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Practice Brings Change

One of the things that I say over and over again in my yoga classes is that the practice of yoga is a journey. It’s about meeting yourself on your mat practice after practice and facing whatever is going on in your body, in your head and in your heart…becoming more aware of how you feel and the impact movement and breath can have on that.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard people say that they can’t do yoga because they’re not flexible. That is just not what it’s about. When I teach classes I have yogis who can barely bend over and touch their knees practicing next to someone folded forward with chest to thighs and palms on the floor. Both are getting the same benefit from practice. With practice you begin to open, expand and notice small shifts in the way that you feel physically and emotionally. With practice and dedication things begin to become available to you that you never thought possible.

5.11titibasana

I hit a major milestone in my practice a couple of weeks ago. I would consider myself fairly confident and adept when it comes to basic/intermediate level arm balances and inversions. But for five years titibasana has been unavailable to me. No matter how many times I tried, my tight hamstrings would never allow me to extend through my heels and get my knees straight. I always looked more like a broken little spider with bent knees over my triceps than like the “firefly” this pose is supposed to represent.

To be honest, it did frustrate me that I couldn’t do this pose. I fell flat on my butt more times than I can count but I kept trying it over and over and over again and it never happened. Until one day it did. 

I don’t know what the magical secret to finally getting titibasana was but I do know that my yoga continues to reward me in so many ways both on and off the mat when I stay dedicated to practice. Just remember that change in your body, change in your mind and change in your heart doesn’t happen overnight. It might take 5 days, 5 weeks, 5 months or 5 years but with practice, focus and intention, it will come. My titibasana still looks nothing like it’s “supposed to” but it looks pretty perfect to me.

Yogis, do you have an “elusive, just out of reach” pose? 

{ 29 comments… add one }
  • 1
    She Rocks Fitness May 12, 2014, 9:06 pm

    WAHOO…you go girl! I am forever scared of handstand and need to just keep practicing…put those fears aside…and just go for it!

    • 2
      Jen May 12, 2014, 9:08 pm

      i will come visit you and we will practice handstand all day! 🙂

  • 3
    Holly May 12, 2014, 9:21 pm

    Good job! It looks amazing to me! I will stop my excuses about yoga and give it a try sooner rather than later! 🙂

  • 4
    Kate May 12, 2014, 9:39 pm

    Side crow. It will just NOT happen for me!

  • 6
    Jojo @ RunFastEatLots May 12, 2014, 9:46 pm

    Beautiful!

    I have never been able to do a hand stand. I haven’t tried much because I am afraid to practice without a spotter and we rarely do them in our yoga classes.

  • 7
    Courtney May 12, 2014, 10:58 pm

    Jump back from crow to chataranga. Cannot get my knees off my arms!

  • 8
    Samantha @ The Faithful Runner May 12, 2014, 11:19 pm

    You’re awesome! Great job! It feels so good to power through and finally get it! I have a few I struggle with, but it’s always a work in progress.

  • 9
    Dana May 13, 2014, 5:41 am

    Love this!!!! Well said…love the yoga journey~

  • 10
    jill conyers May 13, 2014, 6:28 am

    Not too long ago I finally accomplished a crow pose!! I was so proud of myself i wanted to shout it from the rooftops. I can’t even count how many times I fell forward on my head until I finally gained control of my whole body. Wanna see 🙂 http://jillconyers.com/2014/04/she-believed-she-could/

    Next? A handstand. Yikes!

  • 11
    Pam May 13, 2014, 7:54 am

    Several, but right now I’m dealing with forearm balance (scared of crashing) and bird of paradise (can’t get the bind, shoulders) BUT I continue my practice! LOVED THIS POST! Thank you!

  • 12
    Lucy May 13, 2014, 8:47 am

    I consider myself an intermediate yogi (still working on those elusive handstands) but eagle pose is my nemesis! I cannot get my (admittedly short) legs to wrap beautifully around each other like those around me. Practice, practice, practice! Maybe one day..

  • 13
    Jennifer May 13, 2014, 9:23 am

    I love this post… I’ve been doing yoga for a little over a year now, and I started super out of shape, so pretty much everything is a still a challenge for me. I still advocate yoga to basically everyone though, because your ability to do complicated poses is SO not what yoga is about. Instead, I encourage them to look at yoga as a practice of learning to appreciate small changes. Progress that seems imperceptible at first eventually shocks you when one day you CAN do that crazy hard move that’s been alluding you.

    I think all physical activity is like this to a certain extent (ie, when you set new PRs) but something about yoga really makes me fall in love with the journey more than lifting, running etc.

  • 14
    JennyS May 13, 2014, 9:43 am

    I just can’t seem to master crow pose. The strength is not a problem. The balance is more of a problem. But most of all? It is incredibly painful for me to have my knees resting on my upper arms. Every time I do it, the pain of my kneecaps digging into my triceps makes me have to stop. And I always end up with bruises on the backs of my arms the next day. I’ve watched your tutorial, but I can’t seem to make it pain-free!

    • 15
      jessica May 13, 2014, 10:01 am

      A great teacher I have explained to think about lifting up, not pressing into your arms. When my head is “too into” pressing my knees into the backs of my arms I always fall. But when I think about steadying myself and lifting up, you’ll feel no pain in the backs of your arms! Take deep breaths too, I always try to race to get into it but when I am slow and steady with my breath it comes easier.

  • 16
    jessica May 13, 2014, 10:05 am

    I agree with jumpback from crow to plank. I’ve tried it a few times and wow- it is going to be hard to “master”, which you don’t really do in yoga anyways because one day you fly perfectly into a pose and the next day your like, wtf?! To be honest, it took me months to be happy with my down dog. It was not a place of rest for me because I was weaker in my upper body, but one day we were in a faster flow and I pushed back up to down dog and felt relief instead of struggle. That was a milestone for me 🙂

    • 17
      tara May 13, 2014, 1:53 pm

      i totally relate jessica ! when i was new to yoga i had a teacher call down dog a resting pose and i almost laughed out loud. was she serious ? now there are times during hard classes where we go to down dog and i am like ahhhhhhhhhhhh. then i almost laugh at how far i’ve come!

  • 18
    Julie May 13, 2014, 10:40 am

    Crow! But I’m not giving up!

  • 19
    Lyndsay May 13, 2014, 11:10 am

    Love this post. And love your playlists. Thankful to be able to learn through you via your blog.

  • 20
    Erin May 13, 2014, 12:42 pm

    Like someone else said, jumping out of Crow into chaturanga. But I’m so giddy every time I hit Crow now that it doesn’t upset me too much 🙂

    • 21
      jessica May 13, 2014, 4:19 pm

      Agree, haha! Crow is fun! And humbling too.

  • 22
    tara May 13, 2014, 1:55 pm

    for me….headstand is actually still a struggle for longer than a few seconds. i think its mental though. i am also having a hard time trying to float from down dog to crow.

  • 23
    Tara | Treble in the Kitchen May 13, 2014, 4:02 pm

    Congratulations!!!!! 🙂 That’s how I feel about Crow pose…one day it literally just clicked!!!! 🙂 Love that feeling!

  • 24
    Kelly Muessig May 13, 2014, 10:30 pm

    I love your headband in the above pic! Where is that from?

  • 25
    Heidi May 14, 2014, 6:33 pm

    Crow! I refuse to give up! But I wish I could *get* it already!!

  • 26
    Marla-Deen May 15, 2014, 1:00 pm

    Eagle pose makes me crazy. After shoulder surgery it has taken me forever to be able to cross my arms correctly in front of my chest. I’m finally there, but now my foot will not wrap. I can do it lying down but not standing. I think my tight hips are my problem. . . .

    • 27
      Jen May 16, 2014, 8:52 pm

      i hear you on the leg wrap! i can only do it comfortably on one side. eagle is a sneaky hard pose.

  • 28
    Eva May 17, 2014, 9:17 am

    Great post! I love all sorts of fitness, but yoga is the one activity that i feel anybody can benefit from– if not just for the heightened overall awareness that it brings you in every part of life. i’m currently working on forearm stand; still can’t get both legs off the wall, but someday! for a while i struggled with headstand, and then one day i just did it. i like how that happens.

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