Hard Poses Made Easy

We know that poses aren’t the whole story in yoga.  There are people creating inspiringly healthy, happy lives for themselves who can’t hold a warrior 3.  And there are people who are frustrated and unhealthy in their lives who can stick any pose you can name.  So how do we bridge this gap between the posing of yoga and the creating of yoga?

This is a core focus of my ongoing series on making hard things easy.  A central theme here is moving from the ground up.  We get to practice patience and movability with our feet resting calmly on the ground, that will carry us forward when it’s time to reach for the sky.

If we’re already tense moving into something hard – if we’re already thinking “oh crap!” – then we just move from tense into more tense.  If we expect things to be hard, a struggle – “maybe I’ll fall and hurt myself” – we’re right.  Again and again, we have great success in proving ourselves right.  What we’re heading for is scary!

Luckily, there’s another way, which gets us into our creative power: PATIENCE.  We all know that patience with ourselves – the ability to be right where we are – is something we can practice in yoga. Without some deliberate care, though, it quickly becomes something we practice Later.  Especially when it’s time to stick those tough poses.

The problem is, we never get to creative power through force and struggle.  Fortunately, there are ways to make practicing patience far from boring:

1) Begin in your middle.  No matter what picture you have in mind for a pose, work from your belly and hips first.  Don’t worry about getting your hands and feet and legs all extended and “perfect.”  Once you’re moving comfortably in your middle, extend from there.

2) Explore!  If you never move left and right from straightforward, how will you ever get to know yourself?  There’s lots of exploring through every inch of you, through all 360 degrees of how you can move your body, all with your body in very comfortable positions.  In fact, you’ll explore much more readily – and go much further – when you’re comfortable than when you’re strained and overextended.

Set your sights on being easy in your base – free to move gently in every direction, up down left right.  It’s more useful than stiff and strained, hoping to last just long enough to do the pose, while praying not to tumble out of it. This is how we bridge the gap from posing to creating: shifting our focus from what we’re doing to how we’re doing it.  We go inside to create what we want outside!

The thing to remember about poses is, there is no final pose.  There’s always wiggle room.  Always new places to explore in you, new room to move.  That’s the whole point.  The point isn’t to be done.  The point is to keep moving.

See you soon!
Mike Taylor

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