Urdhva Padmasana – one of my favorite postures, as it combines inversion, stretch and balance. The pressure at the thyroid brings my attention up and the posture as such allows some fine tuning in the entire body until feeling steady.
Each time you reach this state of steadiness and ease, it feels like arrived. The posture feels stable, easy and makes me wonder why it was such an effort to reach this state. It’s the same for most postures that don’t come naturally. The moment headstand felt like this, I thought, finally, I’m there. Wrong. Totally wrong. An injury threw me out of my practice and inversions moved far away. Once again. Nothing is for granted only because you were there once. Insecurity and mistrust in my body instead. I know this by now and I also know it’s just a matter of slowly getting back. Accepting the weakness through injury, building up step by step. No doubts, but patience. Consistency. Forgiving. Learning. Benevolence. Trust. Ease. And back you are.
Once the body is back, it doesn’t mean the posture can be easily accessed. And no way to push yourself. It’s the mind that need to follow!
I remember quite well when I heard this for the first time; it was in my teacher training and my only thought was: now she (my teacher) lost her mind.
I was sweating my heart out, my concentration at a peak, my muscles sore, my entire body a mess of tension. Ease? Really? I rather felt like made of concrete, ease was a term I wasn’t even dreaming of!
It took some time to get an idea of what this means, to find steadiness and same time ease in a posture. Stability and consistency without effort. When holding a posture, while being in correct alignment, there’s a certain moment when it feels just easy, almost like a relief! This is ease.
The best postures to understand the concept of steadiness and ease for me are headstand and handstand. There is this moment, when all of a sudden you feel weightless, your body is in every detail in the right alignment. As if you can stay forever in this posture, almost levitating.
This happens when it all comes together: concentration and an inward view through drishti (focus point), proper ujjayi breath, stability through activating the bandhas and correct alignment. For me it’s additionally about not thinking how to do a pose, but just do it.
Then your yoga starts.
Did you know, it’s named after the sage, Marichi, which means “ray of light” – isn’t it beautiful?
It is said to stimulate and calm the brain, while stretching the spine and shoulders. As one leg is placed in half lotus, it stimulates the colon and massages the abdominal organs, such as the liver and kidneys. Marichyasana B is associated with the manipura chakra and such a great posture for taking the attention and focus inwards.
These are the facts, however, for me it’s a pose to release. There are many different things to feel, a deep stretch here, a bit of pressure there, and I can feel my body slowly accepting and releasing. I’m facing steadiness and ease like in no other posture. Rather easy, but same time complex due to the combination of half lotus and binding.
Honestly, the only asana I breathe extra slow and sometimes I find myself counting and counting…. oh 5, yeah, it was 5 breath…. 🙂
Parivrtta Trikonasana — twisting, balancing, steady and comfortable. The union of sthira and sukha, effort and ease, hard and soft, expanding and contracting, ascending and descending, solar and lunar.
The moment you plant your hand next to your foot, you feel fully grounded. While same time your other arm reach up, your gaze follows. Deeply rooted, reaching for the sky — strong Ujjayi breath connects both, steadiness and ease.
Do you feel it too? Summer is gone in Europe and my body speaks loud to me, telling me to slow down, be mindful while adjusting to the changes. Well, getting more receptive to what’s going on around might be also a matter of age, what can I say? It’s hard staying young 😉
During this period of time, I feel my joints cracking, as if they ask to be lubrified. My hamstrings behave like the strings of a guitar with too much tension.
So, what to do? Embrace your body and its awesome capabilities! Accept where you are in this moment and adjust your practice. This is what I did this morning:
I turned on music. Yes, I’m practicing Ashtanga, so what! My favorite music made it easier to release and just flow. I have to admit, between Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana and Ardha baddha padmottanasana I lost my focus and started dancing. I had a huge smile on my face, it all felt so right. It was ok. It’s MY practice. And my body found its rhythm, tuned in, opened and turned into its softness. It’s all about steadiness and ease isn’t it? So don’t be so hard on yourself and remember the second part, „ease“. Finding ease in our steadiness is the moment we start doing yoga.
All you need to do is listen to your body. Be aware and only do good to you. Hehe, this doesn’t mean shavasana only, well it might…. It’s your practice! Even being an Ashtangi might mean yin yoga for one day. If it feels right, it is right. Just show up, adjust your practice and get your blood flowing. And please, always keep a good sense of humor!
We are changing — even if it’s still very warm these days, the nights are getting chilly, the mornings show up dizzy with the first indication of fog. I usually feel the weather change in my leg, due to a couple of surgeries, but it’s different now. I’m used to a proper warm up before practicing, particularly if it’s cold, but it looks like my age is counting in more now.
During summer my body was soft, smooth once it was up to the right temperature. The last days were totally different. My bones and joints are cracking here and there, even after warming up. I have to be very careful, particularly in all half lotos postures, so my practice requires high awareness and also sometimes stepping back into modifications.
I feel like I have aged 20 years plus overnight. Most of my gas tanks seems quite low, and rather than continuing to push myself, it’s important to emphasize ease and grace.
I feel the season changing, the fall in me. It’s not just an outside spectacle, it happens within me too. Both a blessing and a curse of age: we are getting more sensitive to nature.
I feel kind of energetically encouraged to do anything that feels delicious to me. Moving my body in a way that comes naturally. Might be a strong Ashtanga practice, but I also allow myself a music inspired stretching flow or yin yoga. I’m a Taurus, ruled by Venus, I need passion. These days my passion focuses on my true self by valuing self care over the grind. And finally dive deeply into my sacred space.
Practice steadiness and ease. Inner strength, but also soothing and sweet. How can this work? My view: it’s all about being kind to my body, instead of stressing it. Doing my best, challenging body and mind, by fully respecting my limitations that day, that moment. Listening to my body. Understanding if it’s just laziness, that makes the sofa calling me or my body sending signals on what is good or bad for me in that moment. Also fading out the self talk my mind is confusing me with. Gently. Accepting. Yes, tenderly.
Pushing and pulling seems rather violent and works the opposite direction, it takes us farther from ourselves. It is this deep connection with ourselves, our centre, that cultivates a confidence, which makes our practice and our lives magical and leaves us deeply touched and happy.
Care for yourself.