As always, the “Newbie Yogi” blogs are based on my experiences only. I’m not saying that what’s awesome for me will rock your world too…or what sucks for me will be sucky for you. BUT! That said, you should definitely read on, because in the event that you DO face the same issue as I do, and there’s even a LITTLE chance you could find some relief with this tool, your yoga practice is about to get a little more loveable.
This Issue: I think my arms are abnormally short. Proportionately to my body, they’re more like a cat’s. Either that, or my hips are abnormally tight. Which they are, but I think the short arms are more to blame for this problem I’m having. See, when I’m in downward dog, then I lift my leg into a downward dog split, and then I attempt to bring my foot in between my hands for a low lunge…I can Never. Quite. Make it.
My foot just doesn’t reach up there by itself. I have to grab my ankle with my hand and cajole it up. I really think it’s my inexplicably short arms. It’s definitely not, as Tara flatteringly suggested, that I have really long legs.
The Solution: I once saw a video that Tara did with model Brooklyn Decker, who went through her entire practice with her hands on blocks (I’m guessing Ms. Decker’s issue is probably too-long model legs). This got me thinking. I thought about trying it too. But I’m not Brooklyn Decker and I didn’t want to look like a doofus. I didn’t want people to think that I couldn’t do certain stuff without the blocks. Oh but wait, i can’t! (Not yet anyway). After wrestling with the idea for weeks – weeks of mentally begging my ankle to softly land in-between my hands – last week, I finally decided to try the blocks.
1. Like Tara warned me, there is some futzing involved. When a block is in your way, you have to move it out of the way. And when you need it back again, you have to re-position it on the mat.
2. Unless you’re in the same class as me, you’re probably going to be the only one in there using the blocks in this way, and it feels weird if you let it. It’s like being the dude riding the Tour de France with training wheels. Or like the one person at the Chinese food restaurant who eats her rice with a fork instead of chopsticks. But you’ll get over it once you witness the pros, which aaaare…
1. While there might be some futzing during certain parts of your practice, the smoothness that you gain between your downward dog split and your low lunge is priceless. And, as you Strala-ites know, this is a flow we go through a lot within the span of one class, so having to manually pick your foot up and jerk it forward every time kinda effs up your focus.
2. I was able to keep my eyes closed for a more significant part of my flow. The fluidity between those two movements came easier, putting me more in tune with my breath and drawing me further inward.
3. I actually haven’t found a third reason yet. Have you? Do you really need one after 1 and 2?!
Are there more uses for the blocks that have revolutionized your yoga world?? Or other props? Bolsters? Blankets? Straps? I know there must be so many other prop-induced fun things that I haven’t taken advantage of yet.