Today was the first day of one of my favorite things: lunchtime yoga at work! I signed up for it last year and it was the best. I’m so happy that my office decided to bring it back again this year, with the same instructor. I love her as much as I love the class.
The group of people doing office yoga this year is pretty big, and I think there may be quite a few people who are somewhat new to doing a regular practice. As we went into our first downward dog today, I started thinking about how I felt the first few times I went into the pose: not good. It’s now one of my favorite poses, but it took me a long time to get to that point. In fact, every time I heard an instructor say that this was a rest pose, I couldn’t help but scoff inside. Rest pose? For whom?! It was so unpleasant to me that I couldn’t imagine ever reaching a point where it would feel any different. But slowly and surely, I got there.
In one of her videos available on Yogavibes, Sage Rountree talks about the poses that bring up the strongest feelings for you. Maybe you love them, maybe you hate them. Either way, those are the poses that should be explored more fully. In particular, the poses you like least can tell you a lot about your body and your emotions. Are you uncomfortable because these muscles need to be worked more often? Is this an area that you should probably work on opening up more regularly?What is going on both physically and mentally that is causing you to have such a strong reaction?Chances are good that if you can identify what it is, and put in the effort required to address it, your feelings for the pose will change completely.
So now that I’ve conquered my feelings toward downward dog, which poses give me the most trouble? Well, I can’t help but feel a twinge of dread every time I hear “boat pose”– to me this really means balance on your butt and feel your whole body tremble as you try to keep your legs parallel to the ground (and maybe extend your arms…depending on the day); table top and bridge are also sticking points for me because, from what I can tell, my hamstrings need some work; and anything that calls for leg extension or a standing split–poses in that family just highlight my lack of flexibility.
The nice thing is, though, that working your way through those strong emotions in a pose is a really great way to measure progress, and as you gradually grow stronger and more flexible, you get a whole new array of poses to conquer. I don’t know about you, but forward movement always feels good, no matter how many stubborn feelings you have to push past in order to get there.
Originally published here.