I am so happy right now. The weather gods must have heard my rant on Monday about working out when it’s cold because it’s 70 degrees and sunny in Charlotte right now…and it’s supposed to stay like this for the next four days. I could cry! Thank you weird southern weather for always bringing us a dose of spring in January when our warm-blooded souls can’t take it anymore!
I’m not the only one happy about the weather. Sullie refuses to come in the house. I’m going to go out for a run later…in shorts and a tank top!
Breakfast this morning was a oatmeal with bananas topped with peanut butter and jam.
And lunch was chicken, greens and butternut squash soup. This tasted amazing after eating frozen Trader Joe’s enchiladas for dinner last night.
Before lunch I was teaching a lunchtime yoga class and I started talking with one of my regular students about how difficult she finds balancing poses. I told her that it was an extremely common difficulty to have and shared with her my own struggle with half moon pose when I was new to my practice.
When I started practicing yoga half moon was my nemesis pose. I could not for the life of me figure out how to gracefully lift my arm and leg in the air simultaneously while balancing on one leg, stacking my hips and lifting my gaze skyward. It felt like the most impossible thing on earth.
This is the story I always share to set the stage. I was about two months into my yoga practice and newly 100% addicted to hot yoga when I attended a class with a teacher who had become my favorite. I was finally reaching the point where I kind of felt like I knew what was going on and felt I was making some progress with the whole yoga thing. I was learning the names of the poses, semi-executing them the way they were supposed to look and starting to build a little confidence in my practice. Until half moon came along. My teacher (who I loved and wanted to impress so badly) came over to assist me in half moon. As she tried to help keep me from flailing and falling in half moon, she bent down and whispered to me, “this is your first yoga class, isn’t it?” (in a really sweet and “I want to help you” way). I was a little devastated but determined to improve my practice and master half moon. To this day, she remains my favorite teacher and I always credit her as being the one who made me fall in love with yoga.
My half moon has come a long way. It’s now one of my favorite poses and I am even able to do advanced variations of it now. What I love about half moon (and yoga in general) is that there’s always somewhere new and deeper to take it. The cartwheel variation that I’m performing in the photo above took me for-ev-er to get down. I still remember the class I was in where the teacher cued us to reach down, grab our forearm and pull our chest through our shoulders. I fell for the first three months I tried to do this but slowly worked my way into being able to do it and practice this variation in nearly every class.
Half moon feels like one of those poses that makes you feel like a legit yogi. It’s such a big and expansive pose. When I reach my full expression, I always feel a rush of energy and freedom. I love the openings that it provides in so many areas…hamstrings, hips, side body and even upper backbending as you rotate your chest toward the ceiling.
This bound variation has become my favorite half moon. It feels amazing to kick your hand and foot away from you and get a huge opening in the hip flexor and quad. I also feel like I can really roll my shoulder back and get my chest open in this variation. Rotating my shoulders back and getting chest up is something I struggle with in a lot of poses.
So that’s the story of my half moon. I really appreciate being continually humbled by my yoga practice and the way that it challenges me. Seeing my body change and adapt along with my practice is really powerful. I always comment to my yoga friends and students that I wonder what my body (and mind) felt like before yoga. I can’t imagine not practicing now. The moving, breathing, stretching, opening has become something that I need on a deep emotional and physical level.
Now, I would love to teach you guys how to half moon…which leads me to some exciting news. I have shared before that I want to focus the blog a little more on fitness and yoga. Moving forward, my goal is to theme Fridays around fitness and Mondays around yoga. You can expect a lot more video content, workouts, yoga sequences, topics about things like breaking into the fitness industry and how to find a teacher training program for yoga, etc. I’m really, really, really excited about this and hope you are too!
Do you or did you have a “nemesis” yoga pose?
Any topic requests that I can add to the editorial calendar for Fitness Fridays or Yoga Mondays?