Back in December of 2011, I put a stake in the ground and proclaimed that bakasana (crow pose) was my 2012 dream pose. And if that wasn’t good enough, I even went as far to proclaim that by the end of the year I was setting my sights to master parsva bakasana (side crow) as well. This was quite ballsy for me, mind you, because in the past I haven’t been one to herald my New Year’s resolutions.
The cool thing, though, about having a blog and a community of yoga followers is that I have a vehicle to invite my readers along for the ride and nudge them to publicly proclaim their very own dream poses. When I did, I was blown away by the honest and courageous comments about where they wanted to take their yoga practices in 2012.
I promised to check in with them and with you on the progress, so here is my official mid-year dream pose check-in.
On May 14, this is the update that I sent out to everyone who left a comment:
“I have made some small steps in improving my crow pose. Unfortunately, I experienced some pain in my left wrist, probably as a result of too many chaturangas (and maybe a little arthritis), so I have been nursing my wrist back to good health, which meant no arm balances. I’m still working on building up my upper body and core strength so I can hold the pose longer, but I have had a few small yoga victories where I’ve held the pose longer than I ever had, and that has felt great!”
Here is my update from June 6:
I rose early to a gorgeous morning and decided to do my yoga practice on the beach while enjoying the beautiful sunshine and the sound of the rolling waves. As I was doing my practice I thought to myself, “Maria, let’s give that crow pose a try. The wrists are feeling good, and you need to check in on your progress, so go for it.”
I got my hands in position and started to bring the knees up on the arms and just kind of gracefully flowed into the pose. No wobbles, no “oh shit, I’m never going to be able to hold this,” and no fear that I was going to land on my head. Instead, it magically felt like the way crow pose is supposed to feel. I focused on my breath and started to count how many long steady breaths I could actually get through while still holding the pose. The count was…SEVEN!
Surely, this must be a fluke, I thought. So, I rested for a few breaths, tried it a second time, and nailed my crow pose again! Now, I was really embracing my inner yogini rock-star mode!
I went on to another pose with a big honking grin on my face and decided that I needed to go back to the crow pose one more time, just to make sure I really could hold it that long—and because it felt so damn good.
The third time was not only a charm, but it got me officially hooked on bakasana. Now I know why so many yogis and yoginis love this pose!
The moral of this story and why I’m going to such great lengths to tell about the repeated attempts is to make this point: We’re All Stronger Than We Think We Are! I probably could have held crow pose this long for quite a while, but I avoided it, or maybe even psyched myself out of being able to do it.
Now that I know I can hold the pose, there’s no stopping me!
Wow – I love these yoga victories. They come in small doses and eventually add up to a really joyous feeling, and I got to experience a major yoga victory today. Side crow, here I come.
I’m not the only one with a yoga victory under her Lululemons; check out the progress some special DDD readers have made on their very own yoga dream poses.
I am excited to report that I have made great progress on my goal…which was to do handstand. At least I am quite sure that is what I wrote or maybe I didn’t write it, but that was my goal! I CAN DO HANDSTAND! Yay! Against the wall, of course, but I don’t need the wall once I am up. I DON’T DO IT EVERY TIME I try. It doesn’t always happen. I’m learning that my breath does affect getting up. I’ve always thought my wrists were weak; they are (I had an injury two years ago), but they seem to be doing better now, though still wish they were stronger. The strength has to come from the core and pecs for handstand. I LOVE it when I do get up. I can EASILY now do HEADSTAND in the middle of the room, which was probably also a goal of mine, but the handstand really gives me an amazing feeling of freedom, I think because the head is completely off the floor.
Maria: WooHoo, Cathy, that is awesome!
I haven’t really decided which one to focus on. I’ve been trying to incorporate more yoga into my workout routine in general.
Maria: Hey Susan – it’s all good! Keep practicing yoga. That is a great intention to put out there.
What a lovely idea to follow up on dream poses! Sorry to hear of your wrist injury, but glad to hear you’re making progress!
I have kind of an unusual follow up, feel free to use as much or as little of it as you like…Full camel! So I spent the first few months of 2012 training for a yoga asana competition (usayoga.org). Thanks to a regular training routine that included 30 – 40 wallbends/day (walking the hands down the wall to the floor, then pressing the chest up against the wall in a bridge, then walking back up), I was able to build enough flexibility to get into full camel two weeks before nationals. Unfortunately, two weeks of full camel wasn’t enough to overcome the nerves onstage, so I let my hips sink backwards too much, scrabbled around for my ankles, gave up, and grabbed my toes. Oops… a little embarrassing, but we live and learn!
If you’re curious, you can actually watch it here (full camel is about 2:25 minutes in):
Full camel achieved nonetheless. My next dream pose, to be accomplished by February 2013, is…one legged wheel!
Maria: Wow – Danielle that video blew me away! Your routine is beautiful. I’ve never been a fan of turning yoga into a competition, but it looks like it has been a great experience for you. For those of you who live in the greater Cleveland area and want to try out Bikram yoga, Danielle is one of the awesome instructors at Bikram Yoga Cleveland.
There’s still time to start working on a dream pose for 2012. Just remember not to take on too many poses, but rather, just focus on one or two. It doesn’t even have to be a more difficult pose. Maybe your dream pose is to be more present in your practice and during savasana.
Wishing you happy headstands and fulfilled dreams, and I’ll be sure to check back in again with my parsva bakasana updates. If you have a yoga victory to share, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear about it.