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Day 5, One Giant Leap For Yogi-kind January 15, 2011

Posted by ajoyfulpractice in 21-Day Challenge, Changing Perspectives, Fitness, Health, Meditation, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Philosophy, Science, Texas, Twin Cities, Yoga.

(or, How Small Steps Lead To A Giant Leap)

I was super excited to wake up Friday morning and discover the Day 5 video featured Elise Lorimer working towards Hanumanasana. The story of Hanuman is one of my favorites and I’ve told or referenced the story on more than one occasion while teaching the pose. But, as much as I love the story and the benefits of the pose, I suck at the full expression. I always have; even as a pre-teen gymnast I sucked at doing the splits. In fact, there’s a Junior High year book picture of me on a Maryland gymnastics team and to this day I cringe when I see it because I’m not the girl doing the splits. Still, I teach the pose because (a) even the modified version (or Hanuman prep, as I call it) can be incredibly beneficial; (b) I love the story; and (c) some of my students have incredible Hanumanasana practices.

Given my affinity for the story and my on-going struggle with the pose itself, I wanted to do the practice first thing in the morning. I was further inspired because I was already planning to include the pose in my Saturday morning class. But, I had early AM obligations – specifically, getting ready for my regular Friday classes. I spent the morning practicing a sequence inspired by the ruminations I had after finishing the Day 4 Standing Pose sequence. The irony of the way I work is that I was inspired by a 30-minute practice, but I wished I had more than 60 minutes to teach (and practice) the resulting class. This only makes sense when you know that sometimes I think like a Faulkner novel.

At the end of another snowy day I set up to practice the video. Keep in mind that my day included a little slipping and sliding, a little dancing, a practice set of Hanumanasana – just to give myself a base line, and another set of “Shoveling Snow Pose”. For whatever irrational reason, a part of my brain expected the sequence to be so overwhelmingly powerful that I would melt into the full expression like butter. Right. Keep dreaming.

The reality is that no one melts into the full expression of Hanumanasana. Even people who make it look effortless, do the work. They practice – if not every day, then every chance they get – and part of the practice is the process, the krama, those small sequential steps that lead to a giant leap.

True, there are some incredibly flexible people on the planet – and most of them are kids – but even Gumby Jr. has to practice the splits in order to do the splits. Choosing Hanumanasana as a peak pose for this challenge was brilliant, because it simultaneously reinforces the power of a sequence to open the body into a particular pose, as well as the need to dedicate one’s self to regular practice. Also, because it is such an extreme pose, it’s a great opportunity to tune into the body. Elise Lorimer’s practice highlighted all the muscle groups engaged in Hanumanasana. When I reached that peak pose, I didn’t melt into the full expression. I did, however, ease into my deepest expression at that moment. Ultimately, being where you are in the moment is what it’s all about.

Is it my imagination or are the Savasana moments getting longer? Even though I know the videos are pre-recorded, I feel like the universe is responding to my comments about the lack of Savasana. Tonight, I was more than ready for a little moment of reclined stillness. I stayed a few minutes past the end of the video and then sat for the 18-minute So Hum meditation I’ve been doing. My whole body felt prepared and, even though I was tired, I managed to finish the meditation in pretty good shape. Again, my legs felt divine and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.



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