Urdhva Padmasana

Turn your lotus position upside down. No worries if full lotus isn’t available for you yet, whatever your variation is works – full lotus, half lotus or cross-legged. Even if full lotus is preferred as it makes the posture much more compact and stable, we all know that it’s not always accessible.

Once in the posture and your thighs are parallel to the floor, press the knees into the hands (yes, this way!). Start to lengthen your spine (feels sooooo good!) and lift your chin slightly, so there’s no pressure on your neck.

For the next few breaths, allow your world to move this way. Upside down. Notice what‘s different – is there any difference?

Physically this posture does a lot – it opens the hips, strengthens the shoulder frame, the muscles along the spine, the erector spinae is activated, just to name a few. In addition, your inner organs benefit, particularly as this pose utilizes specific pressure points at the thyroid and the kidneys.

As in all inversions, the blood flow increases and the brain is offered a surge of oxygen.
Don’t you wonder if you would suddenly feel your thoughts streaming with better clarity. If holding this posture a bit longer, maybe even a few minutes, you will notice that all your doubts, blank mental notes, and confusing stimulus will clear up.

Really? Well, you tell me, try it 🙂

The Truth

Think outside the box. What’s right, what’s wrong? Many of us think that they know exactly. We were educated to establish certain values; we learned the rules and we were told on how to behave. All teachers we had and still have are telling us the right way. Be aware, it’s only what they have been taught and/or what they believe in!

I’d like to encourage you to question everything. What a teacher tells you, what’s written in the books, what your parents, your partner or friends believe in. I’m not saying it’s wrong, but asking you to think about it. What does it mean to YOU, how does it fit into your world? Also ask yourself what do you believe in and is this really what you think or are you just repeating without any reflection? Not judging, but a healthy reflection, which is required to make up your own believes.

Think about it….. it’s worth it! And it’s well needed to find your own truth.

Am I talking about yoga? Of course! As a teacher, I tell my students how to access the postures, how to breathe, how to connect with their bodies and themselves. Am I telling the truth? Yes, from my point of view I do. It’s what I’ve learned and what I believe in. I don’t teach anything just following the books, it went through my reflection and is finally exactly what I believe in. Is it right for my students? If they don’t reflect and question, the answer is no. Everybody has to find ones’ own truth. All teachings are just a large bouquet of options, other people’s findings and their truth.

What about things that have been proved as right? Such as a certain medicine, that removes your pain? You might have experienced, that a medicine can help, but it doesn’t do each time. So is it true then? You decide.

Back to yoga. A simple physical example is the right posture. My opinion: there is no such thing as a perfect posture. What? Of course, we have pictures of super bendy yogis and descriptions from the great teachers and gurus –  extremely useful guides! While trying to master a posture, we have to take our body and its capability into consideration. When practicing regularly the body changes, it gets more flexible and stronger, poses become easier and closer to that image of perfect. Finally, it will always be YOUR variation of the posture, even if it looks pretty much like in the books. It might not, that’s absolutely fine. Each body is different.

There’s only one truth: YOURS.

It’s about people, not poses.

Some teachers teach poses; some teachers teach people. Some students want to work on their fitness, some students want to improve, grow, work on their body and mind. For some it’s work out, for some it’s magic.

What’s wrong, what’s right? Nothing. Just different approaches. We can practice yoga as a cardio workout. We can practice yoga to increase our flexibility. We can practice yoga as a moving meditation. We can practice yoga as a reflection on our body’s reaction to the work. We can practice yoga as a spiritual experience. And everything in between. There are teachers out there for each approach, nothing wrong, nothing right. No matter what you do, as long as you feel good, you’re doing it all right.

But what does it mean to teach people, rather than poses? Well, we are still talking about asana practice, meaning we go through postures in class. First priority – yes this is about poses and part of the game – is to do them correct or find a suitable modification. Not to master them, but to protect ourselves from injury. Now it’s up to you, leave it here or go to the next level, which means for me, teaching how to connect with ourselves. Go internal to feel what you are doing. Listen to your body. Respect your limitations of the day. Learn to breathe and let the breath initiates the movement to finally fly through the asanas. When holding the postures, find stability as well as ease. Enjoy what you are doing. Learn from what you can and can’t do so far. What is your body telling you? Why is there a stiffness, why does it hurt here, why isn’t there any progress? Is there really no progress? Why in a hurry?

Yoga can be so much more than bending your body into a pretzel or standing on your hands. If you just want this, absolutely fine. Go for it, it’s a great fitness tool. If you are open to receive more, get the journey started and allow yoga to change your life. To change yourself. Learn to differentiate between yourself and your ego.