Remember the wedding scene in Princess Bride? There’s a commotion outside, and it’s clear things are not going as planned. Knowing this, Humperdink shouts at the priest, “Skip to the end!”
Well, when things aren’t going my way, I have a tendency to want to “skip to the end” too. Like a little kid with my hands over my eyes, I want to ignore the scary part and have someone tell me when it’s safe to come out again.
I noticed this the other day when I was telling someone a story and she stopped me and said, “Wait. What happened in the middle there?” I skipped over the part of the story that upset me without even realizing it. That’s how much I didn’t want to deal with it!
Ugh. So I have no idea, to be honest, how to change this. Except to practice not doing it. To stop and notice when I’m skipping over the hard part, and breathe. And just notice it. That’s it. Notice it. And you know what? It’s hard. At least it is for me. Sometimes after the deep breath and the noticing, I get choked up. There’s something else underneath. And other times, nothing. The whatever it is, is deeper, and I can’t always find it. But I’m looking. The goal is not skipping to the end.
If you have weak or injured knees, make sure you don’t misalign them like this (cute in goats, not so cute in people!) Instead, stabilize the knee like that in standing poses like Warrior II.
If you are working with tender or healing knees, using a chair to stabilize your Warrior is a great way to practice alignment. It won’t help strengthen your quads as much – and strong quads can help protect your knees – but it can be a good start to get your body into position and proper alignment so you can safely feel your knee tracking over your toes.
The first image is a beauty from Sharon Montrose and the second is from about.com.
Shame and vanity hardly ever serve yoga. Except when they do.
The other day I was demonstrating tripod for a friend of mine. We were talking about the transition from crow into tripod headstand (which is not something I can currently do) and I couldn’t express what I meant. So I got down on the floor and got into tripod.
Another friend of mine asked if I could go up from that position into headstand – also not something I’d ever done before. I figured I’d try. But as soon as I was upside down my shirt slid down. Oops! But here comes the trick.
I was worried that my belly would stick out, so I instinctually sucked in, pulling my stomach up and in towards my spine. And what does that do – besides giving the appearance of a flatter belly? Strengthen and engage the muscles for core stabilization.
With a stable core, my legs just floated up. I wasn’t even wobbly. My attempt at hiding flab engaged my core, and my legs just lifted up on their own – stacking on top of my body in perfect balance.
All three of these gorgeous images come from the Lululemon blog post titled 5 Steps to Headstand. They do a great job of breaking down the various stages of headstand.
When I first started doing yoga, I’d come back from class beaming: I did crow pose! I did handstand!
Fifteen years later I’m just as excited, but my achievements are a little more subtle. I get all excited when I figure out something like: if I pull my shoulder into the socket in warrior one, I can more easily square my hips, or if I come up into downward dog from child pose I won’t pinch my neck and shoulders.
I may not be on my way to circus yoga, but I’m just as giddy.