People often launch into a conversation with me about “wanting to, or having the nudge to practice yoga”, but often push yoga away as too challenging, or not for them because they aren’t flexible enough. Many say they took a class or two, and it was a sweaty, draining, run-away disaster. Others insist Yoga doesn’t give them that cardio rush they only get with other work outs. I feel compelled to share with all of you one of the mini-conversations that cycles through my thoughts as I live out each day, and the recurring tag line is “THIS IS WHY I DO YOGA!” Seriously, why I practice yoga is because it has become my go-to, mindfulness and movement tool that allows me to accomplish many things that I may otherwise struggle achieving.
This first entry is going to reflect my weekly hiking adventures with my yearling Chocolate Lab, named Rey. She and I hike three to five days a week. We both crave exercise, and this time of the year the stream run off is abundantly raging! For the past month, Rey and I have been hiking our favorite trail that crosses a mountain run-off stream over a quirky, man-made bridge. This bridge is a sophisticated, balance beam, matrix of tree branches.
Every time I set out to balance over this bridge, I love the challenge of the unpredictable nature of the logs, slippery stones, and muddy riverbank. The logs often shift and move, and will tangle up your ankles if you step carelessly into them. My dog Rey, gallops by, frequently splashes me, bites the bridge, and makes me laugh, so its very interactive. Every time I cross successfully, I have this exclamation point moment….….”THIS IS WHY I DO YOGA!” I can honestly feel the carryover from the hours teaching yoga, and my own self practice on my mat that help me master this obstacle. It’s the combined effort of wanting to challenge myself, test my balance, but also have a developed, regular practice that helps me perform the ideal strength, and stability movements in an easeful, playful way.
When I am on my yoga mat, in self-practice, my favorite yoga pose that supports my bridge crossing is Warrior I (Vera Baddrasana I). Target areas: static balance, ankle joint stability, calf muscle flexibility, focused and consistent body awareness in a narrow, athletic stance. Bonus, the stride pattern of balance stance, and warrior nature, give me permission to go for it! I challenge you to find your favorite yoga pose, shape, asana, and see how it strengthens your life adventures off the mat as well!