Sure it’s fun to “dream” and to “what if,” but then in order to actually do what we think, it requires us to move. Move and think. Then think and take action. The action part is what holds us in the same every day.My yoga journey started on the sole purpose of adding a different workout to my weekly exercise routine. I was bored with the same old stuff I was doing and wanted to change it up a bit. I had heard about Marina and Mind Body Flow Yoga from a few friends and decided to check it out! I had been doing Pilates for several years beforehand and had tried other yoga studios in the area. I never particularly loved yoga but figured I should give it another try. I wouldn’t mind getting that yoga booty either.
The first time I went to Mind Body Flow Yoga, I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, it was an incredible workout, but also so many other unexpected things happened as well. Not only did my body feel exhausted, but my mind did also. Yoga was so much more than just exercise. There was so much to learn and get better at! That is what immediately hooked me.
I have always been a very competitive person since I was a little girl. Coming from a family of two older brothers and being the youngest and only girl, I was always trying to prove that I was tough enough and good enough. Only this time (with yoga), I was competing with myself and for myself. I quickly came to realize that it did not matter what the person on the mat next to me was doing. Their journey, although just as profound, had nothing to do with me or my personal journey. I could focus on doing my best and set goals that allowed my competitive side to be satisfied, but not sabotaging. My competitiveness translated into many aspects of my life; however, I felt like I could transition it into something healthy this time. Yoga helped me realize that competition can be healthy if it is directed correctly. I would also say I am definitely a “recovering perfectionist,” which I think can easily go hand and hand with being competitive.
I learned that I needed to keep practicing not only when I felt like I wanted to go, but especially when I did not. The competitive side of me wanted to go every day and just keep getting better, but the tired “Mom side” of me wanted to give up and just go back to my every day, which was easier and less challenging.
So many times in our lives, it’s so much easier to keep moving forward without thinking and letting our minds wander. Sure it’s fun to “dream” and to “what if,” but then in order to actually do what we think, it requires us to move. Move and think. Then think and take action. The action part is what holds us in the same every day. The action is what is required to let us grow as humans. Growth requires action and motivation – which can also mean failing, which is not so perfect!
Personally, I have found so many times in my life that I did not allow myself to keep trying and take action in fear of not being perfect. If I am bad at something then I just move on and believe it’s not for me. I think to myself, “I’m not good at that or that’s dumb!” It’s easier giving up. It takes action to keep going and I was scared of failure. Why would I continue to do something that takes so much energy and may never be perfect and be able to be conquered?
I asked myself this so many times the first few visits to Mind Body Flow Yoga. It was beyond frustrating not knowing all the “yoga lingo “ and what pose was what. I kept saying “Ok, one more class and then I’m done!” I would only buy a 10-class pass, because that is all I was going to give it! If I can’t conquer yoga in 10 more classes, then I’m done with it! Did I mention I was a perfectionist? Well, a few 10-class passes came and went. Now, it has been around 3 years of going to yoga on a weekly basis, 1-2 times per week. I have now bumped up to the 36-class pass, by the way!
Have I conquered yoga? No, and that’s ok. Is my yoga practice perfect? No, and as I have heard so many times from Marina, “That is why it is called Yoga practice, not yoga perfect! I have finally learned through yoga, that not everything in life can be or needs to be conquered. I have learned as we get older, that not just physical fitness is important. Working out your mind is just as important as well. That is the one thing I never expected from yoga. To be able to take my lessons on the mat and use them off the mat has been life-changing.
Being a mom and wife takes a lot of juggling and patience is key. Before yoga, I had zero patience. I always believed I was just one of those people who had no patience and I used it as an excuse to make it ok. I was letting my lack of patience ruin many of my experiences with my girls and family. Yoga helped me to just breathe. Everything will get done and maybe not in the order I set out to have it done in, but again that is ok. That one lesson alone has changed my everyday life. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and now I can experience the “happenings” of my life. Am I always just walking around in a yoga state of bliss? Not even close, but I am present. I am present to my children. I am present to my husband. Life is short and filled with amazing moments. If we allow ourselves to get caught up in just going with the motions and reacting negatively or without patience, we miss out on so many things. Bad and good. Perfect or not.
Yoga has taught me that I can take a breath on those not so amazing moments and try to find the silver lining. In those times that I can’t seem to find it, I head to yoga.
We are all a work in progress and will continue to be and should continue to be. There is no perfect human. Not all things or challenges are meant to be conquered. Amazing things in life are worth working for. You may fail and that’s ok. It’s going to take hard work, lots of tries, and many deep breaths, but being able to experience it all, makes all the efforts worth it.
From yoga, I have learned that I am perfectly IMPERFECT!
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:
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.
Enlist the help of an experienced instructor with Crow Pose if this is your first time trying it.
Have you tried this pose before? What has been your experience?