Asana Wishes and Handstand Dreams

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December 21, 2011

Do you have a yoga asana (pose) that you dream of doing? Maybe it’s adho mukha vrksasana (the elusive handstand) or a challenging arm balancing asana like bakasana (crow or sometimes called crane) or astavakrasana (eight-angle) pose.

It’s the time of year where I do a lot of dreaming and goal setting, so I thought it was a good idea to start putting some dreams out into the universe for the poses that I want to master in the coming year.

In a Kathryn Budig Aim True workshop I recently attended, she referred to dream poses as challenge poses. She talked about the fact that we often set goals to accomplish many poses at one time, when in actuality we should pick only one or two poses per year to really apply ourselves to; we should dedicate the time needed to build up the strength and flexibility to achieve one goal, one asana at a time.

Good thinking, Kathryn! I’m a habitual overachiever, so I took Kathryn’s advice to heart when I selected my top two DREAM POSES for 2012. (I prefer the word “dream” over “challenge.”)

2012 Dream Poses

My #1 dream asana is crow. I can do it now…but just barely. I don’t have the confidence that I should have; I wobble and hold it for about 5 seconds tops. By the end of 2012, I want to ROCK crow pose. I want to be able to jump into it from downward dog and hold it steady for at least a minute. I may even post some videos on The DDD next year to track my progress and the celebration when I finally get there!

My #2 dream asana will be to take crow pose one step further and move into parsava bakha (side crow pose).

The long-term plan is to eventually – someday or some year – move into mayurasana (peacock pose). I figure if Bette Calman can do this pose at age 83, I need to get there sometime before I hit 70. And, can I just say that it is going to take a ton of core and arm strengthening to get me where I want to go in each one of these asanas.

I have to add one more pose that I’m going to work really hard on this coming year (like I said – overachiever). Savasana is one of the easiest poses to get into, but in actuality, it is probably one of the most unbelievably challenging poses I know. I think every yogi should set a goal to master savasana in 2012, to strive during each yoga practice to fully relax, let go, and receive the full benefits.

So what’s your dream pose for 2012? Have some fun with me and set a goal for yourself. Leave me a comment, and I’ll check in throughout the year to follow everyone’s progress. I hope you will keep me in check and motivated as well!

You don’t have to pick something super challenging; it could be an asana that you’ve struggled with getting into proper alignment, or you could set a goal to simply move your foot higher up your leg in tree pose. Make it something that is attainable based on your abilities, but don’t compromise – dream BIG!

Thanks to @SuddenlySus for inspiring this post a while back on Twitter. Her dream pose is to do a handstand unassisted, so go for it in 2012, Sus! I’ll be checking in with you.

Handstand Image: Jakub Sopicki

Leave a Comment

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Sharon Summerall December 21, 2011 at 7:26 AM

Crow is mine too. I took a bad fall a few years ago and broke my ankle…. every Time i try crow my heart races! That and carpal tunnel but am determine to conquer it in 2012!


Susan December 21, 2011 at 7:31 AM

I love this idea of mastering one or two during a year. And holy cow thank you for posting that link to Bette Calman. That’s incredibly inspiring.


Holly December 21, 2011 at 8:01 AM

I would love to see some youtube videos!

There are many poses I have yet to do. If I can at least get into crow once in 2012 that would be awesome!

Getting into a full plow would also be great.


Thais December 21, 2011 at 8:31 AM

hmmmm maybe my #1 pose this year will be handstand… there’s something so awesome about coming into it slowly and powerfully. I can’t wait to see your progress!!


Meredith LeBlanc ૐ December 21, 2011 at 8:47 AM

I’ve been focusing on improving my pincha mayurasana this year ~ I have no trouble doing it with the wall but I’d really like to be able to do it without. I’m trying to find that control of just stepping up into it rather than hopping. I’m getting there…

One of my favorite tips in bakasana is to remind students to keep their toes and feet pointed ~ this helps me keep the lift and keep my legs active.



Maria @dailydownwarddog December 21, 2011 at 9:04 AM

Meredith – Your dream pose is absolutely beautiful (the english name is feathered peacock pose)! Thanks for the tips on crow – I can use all the help I can get!


sarah carter December 21, 2011 at 9:56 AM

Thanks for simplifying my ‘dream poses’ journey – 2 at a time best advice and taking a year, so this time next year..mmmmm sweet ease in 8 angle pose and handstand. Thanks for brilliant blog


Rachel @ Suburban Yogini December 21, 2011 at 11:23 AM

Well I’ve had a little kick in the teeth asana wise this year in have found out I am osteopenic (which is the preliminary stage of osteoperosis). As I await my Bone Scan in the new year I’m thinking about the fact that this means no weighted flexion, no lateral extension, no rotation maybe ever again.

I am lucky enough to be armed with a wealth of anatomy and therapy knowledge and a fabulous support network who know all about osteoperosis and can work my asana practice accordingly, but for me 2012 will be about cultivating other limbs of yoga – which in many ways is even more important.

(PS – can’t believe I came out about osteopenia on your blog – haven’t even blogged about it myself yet!!!)


Maria @dailydownwarddog December 21, 2011 at 11:47 AM

Rachael – thanks for coming out on The DDD 🙂 You have been such a huge supporter over the past year – so THANKS! Wishing you a beautiful year of yoga – and you’re right it’s not all about the asanas, so you will have a wonderful journey!


Shea December 21, 2011 at 12:39 PM

I would like to be able to bring my leg smoothly forward between my hands during sun salutations, I have been working on this for awhile and at times I’ve almost reached it, I don’t know if it is my alignment or why it is so difficult for me to do.



Liz December 21, 2011 at 12:48 PM

hm… this is soo good because my mind totally jumps to like 5 poses i want (need to if you ask my inner self.. she’s a little needy today) to “finally get down”… but if i had to pick one.. hanumanasana.. splits.. i used to be able to do them when i was younger, but have since lost the flexibility.. my crow always ends up in a dead arm (knee to bicep = hitting a nerve.. every time).. and once i open up in the splits, i’ll work on holding my 8-angle.. excellent post maria! xo and happy holidays to you and yours lovely lady!


Shea December 21, 2011 at 12:59 PM

Thank you for your blog, you inspire me; there seems alot of asanas I’m unable to do due to health issues but who knows one day I may get there. I hope to return to do going to some yoga classes in 2012, restorative for now. I also love learning Sanskrit, chants, and hand mudras. In the meantime my home pracctice helps to keep me balanced and so much more.

Love and Light


sean December 21, 2011 at 5:24 PM

pinchamayarasana is definitely a challenge pose for me in 2012. i can get into it up against the wall and hold it with juuuuuuuust my itty bitty tippy toe touching the wall, but i want to be able to just kick my legs up in the middle of the room. and then into scorpion, of course!


Braja December 23, 2011 at 8:52 AM

Dream pose? Urdhva Dhanurasana, which I much more easily refer to as “table pose” 🙂 After a near-death car accident a few years back, and a slow and aching adjustment to the body every day since through yoga, it’s the one asana I’m dreaming of, longing for, working slowly towards….can’t WAIT :))


Suzanne December 23, 2011 at 2:03 PM

I’m not sure. I’d have to think about this one. There are several I want to do better.


Cathy December 30, 2011 at 1:55 AM

Go for the side crow Maria!!! I’ve been working on it this year and…yikes, it is really HARD but fun to work on. I have not made much progress but there’s always THIS YEAR! I think I will work on doing HANDSTAND away from the wall now. I need it to get up but I don’t need it to stay up. I manage to do headstand without a wall now, can handstand be next???? It’s fun to have goals. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU MY FRIEND!


Danielle December 30, 2011 at 9:31 PM

Hi Maria,
What a treat to meet you earlier this week! And thanks for your sweet message on my blog. I love your writing style, you definitely have a new follower! Oh, and my dream posture for 2012 is mastering full camel…definitely do-able…and maybe scorpion too.


Maria b January 1, 2012 at 10:24 AM

My pose is a perfectly unassisted headstand… I set that pose for last year but I really need to practice and take the time to accomplish it!


Nancy April 24, 2012 at 8:26 AM

At 58 years young and only 2 years practicing yoga I gave myself my own goal this year of doing a backbend by the time I’m 60. I know I can do this I have amazing teachers who inspire me all the time.


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