I read a recent online article about the 10 most challenging yoga poses.
It listed great postures like Adho Mukha Vrksasana (handstand), Utthita Hasta Padangustasana (Extended Hand-To-Big-Toe Pose), Tittibhasana (Firefly Pose), Eka Pada Koundiyanasana I (Pose Dedicated to the Sage Koundinya I) and Asta Vakrasana (Eight-Angle Pose).
Good choices! These postures all require considerable warm-up and a depth of understanding of the principles of proper alignment. Any lapse in focus will put you on the yoga disabled list in no time.
During my time on the bench, I gained a new perspective on the most challenging postures in yoga.
Are you ready?
Here they are: Balasana (Child’s Pose) and Savasana (Corpse Pose).
In postures like Adho Mukha Vrksasana, there is no room for menu planning or worrying about your job. In handstand, the only thing that matters is handstand. Nothing else exists. In handstand, present moment awareness is a piece of cake.
It is in the quiet of the gentler postures that the mind plays its games.
Child’s Pose is the playground for self-recrimination and grocery lists; your darkest samskaras (repetitive thought patterns) lurk within Savasana. Here, the ego asserts itself like a two-year old in a tantrum and we lose sight of what we’re doing and why we practice.
We practice in order to become reacquainted with our deepest nature (We are stardust, we are golden…). But our ego is like a radiation map, its toxic fingers reaching into every remote crevice of our being. Deepest nature beware!
If the goal of yoga is chitta vritti nirodhah (the silencing of the fluctuations of the mind), as Patanjali tells us in The Yoga Sutras and Russell Simmons tells us in popular magazines, then Balasana and Savasana are the toughest place to quash those damn little vrittis.
This is the biggest challenge—staying true to your practice even in the quietest moments.
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Assistant Editor: Michelle Margaret/Ed: Bryonie Wise