“Life teaches us the greatest lessons and gives us the best gifts. We may not have control over all the tests, but you can either let the lesson devour or empower you.”
~~ Allyson Partridge
(Photo courtesy of Yoga Journal)
It constantly amazes me how empowering the practice of yoga can be for people. When you truly allow yoga to permeate your mind, body and spirit, it provides you with an inner calm and the ability to stay grounded – no matter what life throws your way.
I’ve had a yoga practice for a number of years – since 1999. But as I look back over the years, I have to be honest…many times (OK, most of the time), I was simply stepping on my mat to get in a good workout and maybe relax a little. While that’s not a TOTALLY bad thing, I certainly wasn’t reaping all the benefits I could from my practice, and eventually, I could feel that something was missing. Especially because the things I was teaching to my students – those concepts that are the philosophy of yoga – were things I wasn’t always doing myself. Talk about feeling like a hypocrite!
However, as I’ve mentioned in many posts recently, I’ve been working really hard over this past year to be more diligent with my practice. And I don’t just mean stepping onto my mat and breaking a good sweat. I’ve incorporated new styles of yoga, regular meditation, and making time to take workshops and connect with other teachers regularly. What a difference this has made for me! The more I do these things, the more grounded I feel. This has allowed me to deal with personal crises with a steadiness I never would have been able to before. Of course, I am by no means perfect in this concept yet – I still have a lot of growing to do in this area. But as I get better and better at managing difficult situations, I feel more empowered to keep taking chances that will benefit my life in the long run.
We’ll be working in class this week on poses that will help cement this concept of connecting to inner calm by staying grounded. We’ll be focusing on standing and balancing poses that develop the muscular action of grounding into the earth through strong legs and rooted feet. Poses such as Mountain Pose (Tadasana), Chair Pose (Utkatasana), Warrior poses, Triangle Pose (Trikonasana), Eagle Pose (Garudasana) and Dancer Pose (Natarajasana).
Triangle Pose is one of my favorites when practicing this concept. It looks deceptively easy, but it’s way more complicated than many think because it involves a large amount of lower body stability and upper body extension, requiring strength and flexibility. When done correctly, there is a complete sense of evenness in the body, which eventually translates into a steady and even mind. And when this happens, it’s easy to see how yoga begins to become part of your life off the mat.
Do you have a favorite yoga pose that helps you feel stable and grounded? One that provides you with that quality of inner calm every time you do it? If so, I’d love to hear about it. What is it about the pose that you love? What aspect of the pose gives you that sense of stability and calmness?
If I don’t see you in class this week, try practicing some of the poses I mentioned above on your own. Take the time to play around with them in order to find the variations that help you achieve that sense of inner calm through stability. Practice these poses enough, and you may find you’re able to face any difficult situation thrown at you with that same sense of steadiness.