Saturday, November 6, 2010

What might your favourite asanas say about you?

I've talked about my least favourite yoga asana: savasana (corpse pose), but what about our favourites?

I'll be honest, yoga has been a bit on a vacation in my life right now- one maybe two practices a week. I feel a little like a fraud with the blogs and such, but I know that a yoga will be there in a few weeks when I'm ready to return more consistently.

Funny, but I've been a bit nostalgic during this yoga-less time, daydreaming about practicing, about my favourite poses.
I love feeling like I can fly, even if my face turns red!

I have lots of asanas that I really like, mostly the ones that make me feel strong and powerful. I wonder if we are drawn to those poses that give us what we need or what we wish we were. For example, I have never been a strong or athletic person. While practicing I love the feeling that maybe for a few moments in certain poses I can morph into "strong athletic Lisa"- the one who may have grown up playing sports and such. Not that I don't love artsy fartsy, sensitive non-sport Lisa... I think it's like all of us, we have moments wondering what it would have been like to be a little different.

So my favourite asanas include chaturanga, warrior II, extended side angle, half moon and side plank. Another theme that pops up from this list is postures that stretch out, extend and have room to grow. If we contrast these with my least favourite asanas- reversed triangle, forward folds that compress and go inward I guess I have a pretty clear preference.

Perhaps it has to do with my job, sitting at a desk, crouching down to play with children (I love my job, don't get me wrong). Or maybe it's my personality- it's so much easier to be outward, to extend and reach than it is to be introspective and confront all the little bits of my Self.

The asana that I have longing moments wishing for at random times during the day? Downward dog.... yep an inversion that allows me to stretch out my back and my shoulders and my legs. Love.

What about you? Take a look at your favourite asanas... what might they say about you? If you feel like it's something you're attaching negative emotions, practice taking a few moments of recognition and acceptance. Acceptance does not have to mean stagnation- we will grow further when we know where we are. As cliché'd as that sounds. :)

Blessings to you!

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  1. I love anything that opens my hips and shoulders - so triangle then. I just love love love it!

  2. it's an interesting discussion, i'd like to hear your feedback on favorite pose is pigeon...of course i've been doing this since i was a dancer as it's one of the best stretches to get into the splits...also love my legs in butterfly then lying back...with exception of shoulder stand, i'm not good with inversions, they get me a little panicky...and the simple twist, it sounds funny but it's a tough one for me, a former yoga teacher told me it's about wringing yourself out and letting things go...hmmm...

  3. I think about this a lot. My favorite asana is Vrksasana - Tree Pose. I love the rootedness, the reaching and extension, the balance. It is "simple," yet magical and difficult. There are other postures that I need at times, but I can think of no time when I do not want to do Tree. Sometimes, I even stand in Tree at the grocery store (without the branches, of course). I also love trees, love them. I live in AZ, so I do not get a lot of them, but when I do, my heart reaches out to them just as it does in Tree Pose. Yay! Perhaps I just need more trees in my life.

  4. My long-time favorite is pigeon--which, I realize a lot of people hate so much that I've heard teachers apologize for making them do it in class. Then, I've also heard peoople talk about how wonderful and luxurious my least favorite pose, shoulderstand, is...

    Of course, my new favorite is the transition from wild thing to wheel...just 'cause it makes me feel like a totally badass yogi...

  5. Rebecca, it is wonderful to read about your love of tree pose. It is one of my favourites too and I also find myself practicing at the grocery store while reading labels, or while cooking and chatting with my roommates. Balance poses have always been a yoga challenges for me. Living in the north above the tree line, I miss trees terribly, but I enjoy the thought of being the tallest tree around for miles and miles. I do yoga with my preschool class and I love hanging out in downward facing dog with them. The pose changes every day depending on their imaginations, but my favourite recent adaption was downward facing giraffe.

  6. Such an interesting question! I love the feeling of flying too - Ardha Chandrasana is my favorite for that. The openness, the expanse - I just feel like I could zoom off into the sky. Maybe I need to bring more of that feeling of expansiveness into my life? Conversely, forward bends and twists -- more inward looking and subdued poses -- are comfortable, maybe because I tend to be an introvert.

  7. as i say when I'm teaching... pigeon is my favourite because the only way to get deeper is to completely let go.
    I also love poses which open up hips/ quads (such a runner!)... thread the needle, sleeping hero. sigh... could go for those any time.

  8. Tree has always been my favorite pose. I love the balance of inward reflection and outward awareness. And I love trees in general so there you go. My yoga practice is totally off the mat these days...but still I consider myself a dedicated yogini. I practice pranayama, meditation and sometimes when I have the energy, supine asanas in bed...I practice ahimsa...Yoga is a lifestyle choice, it is spiritual practice and the way we interact with others and ourselves in the world... it is so much more than asanas. I'm guessing you are practicing much more than you realize.

  9. @Rachel: maybe that is linked to opening emotional stuff? haha, i am so not a fan of triangle :)

    @EcoGrrl: interesting. sounds like you have a few ideas as to why... i have a hard time letting go- so those poses are difficult for me- but i need to practice more of them.

    @Rebecca: i love tree too! well especially on days where my balance is great. I missed the leafy-trees when we lived in the okanagan valley. I missed the sound they make when it's windy...

    @Dr.Jay: haha wild thing to wheel IS badass!! congrats :) So it sounds like you like two seemingly opposite asanas.

    @Emily Anne: I know, wasn't it beautiful? Living above the tree-line would definitely be challenging for someone who loves trees! I agree that there is something awesome about achieving a posture that has been difficult- like balancing successfully in tree!

    @Walking Barefoot- you've found a balance between postures! that is wonderful. :)

    @Callah- you and Rachel! ;)

    @LauraX: you're probably right of course, my practice has changed slightly these past few weeks.

    it's funny- so far the trend is pigeon and tree are the favourites!

  10. I have so many favorite asanas . . . it just depends on the day. What I struggle with the most are the asanas I like the least. I know they have the most to show me but it doesn't make them any more pleasant.

  11. I once took a class called "The Hidden Language of Yoga" in which each class was dedicated to a particular asana and we meditated upon the meaning each pose had for us. I loved it!

    My favorite has always been Fish pose. Fish are deeply symbolic in my life (uh ... hence the name) and I love the way it opens up the chest. I also love the change of perspective, looking at the world along the floor.

    For sheer fun, though, I'm a big fan of parsvottanasana. I just love the stretch.

  12. I'm trying to find themes in my own and I can't. My absolute least favorite pose is pigeon. In fact, I have recently given myself "permission" not to ever to it. I have tried many approahes - modification, acceptance, slow deep breathing, shorter holding times, distraction, humming, giving in to the pose - and I just hate it. There are other ways to open my hips and fronts of thighs that, although they may be challenging, I don't hate so much that I would often put off my yoga practice. My favorite poses are any kind of twists, and headstand.
    Great topic though.

  13. I love Triangle and Down Dog. I like most twisting poses, too. And I love doing my version of Almost Crow! (Still can't quite get up.)


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