I was practicing yoga last night at my studio (I am a member at The Studio DC and I truly cannot recommend it enough. Two amazing studios one in Dupont Circle and the other in Adams Morgan) and I got to thinking about grace. Recently I was having a conversation with my mom, who is beyond wise, and she asked me why I have to make everything a goal? What is wrong with just enjoying something simply as an experience, instead of always striving to get better? That really made me think. Sometimes in yoga, I get so focused on improving the postures in which I struggle, I lose sight of the simple joys of more basic postures. I’m not exactly a dainty girl… graceful has rarely been used to describe me. Solid?Powerful? Yes. Graceful? Not so much. But last night in class, I tried to focus on one part of each posture that I enjoyed simply because it is beautiful or graceful. Then I thought I might share it with you:
1. The internal pinky rotation in Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I) – this looks beautiful and helps me keep my shoulders down and relaxed. Sparked and engaged fingers add a “ballerina” feel to this pose.
2. The forward / backward arm extension in Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II) – my arms should actually be more level but let’s focus on my hands.
3. The scapular engagement in Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog) – pulling down your shoulder blades and internally rotating your elbows not only looks beautiful, but it feels incredible.
4. The open palmed hands of Navasana (Boat) – I just love this pose. It looks effortless.
5. The cupped hands and connected feet of Bakasana (Crow) – gripping the floor with your fingers helps protect your wrists in this arm balance, but it looks so complete with strong hands and big toes touching.
6. The pelvic tuck of Utkatasana (Chair) – I love the lines of this pose when the pelvis is properly tucked under.
7. The shoulder allignment of Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle) – The straight line of the shoulders looks so beautiful tucked inside the front leg.
8. Everything about Vrksasana (Tree) – This pose is just gorgeous. You have this wonderful combination of opposing forces in the legs, and the beautiful extension in the arms. It’s such a basic balancing pose but it’s definitely one of my all time favorites.
I’m not saying I won’t continue to try and improve… because some of the advanced poses are just too much fun (see below). But it’s nice to stop and switch up your focus every once in a while. Namaste 🙂
** Photo credits to Sarah Jenkins. Thanks Sarah!!