Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Exploring Bakasana

Everyday I learn something new about practicing and teaching yoga. This usually happens by accident. Of course there are also times when I actively seek new knowledge and understanding. For the last few months, something I've been actively exploring is the asana called Bakasana or Crane pose.

For quite some time now I've struggled with this posture. In most balancing asanas there's a "sweet spot" - a place where your body balances in space in just the right way. This place makes the pose feel almost weightless. When you find it, you get a glimpse of all the freedom yoga truly has to offer. Unfortunately for me, that sweet spot had remained elusive in Bakasana...until just a few days ago.

In the midst of a very quiet, relaxed Christmas week at my in-laws, I had a sudden urge to work on Bakasana. On the living room carpet, I crouched and started to work my way into the pose, fully expecting to quickly fall out as usual. But something was different this time. I felt a new sensation in my arms: strength, lightness, length. Suddenly, without even realizing it, I was holding the posture.

Just as quickly the sensation was gone again and I came out of the pose. Notice i said "came out" and not "fell out"; suddenly there existed a new sense of control. Everyday since I've worked on the posture and today I held it for the longest time yet! (we're talking seconds here...not minutes)

So as I continue working on this pose I'll update my progress here. It's a fun thing to experience; finding the perfect sensation in an asana. With dedicated practice, I believe this sensation is available to all of us in every asana we practice. Some feelings of understanding come more quickly than others, just like some asanas are more physically challenging than others. But once you've had that initial "Aha moment" you'll be free to move more deeply into physical, mental and spiritual sensations while practicing yoga postures.

Just for fun, here's a photo of one of my many failed bakasana attempts. The photographer caught it at just the right moment!

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