Steadiness and ease

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.

yes yes yes

When I arrived in India for my first teacher training, I faced this plate next to the door of my room. Pincha Mayurasana was all I saw. I started panicking…. was I supposed to do this? I mean, my aim was NOT becoming a yoga teacher, I did this training just to soak up all about yoga. Well, that’s what I thought. You know quite well, I was damn wrong, as I started teaching right after my first teacher training and nothing can stop me since 🙂

Back to Pincha Mayurasana. In times of Instagram yogis, it takes some courage to state what we can’t do, rather than posting fancy postures only. Thanks god I always had amazing teachers, who never pushed, but teached. I learned, that being a good teacher doesn’t require that I can do all postures in perfection. Plus, yoga is not just postures, it’s so much more – but that’s a different story! Finally, teaching is not about me, it’s about my students.

However, some months ago, I decided to work on handstand and forearm stand. I knew the technique very well, I was strong enough, but fear still stopped me. I know I have to learn slowly, as it is all about building trust. Learn how a posture feels, what happens in the body and what my mindset has to be. I focused on handstand for some time and a few days ago, I tried forearm stand once again. My work paid off, it was much easier than before. And today is the day, the first time, I managed to bring my feet off the wall in pincha. OMG. Even if only some seconds, this was a major breakthrough, as now I know that I can do it. Now it’s just a matter of practice, but I’m already there.

Once you master a posture, look back. What did the process teach you? It’s not about the posture any longer, but how you changed, what you’ve learned on the way and what you are able to do. Honestly, I believe this way of slow learning is much more beneficial than just hopping into postures by default. It’s telling me a lot about life and about myself. A process so worth it!

 

 

Progress

Never underestimate your progress! Sometimes we can’t see it, but feel it. Sometimes it’s rather going backwards and the progress isn’t in the body, but in the mind.

Are there postures you wish you could do, are you trying again and again, but mostly not very successful? Well, if you really want to master a posture, it means daily practice. This is what I did with headstand. It took me one year. Each day I practiced what I could and one day, boom! I was up. And headstand became my absolute favorite posture, I’m just in love.

Now handstand moved into my focus. I know, it’s quite easy for some people, unfortunately not for me. I couldn’t even imagine me balancing on my hands ever, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel. I started walking up the wall, which showed me, that I’ve got enough strength. That’s what I did for some time, to get used to it and feel my body in this position better. But the problem isn’t my body, it’s in my head and it’s called fear. A beast not easy to handle. I took the challenge. Within one week, I managed to touch the opposite wall. Yeah. Now I can really feel the posture and what needs to be done. I feel how my body lengthens, I feel the difference when pointing my feet, when engaging the bandhas, when pushing into my hands. And I know, I will make it.

But finally, mastering a posture is just a side effect. The real progress is recognizing what happens in our body when working on a certain posture. Being aware of the effects when engaging, activating etc. It’s amazing. Also what needs to be done mentally to overcome fear. This is so important, not just on the mat, as you will take your experiences with you, whatever you do.

I’m working on my body, I’m working on my mind, I’m changing and I love it. I’m showing age my middle finger, I’m still learning and won’t stop. Progress in baby steps can be even more beneficial as just doing a huge jump.

Yogi, never underestimate what you’re doing!