4 Yoga Poses That Changed My Life

June 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

The other week I saw an article on the Yoga Journal Facebook page titled 4 Yoga Poses That Changed My Life.  It made me start thinking about which ones changed my life at this point in my practice.  Like everything in yoga (and life) this is a constantly evolving and changing thing, but I have had many recent breakthroughs in yoga lately.  My practice has gotten so much stronger in the past year alone.  My body never ceases to amaze me.  All I really do at this point in time as far as physical activity is concerned is yoga and running.  The physical strength I have gained from yoga alone is pretty tremendous and the mental strength is possibly one of the few things keeping me (somewhat) sane.  I never hesitate to tell people to try yoga, though many still find it to be a bit absurd.

Here is my current list of yoga poses that changed my life:

  1. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog) – The moment this seemingly simple pose changed my life is when it really began to felt like a resting pose.  For years when I was extremely out-of-shape, overweight, and not practicing consistently I did not understand how this could possibly be a resting pose as it pained me to stay still in it for more than a few seconds.  Now I find that I never want to move once in it.  I can focus on my breath and regroup.  Once I became aware of this shift I really felt like I had become a much stronger yogi both mentally and physically.
  2. Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose) – Chaturanga Dandasana was once my mortal enemy.  I could never see the day where I wouldn’t be suffering through each and every one.  Often I would pretend I was actually transitioning into the pose when really I was just sort of plopping down on my stomach.  Other times I couldn’t even pretend.  Sometime earlier this year that all changed for me. I began to notice that I could make it through a full class doing every single one as properly as possible.  Now I actually look forward to flowing through Chaturanga because it makes me feel so strong.  This is one of the poses that truly makes me realize how very far I have come.
  3. Tittibhasana (Firefly Pose) – This is on my list for reasons very similar to the author of the original article.  Arm balances are by far the weakest part of my practice, and therefore have always been the ones that I have dreamt of being able to do the most.  One of the first books on yoga that I ever purchased is Baron Baptiste’s Journey Into Power : How to Sculpt Your Ideal Body, Free Your True Self, and Transform Your Life With Yoga.  On the cover he is in Bakasana (Crane Pose).  This has been one of my main goal poses in yoga and it still somewhat eludes me.  At this point I am not sure if it is more a balance or positioning issue, but I still can’t hold it for more than mere seconds without collapsing.  So the day that I discovered I could do Firefly pose I was extremely surprised.  Now that I know the mechanics of it a bit better I can understand why this arm balance is a better fit for where I currently am, as my flexibility has always been strong and my core strength has vastly improved.  I still have a way to go with this pose, but lifting myself off the ground with my arms gives me such a rush and I feel that same confidence that the author speaks of.  I remember doing this in gymnastics class when much younger and to be able to find that strength again all of these years later is quite amazing.
  4. Salamba Sarvangasana (Supported Shoulderstand) – This pose came to me sometime last year, but still stands out as one of the poses that changed my practice simply because for years I was much to heavy to get myself into it.  I could never get my legs past a certain point, which always made me feel rather pathetic and defeated.  I know there are various reasons why people struggle with this pose, but I knew that for me it was directly related to my weight.  Therefore, it was another goal pose of mine.  I simply wanted to be light enough and strong enough to lift my lower body into the air with ease.  So for that reason, this pose was a major milestone for me.

Of course I now have new sets of asanas to conquer, while I continue to let all the others evolve.  Maybe I will do a post on my current goal poses, though for now my big thing seems to be having the strength and courage to do headstand, handstand, and forearm stand without assistance from the wall or an instructor.

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