Feeling Inspired (Yoga)

Okay, okay, I lied – I do feel inspired this week.

Why am I inspired?

I am inspired because yesterday I took the day off from work due to my IBS stomach (ugh) and I went to an amazing yoga class that helped me feel better. My favorite yoga classes are always classes from teachers who share meaningful insight, mantras, or stories. It helps when the things they share take my mind off of an uncomfortable pose, too.

Lessons learned from my yoga teacher

1. Feeling is more important than seeing.

Close your eyes. How does your body feel? Where does your mind begin to wander? Don’t worry about how your body looks; focus on how it feels. Do this in yoga class, but do it in real life too.

  • Are you full? You don’t know? Close your eyes – Maybe you need more to be satisfied but maybe you can push the plate away now.
  • Bored or stressed at work? Close your eyes (let’s hope you have a cube – I can’t do this at work). What do you need to do to move past it? Are you really bored or are you avoiding something?
  • Are you mad? Take a moment and close your eyes. Is what you are mad about really that important? Is it worth what you are feeling? If yes, then by all means stand behind your opinion. If not though, maybe let it go and move on.

2. Tree pose progression.

  • In pose, staring at something in front of you… –>
  • In pose, staring upwards… –>
  • In pose, closing your eyes.
  • The last one is obviously the hardest. Because you are looking inward and feeling; you don’t have sight to help you balance. Feel your belly button and try to be balanced. My old teacher in California had a good mantra to use to stay focused and balanced while in tree pose – it was just to repeat silently, “asana, asana, asana, …” (asana = pose) to keep your mind present. Tree pose is a pose where the mind tends to wander.

3. I finally did side crow! (Just had to stick that one in there.)

side crow Feeling Inspired (Yoga)

Source.

(My legs weren’t quite that straight.)

I don’t think I have ever tried side crow before; I’m not a big fan of crow pose in general. I do headstands and almost-away-from-the-wall-handstands, but crow makes me uncomfortable.* However, yoga is about trying new things, so I tried side crow, and I thought it was great. It was challenging but fun.

*Note: fish pose is another pose I absolutely despise.

The hardest poses are usually the poses in which it is easiest to stay mindful – you have to focux on the pose, otherwise you will fall! I don’t feel the same sense of mindfulness when I plop into triangle (I guess I shouldn’t “plop” into any pose though).

What was the last thing you learned (from someone, or on your own)?

What is your least favorite yoga pose? (Not a question often asked!)

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23 Comments on Feeling Inspired (Yoga)

  1. Christie - Honoring Health
    13 October, 2010 at 7:37 am (4 years ago)

    Awesome lessons!

    My least favorite pose – hhhhmmmm – that is a hard question. I don’t really know that I have a least favorite. I truly like and feel open to at least trying them all. Oh, wait, I don’t like binding – at all. It feels so restricting to me and makes me super angry.

    • Maggie
      14 October, 2010 at 11:45 pm (4 years ago)

      @Christie: That’s so interesting! I love binding. I actually like it more than the regular pose, which is kind of strange? I wonder what it means…

      • Christie - Honoring Health
        15 October, 2010 at 5:42 am (4 years ago)

        For me, I am sure the binding represents restriction and negative associations with those feelings – feelings I used to push away for a while. So, now, in yoga, I have a choice and I choose not to. Does that make sense?

        • Maggie
          15 October, 2010 at 6:41 am (4 years ago)

          @Christie: Yes, that makes sense completely (it may work with me too – sometimes I find comfort/relief from anxiety in restricting – not that that is a good thing!).

  2. melissa @ the delicate place
    13 October, 2010 at 9:08 am (4 years ago)

    last thing i learned was probably how to exercise patience and diplomacy in a rough situation that left me very stressed out. my husband is the king of cool. seriously. i don’t know how he does it! i really love crow pose or headstands (i have never tried a side one either but i think i might be able to hold it for a second haha). i HATE scale pose my wrists feel like they are going to snap!

    • Maggie
      14 October, 2010 at 11:46 pm (4 years ago)

      @Melissa: YES mine is too :D

  3. Rachel
    13 October, 2010 at 10:30 am (4 years ago)

    Last thing I learned: Happiness is more contagious than you think!
    Least favorite yoga pose: That’s a tough one. I’ve been practicing for a while and I’m currently loving my home Ashtanga practice. Oh, I know. I don’t particularly like frog pose. That’s where you kneel, spread your knees with your legs bent at 90, and then lean forward on your elbows while pushing your hips back. No matter what I do my knees hurt cause they’re being mashed into the floor!

    Congrats on side crow! That’s one of my favorite poses too! Headstands are amazing and getting away from the wall is worth it! They make me feel so strong and centered.

    • Maggie
      14 October, 2010 at 11:47 pm (4 years ago)

      @Rachel: Yes, frog is not that fun either!! I really like having a home practice but I find I push myself more when I’m in class. I like the last thing you learned :)

  4. Lisa @ I'm an Okie
    13 October, 2010 at 11:01 am (4 years ago)

    I think feeling is more important than seeing! and I agree that sometimes seeing can make it harder to understand what you are feeling.

    And side crow –looks tough! I have no idea if I can do it! ill have to try!

  5. Betherann
    13 October, 2010 at 11:55 am (4 years ago)

    Way to rock side crow!!! I haven’t even tried that one. I’m impressed! Rock on, inspired/inspiring woman.

  6. T. Lavon Lawrence
    13 October, 2010 at 12:33 pm (4 years ago)

    I so love this blog. For two years I’ve been putting aside a stream of invitation from various acquaintances who teach Yoga, but this entry has inspired me to carve out some time from my schedule to accept and make a rudimentary, beginner try. The mental part will be easy for me as I have developed experience and skill at attention control, mental concentration, and to remain in the present moment, but the PHYSICAL aspect will likely prove a great and fun challenge. I expect I’ll be ‘plopping’ about initially until I acquire a higher level of facility.

    The concept (and skill) to direct and broaden attention – to operate it in a relaxed way so as to consciously ‘KNOW’ what is occurring from moment to moment in body and mind – is a life-changing activity when such experience and skill is carried with one from the exercise mat and out into every area of life.

    That ability to ‘KNOW’ totally changes one’s destiny in the workplace, in relationships, etc.

    Thanks for a great post!

  7. polly
    13 October, 2010 at 1:48 pm (4 years ago)

    hi Maggie!!!

    My least fave yoga pose is PLOW.

    yuck. ouch.

    hehe

    Love you, dear! Have a wonderful day. and way to rock SIDE CROW! That one is only a dream pose for me… sigh. :D

    • Maggie
      14 October, 2010 at 11:48 pm (4 years ago)

      @Polly: you are a yoga inspiration to me, darling! Love your yummy yoga.

  8. Eden
    13 October, 2010 at 2:35 pm (4 years ago)

    As a yoga instructor myself, I try to choose my word wisely. My goal is to have someone leaving my class feeling better. But truly, the best teacher is usually my yoga students. I try to listen to what ails them, what they need more of, what needs to be nurtured and I try to integrate that into the class. A Yoga teacher can make or break your relationship with yoga. Lovely post!
    PS. I it took my about 8 years before I mastered crow pose. Its not all that great of a feeling, its like food. Sure elaborate foods are cool, but its the simple foods (and poses) that feel best.

  9. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)
    13 October, 2010 at 5:59 pm (4 years ago)

    glad you rocked crow! i need a wall in handstand too. my long legs are everywhere and my center of gravity is off without a wall so id rather be safe..than be doing what would that be, a front walkover in gymnastics speak ? Lol

    sorry your IBS was acting up :(

  10. Joy
    13 October, 2010 at 6:42 pm (4 years ago)

    Sorry about your belly! My least favorite is camel or any other where I lean back I feel like I can’t breathe

  11. April
    13 October, 2010 at 7:47 pm (4 years ago)

    Do you know what flared it up? I’ve been doing good for awhile now.

    • Maggie
      14 October, 2010 at 11:48 pm (4 years ago)

      @April: I think I ate too close to bedtime the night before :(

  12. Neela Marijana
    14 October, 2010 at 6:54 am (4 years ago)

    aww the stomach issues! i can realte A LOT!
    does yoga help you? I have found yoga to be really beneficial if i practise light yoga like hatha yoga. anything more tiring will upset my stomach.

    • Maggie
      14 October, 2010 at 11:49 pm (4 years ago)

      @Neela: Yoga is helpful for me because a lot of my IBS comes from stress! So yoga chills me out.

  13. coco
    14 October, 2010 at 1:15 pm (4 years ago)

    I love all the arm balance poses! :D

    hope you’re feeling better today.

  14. clare
    14 October, 2010 at 11:19 pm (4 years ago)

    Congrats on the side crow Maggie! Yesterday I popped a wheel and its been a LONG time since I felt confident with my back issues to do that. Today I did not feel bad from it! I learned (was reminded), or rather got some good advice recently from my mom and from Sister Margaret who leads one of my meditation classes. They both reminded me to stop trying to control life and just let it be.

    My least favorite yoga pose, hrm…I would say right now I can’t think of one that I don’t like!

    • Maggie
      14 October, 2010 at 11:50 pm (4 years ago)

      @clare: yay! Yes, sometimes wheel gives me low-back problems, so I’m careful about it. Very glad that you got some good advice :) Advice from a Margaret is always good :D