Please meet Kim Sambuchi. She is Mind Body Flow Yoga’s featured student for this month’s newsletter. Kim has a beautiful yoga practice and was generous in sharing it with us, as she demonstrates Warrior II Pose (Virabhadrasana II).
Kim Shares Her Yoga Journey
I started my journey with Mind Body Flow Yoga several years ago. As a mother of three beautiful daughters, I had become very “busy” in my day to day life. As a mother of a daughter with special needs, I was also overwhelmed in my day to day life! I had been a runner for many years. It certainly helped me to obtain some sanity in my life. However, the stress was still affecting me. Yoga seemed to be the perfect complement, physically, to running. However, I had no idea how much my practice was going to change my whole outlook on life! That is, until my world would be rocked and my path would be shaken, forever.
September 20th, 2016, I went for my yearly mammogram as I had done for 10 years+. Never did I suspect that I would leave that appointment knowing that something wasn’t right. My mammogram led to a sonogram, that led to an immediate biopsy. That biopsy came back as breast cancer. That day was the beginning of a new norm in my life.
So, it all began…MRIs, scans, doctors’ appointments, surgeries, and treatment. I had a bilateral mastectomy in November. In January 2017, I began chemotherapy. I was ready. Bring it on! The sooner I went through the chemo, the sooner I could get back to my norm. But as time went on, the chemotherapy began to take a toll on my physical strength. More importantly, it started to wear on my spirit.
I knew that I had to change the playing field to win at this game. Yoga has always been a place of refuge for me. It had always been a place where I felt most empowered to deal with the stress of every day. But, I was intimidated to go back to it. I had many lymph nodes removed from my right arm and did not have the strength that I used to. And then there was the “other part “ of chemo…hair loss! Shouldn’t really matter, right? I know. But you lose so much of yourself with treatment. Unfortunately, it is right out there for everyone to see. It’s a constant reminder to yourself. Those who know me, know that I ALWAYS had long hair.
Gradually, I began to attend some foundation flow classes, again, at MBFY with a chemo beanie covering my head and a chemo port sticking out of my chest. It was the BEST THING I DID! Those Yogis who have frequented MBFY know the connections you make in the studio. I’m talking connections with the “veterans” and the “newbies.” I’m talking the connections you make with the instructors who inspire and encourage you every, single day! There is an energy that is positive and fulfilling on so many levels at MBFY!
It is now one year into my new “norm.” I promised myself through this journey to focus more on my health…physically, emotionally, and spiritually. My practice at MBFY has given me the opportunity to be in control of my stress and the feelings of being overwhelmed. When I finish a class and walk out of that studio, I am more focused, happier, and healthier! It empowers me to deal with my life in a positive way. Always!
A very inspirational yoga instructor (who happens to run a studio in East Amherst 😊) always says, “Be grateful to yourself for showing up and doing the work.” I am grateful for being able to show up and do the work. I am blessed to have my practice. I am in control of my life.
What is this Pose About?
*If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.
This is an open hip pose that stretches your groin, thighs, and ankles. The resulting shape is a deep opening through the shoulders, arms, thighs, legs, and ankles. Watch Kim 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 this Yoga Pose (Parsva Bakasana)
- Warrior II is transitioned into from Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)./li>
- Come into Warrior I with your right leg forward to begin.
- Then open into Warrior II. Your hips will now face the side (rather than the front) and your stance should be wide. Your right knee should bend to stack evenly over your right ankle. Your right heel should be in line with the inner-arch of your left foot. Your left leg should be straight – keep your back knee loose but straight, in other words, you don’t want your knee joint to be locked or hyperextended. Your arms are outstretched from side to side like a wide T. Keep your shoulders back and down. Engage your core. Keep your tailbone dropping down. Spread all ten of your fingers wide and take your eye gaze over your front arm, as long as there isn’t discomfort in your neck. If there is discomfort in your neck, keep your eye gaze looking straight in front of you, rather than turning your head to the side.
- Hold this pose for 3-5 deep breaths.
- From here, it is most come to cartwheel the arms to the ground and go into a vinyasa flow from there (high plank, to low plank, upward facing dog, to downward facing dog).
- Don’t forget about the other side. Step into Warrior I on the other side with the opposite leg in front and transition into Warrior II following the same instructions above.
- Expands your chest, lungs, and shoulders
- Stimulates abdominal organs and digestion
- Increases stamina and endurance
- Relieves backaches
- Improves balance, concentration, and core awareness
- Avoid this posture if you have high blood pressure, medical conditions that affect balance, diarrhea, or neck problems – keep your neck looking forward from the chest rather than over your front arm. Enlist the help of an experienced instructor with Peaceful Warrior Pose if this is your first time trying it.
Have you tried this pose before? What has been your experience?