She started class by announcing that we would be working on Eka Pada Bakasana (one legged crow). After trying to wrap my mind around what that was or what it would look like, she thankfully demonstrated for us all, hopping up into an arm balance with one leg “resting” on her arms and the other shooting straight up towards the ceiling. The entire time she was in the pose she was talking us through it, which is amazing considering I’m still trying to remind myself to breathe when in a handstand! And then we got down to business and began to build up heat and flexibility in preparation for Eka Pada Bakasana.
There was definitely a time in the class where the sweat was dripping and my thighs were burning and I thought, “why on Earth did I do this to myself this morning!?” But the beauty of being in yoga class is that you’ve already made the effort to get your self there, so chances are you are not going to leave when it starts to get hard. This translates off the mat as yoga has taught me to stick it out when things get tough, because when you make it to the finish line, or Savasana, it is so much better because you earned it. There are many tasks in life that may or may not be enjoyable, and we have no other choice but to finish them. So how do you get through it? My only choice was (and always is) to keep on breathing and moving through the postures, as sitting there and pouting wasn’t going to bring the end of the class any closer. Why fight what we can’t control when it is much easier and gratifying to go with the flow?
As preparation for Eka Pada Bakasana, we also worked on Bakasana (crow). After 60 minutes of moving through postures, building heat in the muscles, as well as working on strength, pressing up into an arm balance did not come easy. And yet the moment when I fell on my face, I smiled. And the second time I fell on my face, I laughed. Not at my inability to do the pose (dang you, noodle arms) but because we were in a space where testing our boundaries and having fun was completely acceptable. This is why I return to my mat day after day. It is a safe space where figuring out how far you can go mentally and physically happens every day. And if you do happen to fall, you’re not that far off of the ground.
This weekend, I was challenged both mentally and physically, and yet when we reached final Savasana, I had not a care in the world. I was simply home on my mat, and relaxed within my body. This is what yoga provides for you – an exercise both physical and mental that can bring you to a place where your body feels amazing and your mind is still.
p.s . my pose looked nothing like this for a variety of reasons, but here’s Eka Pada Bakasana…