The start of a yoga class can tell you a lot about who is settling onto their mat. There are different types of yogi’s. It is what makes yoga great – different people with different abilities all working towards the same peak pose, or at least a similar peak pose depending on which adaptation you choose or manage.
There are those of us who just flop down into a shavasana, maybe with a comfy bolster under the knees to get settled. There are the more ‘serious’ yoga folk who go through a bit of a routine. Then there are the ones who clearly have had some training in dance. They are doing the leg stuck out and stretching over it; usually very elegantly.
How do people manage to stretch their hamstrings before they are even just a little sweaty? My hamstrings don’t want to move at all until at least the third downward dog. But hamstrings, chest openers and a bit of a backbend are all needed to get anywhere near dancer pose.
This is another thing to focus on if you want to notice the variety in the class. It is hard not to stack your hips when balancing but the instructors normally do adjustments to keep your hips squared as much as possible. Especially in triangle, warrior 3 and dancer pose. This hip squaring adjustment thing is hard! My body just wants to fall. Maybe my body is just telling me that my bum weighs too much to be suspended squarely in the air.
So tree, floating tree thingy, warrior three and dancer pose. All balancing. All probably my least likely poses to do for any length of time. I have this weird thing where I balance better on one leg than the other but the opposite is true when I try and bind my toes and stretch out my leg. If that even makes sense. Basically I can stretch my legs (hamstrings) better on the opposite leg that I can balance on without falling. Frustrating!
It is a journey (I suppose!)
If this happens to you (yeah probably just me!) then it does get better with practice. In class this week I placed myself at the back. I like to think this was so that I wasn’t going to distract the people behind me with my wobbling. It is hard to keep your balance when someone in front is moving a lot. Ok Ok – it was so I didn’t wobble in front of everyone.
I was however rather pleased with myself that I managed all these poses with my hips squared (mostly). The repetition of triangle helped with the hammies and I didn’t fall out of tree even when I moved my arms up from my hips. So I was feeling pretty optimistic about dancer pose when we were getting to the end of class.
Peak pose – Dancer
I always have a bit of a wobble when I catch my foot. I never understand why I am holding it on the inside of the foot rather than the outside as it feels a bit odd. But foot in hand (on my good leg) I did a kind of dancer. Probably not like the image above. Definitely not like the two girls who were clearly dancers in the class and also like the serious yoga who basically did her own class before the class. For me it was an achievement though and there was a little grin from my instructor before she put me off with the grinning and I toppled over. I won’t mention my bad leg attempt. It was less than elegant. All in all this was definitely progress and I felt like dancing down the road home. I didn’t do that – someone would lock me up!