Sianna Sherman's Yoga of the Heart
I had a breakthrough today. For the first time in three years of yoga practice my feet lifted up when I tried to go into Bakasana (Crane Pose). Granted they only stayed up for a brief five seconds, but it's the small progressions that drive me to keep trying. As I've heard so many times this weekend: that's why they call it practice.
This was my first Anusara class, and it really opened my eyes to the mechanics of a lot of different poses. I really had no idea what a huge difference opening through of the chest and the could make in almost every pose. I've had teachers who have preached moving the shoulder blades back onto the back, but I think I needed a whole day of practice with this to get a sense of how dramatically it can improve not only the way poses look, but also how they feel. No wonder I've had such problems with my shoulders and neck throbbing at the end of a stressful day. Even though yoga has improved that area, I think that this one, simple act of opening my heart throughout my practice could finally put an end to my troubles--or at least help me deal with them more efficiently.
The idea of opening the heart is a nice thought taken figuratively, too. Life is a lot easier if we open our hearts to new experiences, new people, new places, and even new styles of yoga. When we open our hearts during asana, it makes our bodies more flexible. We can arch our backs more in Cobra and Wheel. When we open our hearts in life, it could help us be more flexible, and better at living. The more you put yourself in situations that make you feel a little uneasy, the better you'll get at dealing with those situations.
I'm hoping that will be my experience with Bakasana (Crane Pose), too. As cliche as it sounds, you never know what you're capable of if you don't try. I've avoided trying it for three years, but when I opened my heart, my feet floated away from the floor. And if I hadn't gone to Sianna Sherman's all-day intensive today, I would've missed out on a lot more than that.