home newtoyoga poses practice health health meditation health travel forteachers parenting



RSS Feed

Our free weekly email newsletter on all aspects of the practice.

For teachers: free exclusive articles on teaching, philosophy, and more each month.

Read the stuff we didn't have room for in the magazine!

Yoga Journal Makeover blogs.


« Back To Class | Blog HomePage | The Upward Trend »

Armed with Ego

For the past month, Jason and I have been working on arm balances. He's patiently helping me improve my handstands, forearm balances, and headstands. He has also introduced me to poses such as Tolasana (Scale Pose), Bakasana (Crane Pose), and Parsva Bakasana (Side Crane Pose).

Because my lower body is well-conditioned from years of cycling, running, and rowing—and also thanks to Jason's precise teaching style—standing poses have come along smoothly thus far. While there are always more subtle layers to study, I find I can respond quickly to instructions regarding the lower half of my body.

The arm balances are a whole different story! They are a lot of fun, but they don't come to me naturally at all. I find myself alternating between enjoying the fun new shapes and getting frustrated with my obvious ineptitude at the poses! When we practice arm balances, my scrawny upper body gets tired more easily compared to my big legs in the standing poses. I also notice that arm balances and inversions are a great challenge to my core strength. Often my body fails me before my mind does. So I cannot just push myself harder, which is still my initial response as a competitive athlete. It is a serious lesson in patience.

Also, since these poses are unknown territory, I find myself coming face-to-face with quite a bit of fear. In Crane Pose I am not even two feet from the ground, but somehow not being on my big sturdy legs is a scary proposition. Or, perhaps, I'm scared of looking like a fool and falling on my face (or butt). The point is I'm encountering fear—a totally irrational kind of fear. (Jason even put a bunch of blankets all around to soften the landing if/when I fall. Too bad he can't pad my ego with blankets too!)

So it has been both interesting and surprising to discover these emotions. Jason says that my Bakasana technique is good enough to just practice at home and get more familiar. As it turns out, it is with frequent practice that these emotions are being dissolved away as we speak.

At this point, it has become evident that the learning process is never-ending. For me, the physical benefits of yoga are being outweighed by the emotional/spiritual benefits of gradually letting go of expectations, the drama, and the competitive ego. Whether it be lessons for the mind, body, or spirit, the journey appears to be infinite. If this is what a beginning practice offers, I can only imagine what a lifetime of study could bring!



A woman's center of gravity is around her hips while for us guys it is around our shoulders and chest. In general, for guys Lotus and Triangle are difficult while for women shoulder stands, crane and peacock tend not to come naturally.

At Bikram Yoga Burlington there are several woman instructors and students that have mastered many of the difficult arm balancing poses. These poses bring out a wonderfully feminine strength in these females that is beauty defined. I wish you great success in your efforts.


Ha! "Padding my ego with blankets"- I love it!

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.

By submitting your comments, you indicate your acceptance of Yoga Journal's general Online Privacy Policy and the Blog Comment Registration Policy. )

What is your favorite time of day to practice?

View results

To contact a staff member, please check out Contact YJ.

For editorial submission guidelines, please go to Editorial Guidelines.

Recent Press Releases

Receive RISK FREE Issues of Yoga Journal
and NEW FREE gifts!

Yes! Please send me my FREE trial issue of Yoga Journal and my ALL NEW FREE GIFTS: Better Posture 101 - a digital guide to assessing and improving your posture and Yoga Remedies - a digital guide to postures that relieve common health problems.

If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $15.95, and receive a full one-year subscription (8 issues in all), a 60% savings off the newsstand price!

Otherwise, I'll write cancel on the invoice and owe nothing.

Risk-Free. Just fill out the form and click submit.

Full Name
Address (line 2)
E-mail Address Required

Offer valid in US only

Canadian subscriptions    International subscriptions


Pay now and get 2 EXTRA ISSUES FREE!
That's 9 issues for the same low price!
Click here!

© Copyright 2002. Yoga Journal, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Read our privacy guidelines.
The editorial content of Yoga Journal should not be used as a substitute for professional health care. Talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise regime.