Please meet Stacey Mobus. She is Mind Body Flow Yoga’s featured student for this month’s newsletter. She has a beautiful yoga practice and was generous in sharing it with us, as she demonstrates Side Crow Pose (Parsva Bakasana).
Stacey Shares Her Yoga Journey
When Marina asked me to be the featured student for this month, I said yes right away because I would do anything for her. I realized that this meant I would also have to include a write-up about my yoga journey. Those that know me best, know that I am usually not a fan of sharing my feelings. I actually used to cringe when things got too personal. In then end, I decided that I would step out of my comfort zone and take on this challenge. Not being afraid to feel uncomfortable, is one of the many lessons I’ve learned on the mat that transfers off the mat as well.
My first experience with yoga came 5 years ago. A gym that I belonged to was having a pop up yoga class. I always thought of yoga as slow-moving, boring, and something that could never challenge me physically. Within the first 2 minutes of the class, the instructor was telling us to massage our internal organs. If I could have rolled up my mat and ran out of the class, I would have. I had no idea what she was talking about and I didn’t want to think about my internal organs. That experience solidified my belief that yoga was just not for me.
Several years later, I met an instructor from Mind Body Flow Yoga at a party. She encouraged me to give yoga a try and a couple of weeks later, I walked through the door. My first class was a foundation flow class and I can remember being nervous as I walked into the heated room. The class was challenging in a way that I never expected. I walked out feeling amazing and I was excited to come back for more. After a week or two, I decided I was ready for an open flow class. It was taught by Marina and I loved her from the moment I met her. I have to admit, I did panic a bit when I saw her walking around the room as she was assisting with poses. I remember thinking “oh my gosh, she’s going to touch me!” And she did! She ran her hand down my sweaty back while I was in forward fold. I went home that night and told me husband, “she touches sweaty people!” The physical strength required for yoga surprised me, but not nearly as much as the mental strength. There were many times when I first started practicing that I thought I wasn’t strong enough. Then I would hear Marina say, “this won’t last forever.” At the time, I didn’t realize this was a life lesson too. My biggest fear as a new student was looking awkward and uncoordinated during class, and for those first couple of classes, I probably did. The thing that I realized is nobody cared. There was no judging going on in that room.
I have now been practicing for two and a half years and I can’t imagine my life without yoga. There are so many things that I have learned in class that have helped me through life’s daily struggles. Trying to balance working full-time and raising three children can undoubtedly be stressful. Before yoga, I was incredibly short tempered. Little things could easily set me off. I found myself constantly yelling at my kids and running out of patience. I always felt like I was on the defense and would get angry with people I didn’t even know. The woman who cut me off in traffic or the man at the store that called me “sweetheart,” were easy targets. Yoga has taught me how to breathe. Finding my breath is helping me to become a less reactive person. I yell less and I try to presume positive intentions from others. I still have moments that I am not proud of, but I am a work in progress.
Yoga has also helped me to feel more connected to others. I grew up with a family that loved me very much, but we were not warm, fuzzy people. By the time I got older, being physically close to people that I didn’t know well, made me anxious. That was one of the hardest parts of class for me. I was in close proximity to people that I didn’t know and we were all sweating. A lot. Now, instead of seeing these people as strangers, I see them as part of my community. My practice has grown through the energy of those moving around me. We cheer each other on and celebrate our successes on the mat. I have become more comfortable letting people into my space.
Yoga has also helped with life’s bigger challenges. Six months ago, I faced a health scare. I usually think of myself as a strong person, but I was so terrified that I completely lost it. While I was going through a month of testing that included scans, countless blood draws, and a bone marrow biopsy, I couldn’t even will myself to take care of my family. My husband and mother had to hold everything together while I temporarily fell apart. After a couple weeks, I managed to drag myself to yoga. One of the things Marina said during that class was “it’s okay to not be okay.” That became my new mantra. I was definitely not okay, but I forgave myself for my perceived weakness. Perspective is another gift that yoga has given me. When I look at the big picture, I think about the people in my life that are facing far greater challenges than what I went through. Those are the people I get my strength from now.
I’m not the same person that I was when I walked through door of Mind Body Flow Yoga two and a half years ago, but I am so far from perfect. I like to think that Yoga is helping me to become a better version of myself and that has had a positive impact on every aspect of my life.
What is this Pose About?
*If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.
This is an arm balancing pose, which improves balance. The resulting shape is a deep opening and stretch in the arms, wrists, spine, and belly. Watch Stacey 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:
Here are a few things to keep in mind, if you decide to try this pose, or if you have already started to experiment with it.
Tips for this Yoga Pose (Parsva Bakasana)
- Bend your knees to a half-squat, thighs parallel to the floor. If your heels don’t rest comfortably on the floor, support them on a thickly folded blanket or yoga block.
- Take your left elbow to the outside of your right thigh.
- Exhaling, twist your torso to the right, bringing your left lower ribs across toward your right thigh as far as you can.
- Place the back of your left arm down the outside of the right thigh, bringing your outer armpit as close to the outer thigh as you can. Keeping the arm in place, do a slight back bend and draw your right shoulder back to twist your torso more deeply.
- Exhaling each time, repeat these alternating back-bending and twisting movements until you reach your maximum rotation. Then slide your left upper arm several inches toward your right hip and press it firmly against your right thigh; maintaining this pressure, draw the upper arm back toward your right knee without allowing the skin to slide. This will rotate the flesh of the upper arm outward, setting it in place. Once your arm is in position on your thigh, try not to change the point of skin-to-skin contact throughout the pose.
- Squat down fully, buttocks just above your heels. Place your left palm on the floor just outside your right foot. If the hand doesn’t easily reach the floor, tip your torso to the right until you can put your palm down flat. Maintaining contact between your left upper arm and your right outer thigh, lean even more to the right until you can place your right hand on the floor. Your hands should be shoulder width apart and positioned on an imaginary line drawn diagonally away from your right foot angled in the direction of the heel. Set your fingers parallel to each other. Most of your weight will still be on your feet.
- Concentrate on maintaining the point of contact between your left arm and right thigh as you slowly lift your pelvis and shift it to the right, aiming to bring the middle of your abdomen above and between your hands. This is not the precise balance point, but if you get this close you’ll probably be able to find the perfect position by feel. As you get close, the weight on your hands will increase, while that on your feet will decrease until they lift easily.
- Keep your feet together and press out through their inner edges. Draw your heels toward your buttocks. Exhaling, drawn your belly up and in to prepare for the twist, then pull your left hip strongly down and lift both feet up. Your left arm may remain slightly bent, but straighten it as much as you can without allowing your legs to slide down.
- As you lift your right shoulder, twist your spine further. Lift your chest and head, and look forward or to the side. Legs can stay together, or the upper leg can extend straight up and back and the bottom leg can extend to the side. Breathe evenly and naturally. Hold the pose for 20 seconds or longer, then lower your feet back to the floor with an exhale. Repeat it on the other side for the same length of time.
- Repeat on the other side.3
- Improves sense of balance
- Tones the belly and spine
- Strengthens the arms and wrists
- Seek advice or supervision with this pose if you have any wrist or lower back injury.
Have you tried this pose before? What has been your experience?