Updated: Feb 27, 2019
Dancers pose that is!
For a little while I forgot about this pose (I know how that sounds when I'm a yoga teacher) sometimes you are drawn to certain postures and other ones get left behind, then you find them again. You approach each pose that needs a dusting off with a certain unease, the ego kicks in, 'Oh dear, it's been a while since I've done this, it's going to be awful, why didn't I practice more'... ahhh the pressures we put on ourselves even in our own practice. The language we use when our brain is chatting away can often be a little unkind...
So stepping into this pose, I like to remind myself and each class I teach (especially when it comes to balances) that it isn't serious. If you smile and look lightly at your practice, you'll often being able to hold the pose for longer and have more fun doing it... So often, I have witnesses the grey shade of fear trickle across my yogis' faces when we start working on our balances. When I gently say the words it's 'just yoga', they laugh or smile, welcoming the reminder and the relief that it's ok to fall out of a posture and try again!
I'm trying to embrace a less serious approach to my practice, in turn hoping it will filter into my life. As that is why I, we, practice.. to support us through our life.
I love this passage taken from the New Yorker, by a reporter Brendan Gill:
"In fact, not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the argument that life is serious, though it is often hard and even terrible. And saying that, I am prompted to add what follows out of it: that since everything ends badly for us, in the inescapable catastrophe of death, it seems obvious that the first rule of life is to have a good time; and that the second rule of life is to hurt as few people as possible in the course of doing so. There is no third rule."
I don't mean to get all dark, and bring up death, but the man does have a point. Have fun, don't hurt others. It's a pretty spot on way to look at this incredible gift we've been given.
So, why dancers pose?
Physically: Stretches the hamstrings, calves and the quadricep muscles, thus making them more flexible and strong. The hips are toned here with the backbend of the lower back and the thighs. Tone the arms and the shoulders, helping you achieve a better posture too. The chest and the shoulders expand here, thus creating more space for the breath.The entire spine is in action, toning the muscles around it including the neck. The abdominal organs are toned , improving digestion.
Emotionally and Mentally: The is a wonderfully uplifting pose, the heart rising and opening, the connection of the arm and leg can feel powerful, creating a full circle of connection in the body, keeping energy flowing. The act of balancing itself is wonderful for the mind, as we focus on the very present moment of balancing, the mind naturally quietens. You might find that the minute you start thinking about what you're going to have for lunch or your long to-do list, you'll fall out of the posture and wonder 'why!?'.(The amount of times I've collapsed in a posture because of dreams of tea and cake).
The power of falling out and getting back in: It can be frustrating, annoying, upsetting, but this really is where the magic happens, it creates a wonderful sense of achievement and mental strength when we keep on trying again and again and finally find those moments of holding a pose that brings pure joy. It's a valuable tool that we can also use in life, not very often do we experience first time luck, if you want to do something, try something new, you'll have to keep on coming back to it, trying a bit harder, but slowly you'll get to where you need to be.
I am still on this journey, as I try myself to learn more advanced postures, I feel fear, doubt, and want to stick with what I know best. But I am also learning it's ok to ask for help. I have found wonderful teachers in Brighton. I can go to their classes and keep on learning and trying. So maybe, if you want to try something new, reach out, ask for support and help...
And maybe, do a little dance when you find it.