Although I’ve been practicing yoga for nearly 15 years, there are many poses which I have not yet perfected. I’ve held this belief – that I suspect many of you hold, as well – that there are are certain poses that I’ll never be able to do. I have strength issues and limitations due to my disease and so there are certain poses that I’ve never even tried to do because I’m sure I’ll simply never be able to do them.
But then last year, I was confronted, as I’m sure we all were, with a plethora of instagrams and other photos of people in dancer’s pose. It is the yoga pose of the moment. All of the oh-so-chic-yoginis are doing it – of course, the pop culturalization of this and other aspects of yoga is a blog for another day…
The point is, after seeing all of these images, I set the goal of being able to hold the pose. Like I said, I have a lot of issues with my musculature due to my mitochondrial disease, so I was intimidated by own goal. Then I remembered that dancer’s pose is really no different than bow pose. It’s the same amount of stretching, it just adds the element of balance.
Bow pose is one of my favorite postures. It stretches every part of your body, aligns your joints and corrects the horrible hazards of hunching over a computer all day.
Of course, it’s a lot easier to do this posture lying on your stomach than it is standing on one leg. Balance is not my strong suit. In fact, I flunk at balance.
Or at least I used to flunk at balance.
Since setting my goal of holding dancer’s pose, my balance has gotten so much better.
Dancer’s pose has become my nightly ritual. It’s my nightly meditation, my nightly stance of prayer.
At first, it was not easy. I’d fall over after 5 seconds and I’d wake up with immense pains in my side from the stretch. But through perseverance, I’m able to hold this position for a full minute. Sure, that’s not earth shattering, but going from 5 seconds to a minute is an accomplishment. This has been especially difficult when balancing on my left side because I have severe hip problems and major muscle issues there. Still, I’m slowly strengthening things and while it’s not as easy as the right side, it is improving over time.
My next goal is to get to three minutes on each side. I won’t consider myself a balance expert, but at least I’ll be better than I was.