Paschimottanasna (Intense Western Stretch) is definitely one where the metaphor of "a steady drip of water hollows out stone" (i.e. patience & persistence) applies.
So many begin their Yoga practice with the torso and the legs at a 90 degree angle due to tight hamstrings. Perhaps due to many years of sports without much stretching or sitting in a chair all day at school and/or work for years (or both).
Not to worry, the hamstrings can lengthen out again and remove strain from your back. But it will take time. Give it about 8 to 12 months of consistent practice to start seeing significant change. There will be no immediate gratification here. No short cuts.
The hardest part is showing up. Greater than the reward of of having a stronger and more supple body is becoming the one who did not quit. Once you develop that muscle you can apply it to any seemingly insurmountable challenge that confronts you.
To watch a video demonstration of Paschimottanasana linked together with other postures in Vinyasa Yoga click here.
To watch a video tutorial going over Paschimottanasana or to receive hands on guidance by enrolling in our classes locally click on the buttons below.
Boat pose definitely takes time to polish up. I know that I could say that about every posture but this one is quite difficult for people, which I attribute to so many folks in general just having a weak core (an often neglected area if the body) to start. But don't worry, we're going to get you stronger!
Some key points = 1. Keep your butt on the floor! See that you don't roll onto your sacrum or lower back. 2. Bend the knees to start. In the beginning the feet might only be an inch off the floor. 3. Keep the back from lowering or rounding while lifting the chest up, drawing the shoulders back and the lower abdomen in.
With proper guidance, patience, persistence, consistent practice and hard work the legs will straighten to about a 45 degree angle from the floor without letting the back round or collapse toward. The aforementioned are the key ingredients to building a posture or a practice. It takes time, but not too much! Watch you don't fall into the trap of being so patient that a decade goes by. If after 12 or 18 months your Navasana / Boat Pose isn't looking much like the one pictured above then one or more of these key ingredients is most likely missing.
This brings us to another aspect of practice which is self-study (Svadhyaya) or evaluation. If we truly want to know if we are working well on achieving something with patience, persistence, consistency and zeal, then look at the results. How much closer are you to the aim than you were 6 or 12 months ago? The proof is in the results. There is no hiding it.
Boat, like many of the postures that I put in my classes, is not complicated. It is simple, but not easy. Any body can achieve it with consistent, deliberate practice. And it is in the process of getting there, not so much the achievement of boat that we receive the most benefit. Yes, having a strong core is necessary to get you through life, but much more than that is the ability to face and overcome uncomfortable and difficult challenges that confront us all of the time. Wether they are in our Yoga practice or daily life.
To watch a video demonstration of Boat Pose click here.
To watch a video tutorial going over Boat Pose or to receive hands on guidance by enrolling in our classes locally click on the buttons below.
This is one of the first yoga postures that I was introduced to, and it immediately sold me on continuing with practicing, which has now turned into 20 years. Tree pose is simple but not easy. It demands that your mind be focused and present in order to stand tall on one foot, keep your breathing calm and deep without falling over. And if you do fall (which is also part of practice), not giving in to negative thoughts of frustration or anger...just assess what caused the fall (perhaps thinking of something else or not paying attention to details), recalibrate, and start again.
As I already mentioned, keep in mind that falling is part of practice, and with practice you will be able to get good at falling, keeping your breathing calm and therefore your mind whilst you fall is just as much advanced practice as never falling. Falling and getting back up and trying again is progress.
To watch a video of DY students practicing Tree Pose / Vrksasana click here.
To watch a video tutorial going over Tree Pose or to receive hands on guidance by enrolling in our classes locally click on the buttons below.
Don't let this posture scare you. It just takes guidance, patience and persistence to develop. Historically it seems to be one of the postures that new students set as a goal to achieve and I think that it is a good goal to set. As long as one does not have any pre existing neck issues this posture is not complicated and can be achieved by everyone with consistent practice and the pursuit and mastery of it will result in a more confident, focused and disciplined person than the one who began working on it.
To watch a video demonstration of entering and exiting Head Stand / Sirsasana click here.
To watch a video tutorial to help you with your headstand as well as other practice videos and tutorials or to enroll in our classes locally and receive hands on assistance click on the buttons below.
Jason D Schramm