged by the anxiety I felt while breathing through Hanumanasana. Physically, the intense sensations I have felt has made it difficult for me to hold the pose and allow the sensations to ease. After a decade of physical practice, I’m amazed at the changes in my body. Hanumanasana is something I have come to love and accept. I practice it every day and I am grateful for the many lessons it has given me.
- EkhartYoga members have the opportunity to practice Hanumanasana together with MacKenzie in her class Post Travel: refreshed
Savasana – Corpse pose
How to “be”
It was torture to be asked to lie down in yoga class for the first time. The energy from the postures and movement became restless. I felt extremely irritable and full of hatred for the teacher and environment. I also had this strange feeling of discomfort behind the eyes.
The teacher noticed that I was still touching my forehead, and asked me to “lay still”. The discomfort that I felt transformed into an intense sense of interconnectedness as a result. If I could have left, I would have likely gone for a walk, eaten some food, or vented my frustration to another person in the ashram. But, it was too painful and I had to keep going. It allowed my forehead sensation to intensify and I now understand that this was insight development and the beginnings a ‘witness” state that lasted for quite some time. It took me several hours to feel in my body again, and the rest of the day I floated around in ‘yoga bliss.
Savasana has been teaching me since then how to deal with my uneasy feelings, how not to do anything, and how to ‘be’. This is why Yoga Nidra and this pose are my specialties. It’s amazing to think that laying on the ground could be so difficult. !
- EkhartYoga members can practise James’ Yoga Nidra program: Yoga Nidra: Effortless Awakening
I vividly recall the terror I felt when my teacher said that we were “moving out mats to the wall to invert”. This phrase would paralyze me with fear, and I would search for a million excuses to not do them.
That fear is still a mystery to me. I kept practicing yoga, and I finally went to class. I was excited when my teacher said we would be doing inversions. I turned around and put my hands on to the ground.
The teacher helped me to stand up, and I was able to do a handstand. After years of dragging out inversions moments, it was when I stopped thinking about them that I finally turned it upside down.
The lesson was trust. Trust that your body can do greater than you think. It taught me to trust my body and to stop overthinking things. I love inversions!
- EkhartYoga members have the opportunity to practice inversions with Adela. Basics of Yoga: Inversions Hatha/ Vinyasa flow, 45 minutes, all levels
Simhasana in the Iyengar Style
This pose is similar to Lotus pose but with your legs below instead of the above. It was taught to me by Eddie Modestini in 2003. It opened my hips and my threshold for pain/sensation in many ways. The cross point at the inner side of the shin is an Acupressure Point. Gentle manipulation of the hip joint’s femur bone can make Lotus pose more accessible if it is muscle tension that is holding you back, rather than bone compression. The hip, ankle and knee benefits are great, as well as the stress relieving properties of the stretch with the exhale, and the tongue.
- EkhartYoga members may practice this pose in David’s Garden of Delight class Hatha. All levels, 45 minutes
Hanumanasana – Splits pose
While I have learned many poses, Hanumanasana (Splits pose), also known as the Monkey God pose, is the one that sticks out to me the most. It taught me patience, which was the first lesson. After years of practice, Hanumanasana was the first thing I tried. Even now, it takes a lot of preparation. The second lesson was that it is important to prepare the mind and body. I was afraid of hurting myself for a long time and was often “stuck” on the mat. Only after I let go my fear, I was able to move into full-body pose and reap the many benefits. It was great! I felt so happy. Hanumanasana taught me another lesson. Not to take anything for granted. This pose will one day feel amazing, empowering, and uplifting. It might feel the exact opposite the next day. The most important thing is to continue getting on the mat with a smile, and without any expectations.
Sukhasana- Easy pose
Examine, understand, illuminate, and transcend
Because of my physical limitations, my first instinct was to say “anypose on my hands”, because all hand balance poses are and will continue to be difficult for me. Although that’s true, Sukhasana is the one pose that really teaches me. This is the only pose I do when I meditate. This pose has helped me feel happy, fulfilled, grateful, and bursting with love.
It is the most basic and difficult pose to hold, no matter what, to be present, let go, look, understand, illuminate, and transcend. This is the pose that I always learn something new every day, and it’s also the one I can’t live without.
- EkhartYoga members have two options for meditation with Anat in Get to know your Svadhisthana Chakra – Hatha/Meditation all levels, 45 minutes
Adho Mukha Vrksasana – Handstand
Refusing to accept judgment
This pose has been my favorite for years. I’ve tried it many times, but have never been able stand up in the middle of a room. Handstand was my first attempt at yoga. I fell on my head and was completely unprepared the first time I attempted it. This may have been the mistake that got me off to the wrong start with this pose. It is a great pose that I enjoy and I have learned how to stand without a wall. However, I still need to be able to see the wall behind me.
This pose is something I’ve learned and continue to learn from practicing. My Handstands feel floppy and weak if I’m not strong in my core. Sometimes the pose feels almost effortless when I am patient and well prepared. However, I’ve learned and am still learning that practice is about my feelings, thoughts, and expectations. Handstand still makes me think about the judgments that I made 15 years ago. These judgments are becoming more and more difficult to see and I’m learning to accept them. Friends coming to visit!