This month I turned 30.
You know how sometimes, when you've been working on this pose for a long time, you start imagining how once you get it the world will stop and the yoga Oscars will be handed to you?
That's what I thought would happen when I turned 30.
All will halt, I will feel this huge change and the life's Oscar for making it this far will be granted.
But as the gazillion-th person to turn 30 on this planet, obviously none of that did. And today I'm the same as I was a week ago, give or take a white hair.
The more important thing is, when I look back at the year that's gone by, I try to conclude it and take with me the lessons that it has given me (which is the real Oscars if you ask me).
In this post I will share of you the transformation in yoga poses I've gone through this year, and the tips that helped me achieve them.
Working on opening the shoulders was one of the biggest game-changers for me as far as the practice goes. It shifted the weight of the pose from leaning into the lower back or just praying hard that I don't fall into a movement that comes from my upper back and shoulder area, which is less painful and distributes the weight of the effort more evenly throughout the body.
Some of the poses that helped me the most are puppy press at the wall, dolphin pose, and cow-face arms variations.
Core, Core and Some More Core
Last year, I could hold this pose in the photo on top for about 2 seconds and that was after I've been trying to get it for a really long time.
I was flexible enough both in the back and hips but my center wasn't strong enough to stay in place.
When I started to incorporate core exercises to every practice (even though it was a struggle and I hated it), I started seeing a change in this pose, and now I can stay in it without collapsing either to the lower back or to the sides.
The exercises I usually do are crunches, bicycle, russian twists, navasana (static and going up and down), plank and side plank and many more.
Warming Up and THEN Stretching the Entire Back of the Leg
Okay, so maybe this pose is a little exaggerated, but it was the first time I noticed how I wasn't working on opening some of the areas in the back of the leg. I would try to place my legs over there and immediately feel cramps in that area.
I started working on more strengthening exercises like toe taps and lying in Sphinx and lifting up one leg at a time, and then invest more time in the poses that help stretch that area like malasana, eka pada rajakapotasana (one legged pigeon), happy baby, lizard and parsvottanasana.
Last But Not Least - Patience
Some poses, and generally any progress in your practice, will not come without a big dose of patience.
Patience toward your mind, your body, your practice and the changes in you.
Sometimes the biggest effort is not to push and pull and strengthen every part in every direction; sometimes it will be just staying in one place, letting gravity, time and what's in your work their magic instead.
This type of silence I bring from outside the practice, either by listening to very loud grunge music (I am a 90's kid after all), spending some quiet time at the beach watching the waves, or reading a book.
Later, when I'm practicing the craziest poses, I take this tranquility with me.
But this is a private process that each of us has or can find out for themselves.
Here's to next year.
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Have a beautiful day,