I cannot control situations or other people but I can control how I react. I can breathe.I am a changed person. It’s that simple. Yoga has changed me in the most simple ways and also in the most profound ways. I took my first yoga class in November of 2017 when a friend of mine told me how yoga was exercise, therapy, and meditation all in one. I had resisted trying yoga for years because I didn’t think yoga was for me. I thought it would be too slow paced. I didn’t think I could find the time to go to a yoga studio. I barely knew what downward dog meant. I’m a wife, mother of 2 active teens, full-time teacher, and I do private tutoring. My workouts are at 5 AM because there isn’t time later in the day because life gets busy. How could I fit yoga into that?
Life gets busy. That is true for everyone. It’s this exact reason why I love yoga. I crave yoga when I haven’t been on my mat for a few days, and I prioritize finding time for yoga.
I’ve always been passionate about exercise. I run, walk, or lift weights 6 days a week. Two years ago, I coughed and almost threw my back out (Who knew coughing could be like an olympic event for me???). I have run half marathons, but coughing is what put me in physical therapy. Yikes. That was embarrassing.
I learned that my core was very weak. The doctor suggested I continue with physical therapy or I could try yoga. It was that same week my friend, Mike, could not stop raving about the wonders of Mind Body Flow Yoga while we were watching our boys play soccer. Yoga? For me? I had so many questions. What would I wear? How would I find the time? What yoga knowledge did I need to know? Would people stare at me and know this was my first class? Mike reassured me, answered my 70 questions, and I never looked back.
As I have said, yoga has changed me. Yoga has changed me physically. I am stronger than I have ever been. I feel strength in my core as I pedal through bicycle rides. I feel strength in my arms as I plank. I feel strength in my legs as I sit in chair pose. I might not look much different on the outside, but I feel changed on the inside.
Yoga has changed me mentally. Yoga has given me strength to get through tough times. I think back to the two toughest times in my life and I wish I had the tools from yoga to have dealt with things better. Four years ago, I became quite ill with stomach issues. Doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. I was too sick to go to work, I was passing out, and I was scared. I didn’t know what was wrong with me or when I would start to feel better. After 7 months, I saw a new doctor, was given a diagnosis, and had a plan to get healthier. How different life would have been if I had the tools from yoga to have dealt with my illness. I still would have been scared and stressed, for sure. But, I am confident that my fear and stress would not have owned me.
Similarly, my son suddenly became ill 2 years ago. He was hospitalized for a week and underwent surgery on his fourth day in the hospital. I had never experienced stress and fear like I did that week. I couldn’t sleep or eat. I just wanted to lay in the hospital bed with my son, meet with doctors, and remind my son there were better days ahead (even when I didn’t believe it myself). Again, I wish I had the tools back then to deal with stress the way I can deal with stress now.
Yoga has taught me to acknowledge negative feelings and then let them go when life gets messy, scary, and stressful. The stress and negativity do not control me. When I am on my mat, I get through tough poses by breathing. I have learned to apply this to life. I cannot control situations or other people but I can control how I react. I can breathe.
Before yoga, I had a hard time turning my mind off. My mind was like a computer browser with 13 tabs that were always open and running. I was more tired than I should have been. I would regularly wake up in the middle of the night and have a hard time turning my mind off. I’d think about what I needed to add to my grocery list or what student’s seats I needed to move in math class or if I remembered to text a certain friend back. Now, when I wake up in the middle of the night, I try to remember some of the lessons I have learned on my yoga mat and I’m amazed at how often I can go back to sleep in just a few minutes.
Before yoga, I was more short-tempered than I should have been. I realize that I lost my patience with my family and my students quicker than I wish I did. Through yoga, and by slowing down and learning to take that extra breath before I react, my patience has improved and I hope it will continue to do so.
Yoga has allowed me to focus on the moment and to be here now, now here, as Marina often reminds us to be. In the past, if I wasn’t doing 6 things at once, I wasn’t being productive. Yoga has taught me to appreciate slowing down and enjoying the moment. I am more present.
So often, the beginning meditation of class seems to speak directly to me. How does the instructor know to focus on letting go of imperfections on a day I am struggling with that? How does the instructor know when I need to be reminded that today is a new day and yesterday is in the past?
I used to think I didn’t have time for a yoga class. I laugh at that now. I literally laugh at that thought. Yoga has truly been one of the best things I have ever done for myself. I’m a better wife, mother, and teacher because of yoga. I am a changed person. Simply put, I’m a better version of myself.
What is this Pose About?
*If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.
This is a arm balancing pose. The resulting shape is a deep opening through the arms and upper back. Watch Robin enter into this asana from Mountain Pose (Tadasana). She will exit the pose and land back in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) as well.
Tips for Crow Pose (Bakasana)
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.
- Set your hands at shoulder-width distance apart
- Bend your elbows the same way you would in low plank (chaturanga)
- Take a deep bend to your knees and set your knees high on your upper arm bones, if not in your armpits
- Engage your core the whole time
- Squeeze skin to muscle to bone into your center line
- Look forward of your finger tips
- Shift your body’s weight forward
- Lift one foot off the ground to start
- Eventually both feet lift off the ground and you balance
- Once you have both feet off the ground, flex your feet, lift and spread all ten toes and begin lifting your heels up towards your buttocks
- Improves the strength of your overall upper body
- Tones your abdominal organs, which assists with indigestion and lower back pains
- The muscles of your forearms, wrists and fingers are given a proper stretch, which is great for carpal tunnel syndrome or the discomfort of long commutes in your car
- Do not practice Crow Pose if you have a recent or chronic wrist, shoulder, or back injury, or if you have carpal tunnel syndrome. Women who are pregnant should also avoid this pose. Enlist the help of an experienced instructor with Crow Pose if this is your first time trying it.
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?