One of my favorite things about yoga, especially ashtanga yoga, is seeing my own growth. Because we do the same thing every day, I can tell day to day how a pose is changing and feeling different. I can actually feel things changing. Some times, this happens without any help and instruction, but 9 times out of 10 a teacher will say something to me, something that I have probably heard before more often than not, but it just clicks and like magic, things change.
My hope with this series is to share one of my favorite tips from some of my favorite teachers because maybe it will be the right time for you too!
So, to get us started, I'm going to start with my most recent favorite tip. To be completely honest, I have a bit of a love/hate (a lot of the time it is mostly hate) relationship with back bends. They hurt for years, frustrated me when they stopped hurting, and they still make my heart race. I recently learned how to drop back and stand up, and most importantly stand up from urdhva dhanurasana. It is all so hard, but I love that it is starting to click.
Recently, after AYP moved to our new space, my practice has changed so drastically because of the wonderful insights of our teacher, Susan Rowland. Although I have loved all the advice I have gotten, Susan recently gave me a life changing (at least when it comes to my back bends) tip. Look for your toes. That is right. I know it sounds so simple, but it makes so much sense, and when I do it, my back opens up and everything feels so much better (and lighter).
When I drop back and stand up, I have this moment where I am hanging and I can feel my head tipping back (towards my feet) and it allows me to control the decent so I land softly and I am able to come up with relative ease. However, starting from the floor is another story. I often feel stuck (a common issue--find a pose where you can feel glued to the ground and I have been there), but recently after starting to look for my feet, I can feel myself getting deeper and ultimately, lighter.
So, ladies and gentlemen, this month's tip from our very own Susan Rowland is look for your feet. Give it a try and let me know if it makes a difference for you like it did for me.