During my Yoga class on Saturday, I was in a good space within myself, feeling focused, strong and mindful as we moved from one asana to the next. This class is for beginners, and most of the poses are not new to me. However, what is new, is the needed attention on alignment of my body in these poses. In each class, I am made aware of this with one pose or another. That is the beauty and the journey of Yoga for me, this new awareness of my body and my mind working together in a new way.
The challenge in this particular class came during the practice of Ardha Chandrasana , the Half Moon. I have done this asana many times in my home practice… where no one was watching.
In class I easily moved my body into the pose and held it. I held it for a long time while the teacher moved about helping the other students with their alignment. When he came to me, I was still in the pose, so he used me as an example. An example of how NOT to do it. He gently pulled my hips so they were stacked on top of one another, (which I thought they were) and pulled my shoulder back so it was also aligned with my torso. I felt like I was going to fall over but he was right behind me, holding me up. Once he backed away and I was on my own, this pose felt right, but also very new. I mentally understood what I had been doing wrong, but had been practicing in that way for so long that my body struggled with the new (correct alignment). It was no longer an easy asana.
Just a micro movement in my hips and shoulder made all the difference in both attaining the physical form of Half Moon, but also in my mind. I barely had to focus before in this pose, and now, it takes so much more energy, emotionally, mentally and physically.
One student asked if we could use the wall to practice. The wall is an enourmous floor to ceiling piece of plywood with straps hanging all over it. Being new to this studio, I had no idea what it was for, so I was excited when the teacher invited us towards it. While other students used the straps to hold for balance to get into Half Moon, the teacher had me practice the pose while flattening myself against the wall. As I pushed my shoulders and hips back, using the wall to allow myself to be grounded, I really felt the position. I understood the correct alignment and felt happiness as I turned my head to look up towards the “sky.”
I was in Adrah Chandrasana. The teacher glanced at me and nodded, Thats all. A micro acknowledgment that I had achieved correct posture and alignment. I kept my face still, but inside I was smiling in a huge way.
Now, comes the challange to practice off of the wall. So many micro lessons.
*Image courtesy of Google Images