do the work (it works)

Yesterday I did a pose for the first time:

Eka Pada Koundinyasana 2  (Split leg arm balance)
Eka Pada Koundinyasana 2
Split leg arm balance

Still pretty messy, yet just a couple short weeks ago, I tried this and was nowhere near getting either foot off the ground. What changed? Simple. I did the prep work.

Now, my point is not to demonstrate that I work hard, or to show off any kind of moves (hashtag yoga selfies). Rather, I want to shine light on the fact that I am 100% human, and like many others, I find ways to cheat the system or take the easy way out, sometimes without even realizing I’m doing so.

One example: lizard pose. In lizard, stacking my front knee directly over my ankle and hugging knee in toward midline for the closed-hip pose, gets pretty deep in that sticky part of my hips. You know, that spot right where it’s just uncomfortable enough that, despite knowing I should stay there and breathe into it, some days I simply do not want to. Cue the easy way out (for me, at least): turning my knee out slightly. I still get a decent stretch, but it feels a little less sticky.

lizard poseNote: there is a variation of lizard in which the knee turns out. This is not wrong. It just serves a different intention by targeting other muscles.

Recently, I changed my lizard approach. I chose to stay with the version of the pose that felt least comfortable, hugging my bent knee in toward my shoulder. By no longer cheating myself from this pose, I took the necessary action to prepare my body for the next step, in this case, split leg arm balance. Just a little glimmer of proof that while taking the easy way may feel better for the near term, doing the work over time goes further than I can imagine.

6.9.14 photo 56.9.14 photo 6If you want more info on split leg arm balance and how to prep for this (as well as other arm balances), this site has a ton of helpful hints!

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