Did that title throw you off a little?
I guess it depends how you define beautiful. In the big picture, everything is beautiful. Every emotion we feel, every mistake we make, every time we cry, everything we eat, from poverty to wealth, from birth and death – Everything is beautiful. The whole process is beautiful because it makes us who we are. What’s REAL IS beautiful.
It’s scary to reveal the imperfect side of yourself to others. I’m not sure why we live in a society where we feel like we always have to be perfect and be better and more successful than the next person, but somehow those qualities become instilled in us as we grow up.
As part of my new years resolutions, I committed to making sure I always did my full practice so that I do not avoid any underlying issues, and work on the postures that have been challenging me. I’ve been mostly consistent. Pasasana (noose posture) has been an ongoing struggle, and as a yoga teacher, I’m also always a student. As part of my teachings, I think it’s important to show my students and readers how I work with these challenges. It’s rare to go through a picture feed on Facebook and Instagram and see pictures of yogis struggling with postures. Most people (me included) post pictures and video of all of the postures they can do perfectly, and then get these comments like: “wow, amazing, so graceful, stunning.‘
Yoga is not about being pretty or perfect – it’s about being real. A practitioner should embrace the struggles and challenges. Besides, it’s the challenges where yoga really does the work. We can do postures that are easy to us and look graceful all day, but all that would do is feed my ego, which I’m trying to detach from in yoga. That’s a lot of work to undo!
Pasasana is the first posture in the intermediate series of the Ashtanga Yoga Practice. It’s keeping me on my toes for sure! Read below and watch the video to see what I mean…
What’s happening in Pasasana:
A. Deep Twisting & Squat (Your twisting your shoulder towards the opposite hip)
B. Deep internal rotation of shoulder that’s reaching around the knees.
C. Deep external rotation of the opposite shoulder reaching back and down. You have to keep the other shoulder in the deep internal rotation as you deeply externally rotate this one.
D. Balance as you twist and lengthen the back of your heels as you flatten them to the ground
E. Lifting and opening of the chest to help rotate the arm and shoulder. This also works in conjunction with twisting at the hips and the spine.
F. I have found that I have to squeeze my knees together very tight and even use the arm that’s reaching around my knees to squeeze my legs together. If I don’t grasp tight with the arm, I fall off.
I have two big challenges in Pasasana:
1. Balancing: I can’t drop my heels to the ground, and because of this, I tend to start to fall forward. You’ll see this in the video. My first side of trying to bind hands, I couldn’t even hold for five breaths because I couldn’t balance. My balance is better on the right side.
2. Externally Rotating the shoulder of the arm that reaches back and down: The hands are supposed to cling together around my back, but when I twist, I can’t bind the hands together. This is because I have to really let go and externally rotate the shoulder of the arm that comes out of the twist.
In order to bind, you have to twist really deep all while keeping balance. Sometimes when I get to the point of deep twisting, I start to fall forward. So, my focus is on grounding and control. Sometimes I roll up the front of my mat to set my heels for a deeper focus on twisting. I make sure to always practice both ways so I don’t lose focus of the other elements of the posture.
UPDATE: Progress in Pasasana Part 2 here!
Notes: I have bound in the past, but it was only on the right side. It’s never been often or consistent. I also am now able to internally rotate my shoulder as I cling it onto my knees when before that was a challenge.
I am going to update my YouTube Channel every week, and also post quick videos on Facebook to show how progress fluctuates in postures and the changes that I become aware of in my body and mind!
Please keep checking my youtube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/user/monicadstone
I’ll also post short videos to Instagram at: http://instagram.com/theyogimovement
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What’s your current problem posture? How do you work through the difficult times?