Please meet Morgan Ponkow. She is Mind Body Flow Yoga’s first featured student for 2017, for our January newsletter. Morgan has an inspiring yoga practice and was generous in sharing it with us, as she demonstrates dancer’s pose (Natarajasana).
Mind Body Flow Yoga’s Very Own Morgan Ponkow
I first began my yoga journey about 8 years ago. I had just graduated from college, and was overweight and unhappy. Growing up as a competitive figure skater, I was always very active. That was until I had 3 foot surgeries and wasn’t able to skate like I use to.
I went from constant activity and scrutiny over how I should look to nothing. At first, it was freeing. For the first time my life wasn’t structured. I was in control, or so I thought. I wasn’t told what to eat (or what not to), and I actually had free time. I slowly began to live the life I thought I had missed out on. I ate whatever I wanted, didn’t work out, and went out partying with my friends.
It took me a few years to realize that this wasn’t making me happy. It wasn’t all at once, but I slowly started to realize that I liked my structured life. Now all I needed to do was find something that challenged me as much as skating did. That’s when I found yoga. I entered my first yoga class not knowing what to expect and definitely not prepared for both the physical and mental challenge.
Bikram yoga soon became a huge part of my life. I felt challenged for the first time in years. I would walk into the 105 degree room defeated and walk out 90 minutes later feeling like I could accomplish anything. Over the next 7 years, yoga became my therapist. It was a place where I felt and still feel totally comfortable. I knew that as soon as I walked through the door that I was entering a judgement free zone.
When I was stressed, yoga was there to relax me. When I was happy, yoga was there to push me to be happier. When I was sad, yoga was there to shine a light and give me hope. Yoga showed me what my body and mind were capable of doing and that I can push myself beyond what I thought was possible. I have learned to focus, relax, and really live in the moment.
This all suddenly changed for me when my husband and I wanted to start a family. As much as I tried not to admit it, I knew that practicing in such extreme heat was not good for a growing baby. Upon getting pregnant in April, I felt lost. I was elated to be pregnant, but at the same time felt a void that I was suddenly unable to do the thing that had brought me so much happiness over the last 7 years. That’s when my co-worker Tarah, a teacher at Mind Body Flow Yoga, suggested that I try out a class. After not practicing for 10 weeks, I was excited and nervous. I felt like I was starting over.
MBFY has truly been a blessing during my pregnancy. The teachers and studio have been so welcoming and motivating. I knew that my practice would be different now that I was pregnant, but after learning some modifications, I’ve been able to regain the feeling of being challenged both mentally and physically. Practicing yoga with life growing inside me is truly an amazing experience.
I am grateful every day that I found this studio. I look forward to carrying on my yoga journey at MBFY after my baby is born.
Leave a comment below. What stood out to you in the testimonial? What significant experience have you had in your yoga journey?
What is this Pose About?
This is a balancing pose. The resulting shape is a deep opening through the shoulders, chest, thighs, groins, and abdomen. Watch Morgan enter into this asana from Mountain Pose (Tadasana). She will exit the pose and land back in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) as well.
Here are a few things to keep in mind, if you decide to try this pose, or if you have already started to experiment and play around with it.
Tips for Dancer’s pose (Natarajasana)
- Shift your weight onto your right foot, and lift your left heel toward your left buttock as you bend the knee. Press your right thigh bone back, deep into the hip joint, and pull the knee cap up to keep the standing leg straight and strong.
- Begin to lift your left foot up, away from the floor, and back, away from your torso. Extend the left thigh behind you and parallel to the floor. Stretch your right arm forward, in front of your torso, parallel to the floor.
- Stay in the pose for 3 to 5 deep breaths. Then release the grasp on the foot, place the left foot back onto the floor, and repeat for the same length of time on the other side.
- Stretches the chest and shoulders
- Stretches the thighs, groins, and abdomen
- Strengthens the ankles and legs
- Improves balance
- Do not practice this pose if you have a recent or chronic ankle or low back injury. Also avoid this pose if you are currently experiencing low blood pressure, dizziness, migraines, or insomnia. Always work within your own range of limits and abilities. If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.
Have you tried this pose before? What has been your experience?