Archives for posts with tag: bakasana

Are you a person living a safe life or a person taking risks? Do you prefer to be in a safe zone or choose the difficult, walk towards the unknown and take the risk in your daily life? I continued to practice flows on chakras in this week’s yoga classes. This week, it was “manipura chakra”s (navel chakra) turn. And we would practice a flow for our inner power and jewel. The theme of the session would be whether to stay in the safe zone and do a known flow in confidence or take chances and risk and walk towards the unknown?

We strengthened the core muscles with several “asana”s (pose) throughout the first half of the session and get ready for the peak pose. The peak pose would be something that would take the students from the safe haven. We should take risk when trying the peak pose.

I decided on two different peak poses for the morning and evening session that day because the students in the morning and evening classes could do some poses well but have difficulties in some other. The aim was to get out of the safe haven and take the risk so the groups should take the risk and activate their navel chakra. So one of the groups tried “bakasana” (crow pose) and the other “eka hasta bhujasana (leg over shoulder pose). Both asanas were poses that the students were not used to and that would be a challenge, taking them out of the safe haven and take the risk.

In the session we tried “bakasana”, some students got out of the safe haven, took the risk and tried the pose. Some of them only lifted one foot from the ground while some preferred to bring their knees on their back arms and keep their feet on the ground, staying in the safe haven.

In the session we tried “eka hasta bhujasana”, I observed the same thing. Some students only stretched their hips and brought their legs over their shoulders and stayed there some of them tried to lift their hips of the ground.

What I observed that day was that what we were doing on the “mat” was directly linked with our personalities. If we were people who liked to stand firm on our feet, we were having difficulties in balancing poses and taking risks. Or if we were not taking life so seriously and considering life a fun, such poses and sessions were just fun for us. The question was whether we should take life seriously, live in the safe haven and ground firmly on our feet or get out of the safe haven and take risk? Was life something that serious? Would it harm us if we take risk and mock with life a bit?

Yoga always and everywhere… Just be willing to practice yoga… If you are willing to practice yoga, there is no difference between a green forest or a blue coast and a small room. Yoga always and everywhere…

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When I went to my private class last week, the conference room where we generally practice was full. Therefore we would practice in the squash hall. The hall was nice, big, parquet-furnished but a minor problem. It was too cold. It could take a long time to warm our muscles up in that cold room or maybe we could not move so easily there. And we could catch cold. We were thinking of other options when we realized that we could work in the lockers room.

When I say lockers room, do not think of a big room. A long but small room with lockers on both sides and benches to sit down in the middle. So, we placed the student’s mat in front of the door between the lockers room and the showers. I can hear you say “can yoga be done in such a place. You could have cancelled your class.” No, we decided to practice yoga that day as it was a different experience. And it was good for our progress. Maybe we could learn new things that day.

We focused on core muscles. When we were practicing “phalakasana” (plank pose), “phalakasana” variations, “utkatasana” (chair pose), “navasana” (boat pose) variations, the students said she felt so tired and exhausted and she could not go on. She wanted to slow down. First half of the class was over and we were about to try the peak pose. But it was not good to push the body hard. So I decided to slow down the class and go on with “yin” (female energy) yoga. I started to stretch the body of the student with “butterfly”, “caterpillar”, “sleeping swan” and “dragonfly.” After all these poses, she laid down and relieved the spine and body with “twisted roots.” I ended the class with a long “savasana” (deep relaxation and resting pose). During the entire class, there were people coming and going out of the lockers room, a high-volume music coming from the gym room beside the lockers rooms, people shouting and speaking out loud, and people trying to talk to us in the lockers room. However, nothing disturbed our attention and concentration. Whatever they say. That day was “yoga” and “yoga” was always and everywhere.

When ending the class after “savasana”, I thought how I imagined and how we ended up. We began the class to strengthen core muscles and ended up by stretching the body. We practice in a small and narrow room. Even though there were many things that could disturb our body and mind, we stayed in the moment and preserved the unity and solidarity of the body, mind and soul. We did not lose our attention and concentration.

When I went to class the other day, the conference room was again full. This time we decided to try something different and practiced in the student’s office. When I say office, do not imagine of a big office. It was an office where a mat could only be put and when you could even hit your leg to the wall when you extended it to the back. That day we went on stretching core muscles. The peak pose was “bakasana” (crow pose). The student had a bad experience with “bakasana” before. When she tried the pose, she fell down and did not want to try it again. We stopped practicing the crow pose for some time. But till when? We should deal with our fear. Wasn’t it the same in life? Could we give up and go? We should try and try and try again. As we tried, maybe the body and mind could accept and something which was so far away from us could become closer. Therefore we started by placing a “bolster” under the head. Slowly, step by step, without hurrying. Without losing the concentration. And that day in that room something unbelievable happened. The student was so calm when trying “bakasana”, she did not lose her concentration, she kept her body, mind and soul (breath) together as if she was trying a very easy pose. And it happened. Yes, she did an amazing “bakasana.” One-two-three breaths… Enough for the first try. It will progress in time. She wanted to try again and tried. And it happened again. As she did not rush, she did not lose her control and moved step by step.

We were neutralizing and relieving the body after the peak pose when somebody entered the room. People trying to talk to us and people trying to distract us this way. Always happens, everywhere happens. We were not disturbed. We preserved the body, mind, soul unity and solidarity. This was “yoga.” The body, mind and soul are a whole. To stay in the moment, to live the moment, just to be interested in yourself and just to observe yourself.

Yoga always and everywhere. A green forest where we sit listening to the noices of birds or a coast where we sit listening to the noices of the waves under a blue sky. Or a small room with only the yoga mat, my mind, body and soul. No difference. A crowded city or all alone on top of the mountains. No difference. The only difference is whether we are a whole with our body, mind and soul. If so, everywhere is always yoga for us.

Have you ever noticed that you are practicing the same “asana”s (poses) in your classes for a long time? I do not know why but we love certain “asana”s more than others or we are more used to them and we do not even think of trying a different “asana.” Then one day you realize this vicious circle and you want a change. And that moment is the moment when change and progress begin.

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I changed thanks to one of my private students. When we were trying an “asana” which was really challenging for the student, she asked, “why don’t we try this asana for a month? Maybe this way my body and mind would accept the asana and maybe I can get into this pose. Let’s practice it for a month and see what happens.” I accepted. Ok, let’s try and see. And our journey began.

At the end of that month, we had seen that the target areas of the body for that particular “asana” had stretched and strengthened and that “asana” was no more so away from us. We had made up our minds. New year and new experiences. From now on, we would intensify on a certain “asana” for a month and observe the changes at the end of that month. I decided to try the same thing in my group classes.

I do not know why but all students want to focus on the core. Maybe just because they want to strengthen their core muscles, have a upright posture, strengthen the spine and have a good-shaped navel… That is just for physical targets. Maybe because of the energies of the navel. A strong navel means a strong stance in life. A strong navel means the will, ambition and determination to accomplish our projects. Whatever the goal is, the students mostly ask me to work out core muscles when I ask them what they want. Yes, this month we focused on the navel.

Not only in my private classes but also in group classes, we all focused on the navel. We had two classes a week. In one of them we strengthened main core muscles and in the other we strengthened oblique muscles. When we focused on main core muscles, the peak pose was “chaturanga dandasana” (low plank) or “bakasana” (crow pose) or both of them. In the other class, the peak pose was “parsva bakasana” (side crow pose). When old students joined the group classes, I faced no problems but when there were new students in class, I also had to make them happy. So, when the old students were trying these peak poses, I was suggesting that the new ones practiced “parivrtta surya yantrasana” (compass pose) — which is really not an easy pose — and “uttana padasana” (legs up to 90 degrees).

In order to prepare the bodies for the peak pose, we practiced throughout the class “phalakasana” (plank pose), “vasisthasana” (side plank pose/Sage Vasistha pose), “navasana” (boat) variations, “halasana-navasana” (plow-boat flow), in “supta konasana” (supine angle pose) rolling the body back and sitting back on the hips, “utkatasana” (chair), “parivrtta utkatasana” (twist in chair), “parivrtta trikonasana” (twist in triange), “parivrtta ashwa sanchalanasana” (twist in high lunge), “parivrtta anjaneyasana” (twist in low lunge), “parivrtta parsvakonasana” (twist in side angle), “parivrtta ardha chandrasana” (revolved half moon pose), “parivrtta utthita hasta padangusthasana” (revolved hand to big toe pose), in “uttana padasana” (legs up to 90 degrees) dropping the legs to 60,45 and 30 degrees and then lifting them back to 90 degrees, “phalakasana-adho mukha svanasana” (plank-downward facing dog flow) , “eka pada phalakasana-eka pada adho mukha svanasana” (one legged plank and one legeed downward facing dog flow).

Balance in all-fours, right arm-left leg in the air and then the opposite, bringing the up hand and leg together near the navel, trying to bring the leg to the elbow in plank and then extending it to the back, bringing the leg to the navel in plank and then extending it back, bringing the leg to the opposite elbow in plank…

When it was time for the peak pose, we were lowering the body from “phalakasana” to “chaturanga dandasana.” Those who wanted were trying “bakasana” afterwards. Surely, this was the flow of the main core muscle day. When we were working out the oblique muscles, we were trying “parsva bakasana.”

Believe me, those who were having problems in plank pose in the first days got stronger by the end of the month and were no more having so much difficulties. Some students felt that they got stronger, left aside their fear and tried the peak poses. Some of them observed how stronger their core was. They tried some poses which they used to define as hard, challenging and impossible even if they did not experience the peak pose.

New year, new experiences… Nothing is hard and impossible. Just believe and work hard… We will see what this month will bring us. We should have new goals and walk though them in this new month. But we should make the goal an obsession but just enjoy the journey. When we enjoyed the journey and lived in the moment, we could see that the target is closer to us more than ever!

What would your answer be if I asked what pleased a teacher the most? Teaching, having many students or being loved by his/her students? In my opinion, what pleases a teacher the most is to witness the progress of his/her students. Seeing the improvement and progress of all students and realizing how they improved in time… This was what had happened to me last week.

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When I went to a group yoga class last week, I observed the students as usual in order to understand what they were willing to do that day. Most of the students were eager to try balancing poses. “We have not tried balancing poses for some time. Can we test our balance today?” Surely we could. But what would the peak pose be? I should decide on this. There were many peak poses in my mind and I could not pick one of them at that moment. Then I decided to focus on a flow in which many balancing poses were added to each other. It would be a fairly advanced class. But we were working with the same group for about two months and I believed that they could easily do this flow.

Following the opening meditation, we came on all-fours to start balancing. After “vyaghrasana” (tiger pose), we neutralized the spine with “marjaryasana-bitilasana” (cat-cow stretch). Then came a “vinyasa” and we stood up in “tadasana” (mountain pose). After warming up the bodies with “surya namaskara” (sun salutation) series, we started to test our balance. First we grounded on the left foot, bent the right knee and lifted the right leg up until it was parallel to the floor. After staying in this pose for five breaths, we did the same thing by grounded on the right foot. Following a “vinyasa”, we stood up in “tadasana” to ground on the left foot again. This time, we extended the right leg to the front. Following five breaths came the same asana on the right foot. Another “vinyasa” and “tadasana.” This time, the left leg was grounded to get into “vrksasana” (tree pose). “Vrksasana” was not a challenging pose for that group. So I had to make it harder. I was thinking what we could do to make “vrksasana” a challening pose, I decided that the students should try “vrksasana” with eyes closed. “Staying in vrksasana, pick a point in front of you and gaze at that point. Now slowly close your eyes but visualize that you are still looking at that gaze with eyes closed. If you are losing balance, slightly open your eyes and re-focus on the gaze. Now close your eyes again and try to stay balanced with eyes closed.”

It is easer to stay balanced with open eyes. However, no data goes to the brain with eyes closed and it is hard for the body to perceive its position and location. Therefore, it is fairly hard for the body to find balance with eyes closed.

When we talk about balance, we should also talk about vestibular and proprioceptive systems because both systems help us balance. Vestibular system contributes to balance in mammals and provides the leading contribution about movement and sense of balance.  Situated in the inner ear, it sends signals primarily to the neural structures that control eye movements, and to the muscles that keep a creature upright. The brain uses information from the vestibular system in the head to understand the body’s dynamics and kinematics (including its position and acceleration). In short, vestibular system is a system in inner ear that gives us information about the position of the head.

On the other hand, proprioception is the sense that helps us perceive where our body is in space and gives us the ability to plan and coordinate movements. Sense receptors in the joints and muscles are constantly sending signals to the brain and with the help of these signals, we can know about the position or tension of our joints and muscles. One should have a developed sense of proprioception in order to move right, healthily and in coordination.

Let me try to give you an example to make it more clear. In “virabhadrasana II” (warrior II), it is the “vestibular system” that makes us perceive whether the back arm is in the same level with our shoulders. With proprioceptive system, we can feel the “grounding” or the connection. With this system, we can plan and coordinate our actions. This system creates “body awareness.”

We have information about the position of our organs thanks to our eyes. This means that when our eyes are open, we can easily know if we could lift our leg to 90 degrees or if it was staying in 45 degrees. With open eyes, we can see and easily access to information. However, it is not that easy to get access to such information with eyes closed. Therefore, balancing asanas are more difficult with eyes closed.

If we go back to that day’s class… “Vrksasana” with eyes closed. Where is the body? Can I joined my hands in front of the heart in prayer position? Is the bent leg on the knee cap or under it or above it? Trying to realize all these information with eyes closed.

Another “vinyasa” after “vrksasana” and slowing down the breath in “tadasana.” Now it was time for the flow full of balancing poses. “Vrksasana”, “garudasana” (eagle pose), “virabhadrasana III” (warrior III), “urdhva prasarita eka padasana” (standing split), two different types of “utthita hasta padangusthasana” (hand-to-big toe pose) including the one with leg extended to the front and the other with leg extended to the side.

Balancing poses one after the other without losing the balance. Without losing the gaze and without putting the leg in the air to the ground… I told you, it was an advanced class. And what pleased a teacher the most? Seeing the improvement and progress of his/her students. Seeing how the balance of the students had changed and developed in these two years and how they could easily do all balancing poses without even touching their toes on the ground… Worth everything…

After working this much balance, we rested in “malasana” (garland pose). Then I found an interesting idea. We had worked this much balance. So why weren’t we trying “bakasana” (crow pose)? There were also new students in the class. So I asked them to lean on the front and try lifting the foot one by one. I told the old students to directly try “bakasana.” All the old students managed to do “bakasana” and stayed at least five breaths in the pose.

Following neutralizing and calming asanas, we had a long “savasana” (deep relaxation and resting pose). I ended the class by reminding that the balance of the body could change anytime, the balance and energies of the right and left of the body could differ, the goal of yoga was to ensure the balance and eliminate the imbalance between the male and female sides of the body and wishing that our goal in yoga and life should be to find and ensure balance between dualities.

Driving home after the class, I was thinking one thing. What pleased a teacher the most? Teaching, having many students or being loved by his/her students? Yes, what pleased a teacher the most? Witnessing the progress of his/her students… Seeing and realizing how bodily, mentally and spiritually the students have improved and progress and growing and progressing more and more with them each passing day…

The most favorite and the most feared asanas of yoga classes are inversions and arm balancing poses. If you join yoga classes often, you are amazed with people who can do these asanas and you dream that you can easily do these asanas like them one day. Therefore, students always want to try inversions and arm balancing poses in yoga classes. Last week was such a class.
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I plan a class and think of a flow before I went to the class. However, I observe the general mood of students once I show up in the studio or gym club and can change my plans according to their needs as yoga helps us have a flexible body, flexible mind and flexible stance.
I thought to teach a class with a backbend as the peak that day. I even picked the peak pose as “urdhva dhanurasana” (wheel). A few people from the morning class joined that evening class and told me that they had not tried “bakasana” (crow pose) for a long time and asked if we could try it. New students from the morning class showed up in our class and made a demand. Could we turn them down? Surely not. That day, I changed the plans and decided on a class with two peak poses. “Bakasana” as the arm balancing pose and “adho mukha vrksasana” (handstand) as the inversion. This meant that we would use “bakasana” as a preparatory pose for “adho mukha vrksasana.”
After the opening meditation, we sat in cross-legged position and stretched the shoulder girdle. We used the arm position of “gomukhasana” (cow face pose), rolled the shoulders back and opened up the chest. Later, we opened the shoulder blades with the arm position of “garudasana” (eagle pose). We lifted the arm in front of us in the shoulder level, brought the shoulders forward and when exhaling we put the shoulders back in their sockets and pushed the shoulder blades towards the coccyx. With this flow, we tried to understand how it was like to fall on or not fall on the shoulder girdle. What we were doing here was scapular upward rotation. The most important thing in inversions was to push the legs towards each other and keep them firm, posteriorily tilt the pelvis, use root and abdominal locks (mula bandha/uddiyana bandha) and extend the spine from the coccyx towards the top of the head. Keeping the breath calm, gazing at one point and focusing the attention on a point help do these poses.
After we stretched the shoulder girdle, we started to warm up the bodies with “surya namaskara” (sun salutation) series. We continued to stretch the shoulders by interlacing the arms behind and bringing the arms towards the top of the head in “uttanasana” (standing forward bend).  To strengthen core muscles, we stayed for five breaths in “phalakasana” (locust) and “chaturange dandasana” (low plank). In-between the sun salutation series, we also stayed in “vasisthasana” (side plank/sage Vasistha pose). Inhale “vasisthasana” exhale “phalakasana”. Five times on right arm, five times on left arm. Then wait in “phalakasana” for five breaths.
We were strengthening both arm muscles and shoulder girldle and core muscles. Inhale “phalakasana” exhale “adho mukha svanasana” (downward facing dog). Flowing between these two asanas for five times. In the next “surya namaskara”, we lifted right leg up and kept the two hips square, we exhaled and got into “chaturanga dandasana” with the right leg up. Inhaling we got into “urdhva mukha svanasana” (upward facing dog) with the right leg up and exhaling we got back to “adho mukha svanasana” with the right leg up.
In another “surya namaskara”, we got from “phalakasana” to “chaturanga dandasana” and moved the body forward and backward In “phalakasana”, we tried to lift the hands up from the ground for a moment. And fears… The fear of falling down and hitting the face. The good and bad sides of inversions.
We stopped “surya namaskara” flows for some time and laid on our back to strengthen the core muscles. We lifted the legs up to 90 degrees and we brought one leg down and lifted it back to 90 degrees without putting or touching it on the ground. When we started to feel the ore muscles, we kept the legs in 90 degrees and we used the legs as if we were swimming and walked down the legs this way to the ground and without touching them on the ground we lifted them up. We strengthened core muscles with “navasana” (boat pose), rolled on our spine forward and backward and stood up with the help of the momentum.
In the last “surya namaskara”, we worked out the shoulder girdle with “phalakasana” on elbows and “ardha salamba sirsasana” (dolphin pose). Then came “adho mukha svanasana” (downward facing dog) and “eka pada raja kapotasana” (pigeon) with right leg. After waiting for five breaths, “adho mukha svanasana” and “eka pada raja kapotasana” with left leg. After neutralizing the body in “adho mukha svanasana”, we jumped outside the arms and stretched hips and groins with “malasana” (garland pose).
Now it was time for “bakasana” (crow pose), the preparation of the peak pose. Spread fingers on the ground, push the socket of the index finger on the ground, then pull the fingers a little bit backward like a paw. Then put the right knee on the back of the right arm, put the left knee on the back of the left arm and try to lift the feet from the ground. The feeling of flying. Finding a focal point on the ground and gazing at it. Channeling the attention at one point. Focusing on that point. Concentration.
What pleases a teacher the most is to see and realize the improvement of students. Students who had been joining the classes for a long time felt themselves so light and could do “bakasana” with a grace and stayed in the pose for five breaths. They saw the gift of regular attendance. Worth everything.
It was time for the peak pose. I had full belief that students could do “adho mukha vrksasana” very successfully. I showed two different ways of handstand. One was the “L-shape” handstand, with the arms on the ground and legs on the wall. The other method was to jump on the wall with hands on the ground. Every one could try whatever s/he wanted. Sometried “L-shape” handstand and some others tried to jump on the wall or tried to do handstand on yoga mats by helping each other. All students showed an amazing progress. They overcame their fears and at least tried the pose once they believed they could never do. Students who tried the pose on the wall before tried the pose on their mats this time. This was what all teachers wanted to see.
After applauding all students, we neutralized the bodies with “balasana” (child pose) and “dandasana” (staff pose). We bent forward the spine with “paschimottanasana” (seated forward bend) and laid on our backs and relieved the body and the nervous system with “supta parivartanasana” (supine twist).
The class was about to end after “savasana” (deep relaxation and resting pose). That day, we could derive many lessons from the class. We were closer to the people whom we appreciated but at the same time were jealous of. This meant that there was nothing we could not achieve if we worked hard. Inversions was literally inversion. As how we stood on our feet in “tadasana” (mountain pose), we placed the knees on the feet, the hips on the knees and the shoulders on the hips; in “adho mukha vrksasana” (handstand), we placed the shoulders on the arms, the hips on the shoulders, the knees on the hips and the feet on the knees. Each part of the body is over the other. We were standing on the arms. Literally “upside down.” Lastly, to focus the attention on one point. Could we focus our attention at a certain point in our daily lives? Or could we even concentrate and focus? Was we losing focus and concentration easily or could we keep our concentration and focus for some time? Could we remember the roads we were passing when driving or were we thinking “how have I arrived here? I do not know how I got here” when we reached somewhere? Could we remember what we read in five pages of a book after we read all those pages or could we not remember anything? Could we keep our attention, focus and concentration? This was just an “asana” and its reflections on our daily lives.

Do you believe in coincidences in life? My last week’s yoga classes were full of coincidences. Don’t you think it is a coincidence that all groups were eager to do the same yoga flow in my classes last week even though these classes were taking place in different places and were attended by totally different people? “We have not practiced a core strengthening flow for a long time. Why don’t we do such a flow this week?” What can I say? It is my favorite group of asanas.

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These were the sentences I heard in my private and group classes last week. Isn’t it a coincidence to see the same eagerness in all classes even though they were taking place in different places and were attended by totally different people? And that this demand was made within the same week.
We began classes by relaxing body and mind with meditation. After meditation, we came on all-fours and started to move the spine with “marjaryasana-bitilasana” (cat-cow stretch). Since we focused on core muscles that day, we strengthened core muscles as much as we could in “marjaryasana” (cat pose). When inhaling, we got into “bitilasana” and relaxed core muscles. After repeating the flow for five times, we came on all-fours, rounded the spine and lifted the knees off the floor for about a few inches. Now, we were engaging core muscles in our flow. I had not decided on the peak pose until that moment. I had a few alternatives in mind. At this moment, I made up my mind about the peak pose: “Tittibasana” (firefly). I could remember the Sanskrit name of the pose but I could not remember it in English. At last I told them, “a species of insect” and told them that I would google the English name.
“Tittibasana” was an arm balancing pose and one had to stretch the hip and strengthen core muscles as well as arms and shoulder girdle for this asana.
First of all, we should warm the bodies up. We started to warm the bodies with “surya namaskara” (sun salutation) series. In-between sun salutation series, we stayed in “phalakasana” (plank pose) for at least five breaths in order to strengthen arms, shoulders and the core. The other core strengthening asanas in between “surya namaskara” series were “vasisthasana” (Sage Vasistha pose/side plank), “chaturanga dandasana” (low plank) and “one-legged variation of “phalakasana”. Inhaling and exhaling in “vasisthasana”, we brought the body close to the ground and then lifted it up in order to more intensely feel the core. Sometimes we shifted the balance to the tips of the feet in “uttanasana” (standing forward bend) and lifted the body on the tips of the toes to feel the core more and more. During sun salutation series, we gave all our focus on the core. I told the students to engage their core muscles from the groins up to the ribs. Thus, they could feel the core without even practicing a single asana. “Utkatasana” (chair pose) was the other core strengthening standing asana. After waiting static in this pose, we lifted the toes from the ground to test the balance and worked out the core. “One-legged chair” was the other asana we tested the balance.
It was time for core strengthening asanas on the floor. In-between a “surya namaskara” flow, we jumped to “malasana” (garland pose) from “adho mukha svanasana” (downward facing dog) and stayed there for a few breaths. Our aim was to stretch the hips. Then we sat on floor for “paripurna navasana” (full boat) variations. After two “navasana”s and stayed in both poses for five breaths, we engaged core muscles up to the ribs and tried to bring the legs as close to the bodies as we could. Inhaling in “navasana”, we exhaled and brought the body to the ground until the scapula touched the ground. In the next inhale, we stood up to “navasana.” From “navasana” to “halasana” then again to “navasana.” For three times. Sometimes we could sit on sitting bones and stay there in balance but sometimes we rolled back or rolled forward. Then came “upavistha konasana” (wide-angle seated forward bend) to stretch groins and then we rolled back for “supta konasana” (reclining bound angle pose). Flowed between these two poses for three times and then rolled back to “halasana” and stood up in “malasana” to stretch groins more and more.
The peak pose was so close. Before the peak pose, I wanted to prepare the bodies for arm balancing poses with “bakasana” (crow pose). Those who wanted could do “bakasana”, those who did not feel comfortable in this pose could keep their feet on the ground, those who wanted could keep the tips of the toes on the ground. Even keeping the tips of the toes on the ground and trying the pose this way was an arm balancing workout. If the body and mind were not ready, we should not force ourselves. And now it was time for “tittibasana.” Compared to “bakasana”, we tried to bring the shoulders and arms inside the legs. This was the first stage. Those who wanted could stay here. If they wanted to move on, they could open their legs to the sides. And the last stage was to lift the legs off the floor and try the full pose. Everybody lived his/her own experience.
There were also some students who did not want to experience both poses. They were contented neither with “bakasana” nor with “tittibasana.” As we had prepared the body this much, I could suggest them another alternative. “Bhujapidasana” (shoulder pressing pose) and “eka hasta bhujasana” (leg over shoulder pose) were the other two alternatives. I was showing a lot of alternatives because everybody had a different body structure. Some had flexible shoulders some had flexible hips. Some had tense “quadriceps” muscles and therefore “eka hasta bhujasana” were challenging for them as they could have cramps. Some had short arms and therefore were having difficulties in “bhujapidasana” and “tittibasana.” But “bakasana” were easier for them. I wanted to please everyone and therefore there were many alternatives.
After the peak pose, we neutralized the body with “dandasana” (staff pose) and “paschimottanasana” (sitting forward bend) and then laid supine for “jathara parivartanasana” (abdominal twist) to relax the body. Now it was time for “savasana” (deep relaxation and resting pose).
I kept “savasana” long since it was a tiring and advanced class . I wanted to totally relax the body and mind. How did we end the class after “savasana?” “Arm balancing poses are fairly challenging poses. Coordination and concentration are a must for these poses. To adjust the body and breath, to look at a fixed point and to cope with fears. When we talk about arm balancing poses, fear is in question. Now we were on our feet not on our arms. We were now grounding on our hands. Therefore, we should place our hands strongly on the ground, spread the fingers on the mat, and keep our grounding as strong and wide as we can. As the hands and arms were not as strong as the feet, we have to cope with fear. To fly like a crow and firefly. To shift the weight of the body a bit forward and a bit backward and to fly. To flitter… To cope with fear and to address the fear.” This was what we learned that day.

“Shall we try this asana (pose) in our next class?” When one of my students asked me this question in a group class, she was showing the “asana” at the same time. “But, I do not know its name. Therefore, I am showing it. It should be something like ‘eka pada.’ As it is a one-legged pose and therefore I think that it begins with ‘eka pada.’ But, I do not know the full name.” Yes, it is so: “Eka pada galavasana” (flying pigeon/flying crow pose). Mostly it is just used as “galavasana.” And the peak pose of the next class was found.

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This peak pose was an arm balancing pose and it was a challenging one. As it was an arm balancing pose, we should strengthen arms, shoulder girdle and arm muscles in the first half of the class. We should also stretch hip muscles because we could externally rotate hips in order to practice this asana. We had to stretch and strengthen many parts of the body till the peak pose. Let’s start then.

We began the class with a long meditation by focusing on breath. After meditation, we started to move the spine with “marjaryasana-bitilasana” (cat-cow stretch) flow. Coming on all-fours, we twisted to right and left and stood up in “adho mukha svanasana” (downward facing dog). We then got into “tadasana” (mountain pose) with a “vinyasa.” We warmed up the bodies with “surya namaskara A” and “surya namaskara B” (sun salutation) series. In-between sun salutation series, we added “ashwa sanchalanasana” (high lunge) and “anjaneyasana” (low lunge) to stretch hip flexor muscles.

Then came “virabhadrasana II” (warrior II), “parsvakonasana” (side angle pose), “prasarita padottanasana” (wide-legged forward bend) and “eka pada raja kapotasana” (pigeon) in-between “vinyasa”s. When staying in “utkatasana” (chair pose), we crossed legs one over the other just as men did and stayed there for five breaths. Thus, we stretched hip external rotators. We bent forward in the same pose to open these muscles more.

Now it was time to strengthen core muscles. In one flow, we stayed in “phalakasana” (plank) for five breaths and in another flow we got from “phalakasana” into “chaturanga dandasana” (low plank) in three breaths. In another flow, we lifted one leg in “phalakasana” and stayed in that pose for five breaths. Then the other leg. In another “vinyasa,” we inhaled in “phalakasana” and exhaled in “adho mukha svanasana” and this flow went on for ten times. “Vasisthasana” (sage Vasistha pose/side plank) was another core strengthening asana we added in-between vinyasa flows. We tried to move forward and backward in “chaturanga dandasana.” In another “vinyasa”, we lifted one leg in downward facing dog and got into “phalakasana” when inhaling this way, and when exhaling we got into “chaturanga dandasana” and inhaling came “urdhva mukha svanasana” and exhaling we ended in one-legged “adho mukha svanasana” (downward facing dog). But it was not over. Then came the left side. In “utkatasana”, we came into “skier pose” when exhaling. Inhaling we stood up in chair pose and exhaling we came into skier pose in order to work out the core muscles. Flowing between “ardha salamba sirsasana” (dolphin pose) and forearm plank pose was the other core strengthening flow. Moreover, this flow helped us strengthen the shoulder girdle. The last asana was a fun but at the time time a scary asana. In “phalakasana”, we would lift the hands and clap them like applauding yourself. Here, one should have to use core muscles well. Otherwise, s/he can fall down and hit the chin and face on the ground. We tried, experienced. We could do it, could not do it. But we enjoyed and had fun.
After a last “vinyasa”, we got into “malasana” (garland pose), we opened hip muscles more before the peak pose. From “malasana”, we got into “bakasana” (crow pose) and got one step closer to the peak pose. Some tried “parsva bakasana” (side crow pose) as they were feeling more comfortable in this pose than “bakasana”. Therefore, one could pick between crow and side crow before the peak pose in order to feel happier and more comfortable.
Now it was time for the peak pose. There were two alternatives to get into the pose, either from “bakasana” or “utkatasana.” Those who want to get into the pose from “utkatasana” would put right leg on the left leg like men did, hook their toes around the arm, put their hands on the floor and lean on the arms and try to raise the left leg behind them. If they could not lift the left leg, they would keep in it on the ground as this was also a challenging pose. Those who could do would raise the left leg behind.
Those who preferred to get into the pose from “bakasana” would walk their right leg to their left arm, hook the right toes around the left arm and lean on their arms. Then try to raise the left leg behind them. This meant that they had two alternatives to get into the same asana. Some found one easier and some liked the other due to bodily and mental reasons and habits.
Everyone was trying “eka pada galavasana” according to his/her bodily and mental habits. I was walking around the class and trying to help students. When I was helping one of the students, I just wanted to raise my head and look around. And guess what I saw. One of the students who was always practicing on his own and in his corner managed to practice “galavasana” very well and successfully. Moreover, he jumped to “chaturanga dandasana” (low plank) afterwards. I could not stop showing my enthusiasm. I shouted with joy and I applauded at the same time.
Everybody who heard me stopped practicing and looked around. I had to explain. “Our friend who always practices on his own and in his own corner did today’s peak pose very well. I did not know there was such a jewel in our class. If you do not mind, can you show the asana to whole class for one more time?” He did not refuse me. He showed the asana for one more time like a flying pigeon. First he raised himself in the asana as if he was flying and then he jumped to low plank as if he was flying. And everyone applauded.
After the peak pose, we neutralized the bodies with partner yoga practice. In “dandasana”, one of the pairs got behind other and lifted his/her partner by pulling his/her arms, keeping the spine straight. In another pair yoga practice, we did “upavistha konasana” (wide-angle seated forward bend) and “paschimottanasana” (sitting forward bend). One of the pairs helped the other when bending forward in “upavishta konasana” and then both did twists. In “paschimottanasana”, one bent forward and the other bent over him/her and opened the chest in bridge pose. Finally came “jathara parivartanasana” (abdominal twist). One of the pairs helped the other twist and stretch more.
How would I end the class after a long “savasana” (deep relaxation and resting pose)? For students, what was important was not how strong or how flexible we were. What was important was whether we could flow between asanas with the help of breath and in harmony and whether we could maintain the unity of mind, body and breath during the class. If we lost this unity, this would not be yoga but just an ordinary physical exercise. We should always maintain the unity of our mind, body and breath and be in harmony. For me, what was important was to be in communication and interaction with the students. Criticisms, demands, questions and answers from them. All were for my progress. Do not lose your awareness Burcu… Keep watching… Be open to learning more… Go on learning and teaching… Learn so that you can teach… Be open to new developments… And be in interaction…

I have focused on philosophical issues for some time for I could not self-practice, try new asanas and do asanas I used to do very well. Everything happens for a reason. Maybe I have handled yoga only on the basis of asanas for a long time and I distanced myself from philosophy I liked so much. As I have given up asana practice, I can spend more time on new books and researches, which makes me give priority to philosophical approaches in my classes. My private and group classes all focused on philosophy last week.

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I am trying to focus on different parts of the body, work out and strengthen different parts of the body and reveal the emotions of that part in every class. As I have read books on “kundalini yoga” for some time, I focused on “chakras” in my last week’s classes. I worked on the first two chakras in the former classes and tried to strengthen “muladhara” (root) and “svadisthana” (sacral) chakras and ensure an emotional relief. Acceptance, trust and creativity. Now it was time for the third chakra, i.e. “manipura” (solar plexus/navel) chakra. Its emotion was “determination” while its shadow emotion was “anger.” What did this mean? If the navel chakra was working well, the person would be energetic and a person who could make his goals come true. If this chakra was week, that person did not have any energy to make his/her thoughts come true. S/he was unhappy and not content with whact life brought to him/her and a furious and a disappointed person. In physical sense, the stronger the core muscles were, the fewer the back problems were and the easier the body balance could be ensured. That meant the navel was both physically and emotionally important place.
That day, I had a private class in the morning and a group class in the evening. I talked about “manipura chakra” at the beginning of the private class and said that we would focus on core. After the meditation, we twisted the body in “balasana” (child pose) and then we sat in “virasana” (hero pose). We practiced “kapalabhati kriya” (skull cleansing method) and worked out core muscles and diaphragm. After a “vinyasa” flow we stood up in “tadasana” (mountain pose), warmed the body up with “surya namaskara” (sun salutation) series and rested in “tadasana”. Then came “nauli kriya” (abdominal cleansing method). “Nauli kriya” was difficult and it could take a long time to fully practice it. However, we just tried to completely empty the lungs and tighten core muscles. This was the first stage of “nauli kriya”. If we managed to do this, we would try to tighten the right and left abdominal muscles and those in the middle and then relax them. Then we would try to tighten one side of abdominal muscles and relax the other side. The last stage was to tighten the central core muscles, then tighten those in the right side and relax them and then tighten those in the left side and relax them. Thus, we could massage the abdomen. After trying the “kriya” for a few times, we went back to “vinyasa” flows.
We focused on “twists” in the private class and wanted to work out and detoxify the navel chakra with “twists.” Therefore, in-between “vinyasa” flows, we practiced “parsvakonasana” (side angle pose), “parivrtta parsvakonasana” (revolved side angle pose), twist in “ashva sanchalanasana”da (high lunge), twist in “tadasana” (mountain pose), twist in “uttanasana” (standing forward bend),  “parivrtta prasarita padottanasana” (revolved wide-angle pose), twist in “adho mukha svanasana” (downward facing dog). “Svarga dvidasana” (bird of paradise) was the last standing twist. It was time for the peak pose. We sat down. We stretched hips with “rock the baby”, “akarna dhanurasana” (archer pose) and “krounchasana” (heron pose) and twisted the body to the right and left in heron pose. Then we tried “parivrtta surya yantrasana” (compass pose). We ended twists with “parivrtta upavistha konasana” (revolved seated angle pose).
We balanced the spine with “dandasana” (staff pose), “paschimottanasana” (sitting forward bend) and “purvottanasana” (upward plank pose) and ended the flow with “ananda balasana” (happy baby pose). We relaxed the body totally in “savasana” (deep relaxation and resting pose).
In the group class, we focused on core strengthening poses. At the beginning of the class, we practiced “kapalabhati kriya” and after warming the body up, we tried “nauli kriya.” In-between “vinyasa” flows, we practiced “phalakasana” (plank), “chaturanga dandasana” (low plank), “vasisthasana” (Sage Vasista pose/side plank) and strengthened arms and core muscles. We inhaled and exhaled and flew between “phalakasana” (plank) and “adho mukha svanasana” (downward facing do) and between “urdhva mukha svanasana” (upward facing dog) and “adho mukha svanasana.” We tried to lift the bodies from “chaturanga dandasana” (low plank) to “phalakasana” and we moved forward and backward in “chaturanga dandasana”. In every inhale and exhale, we flew from “ardha salamba sirsasana” (dolphin pose) to “plank on elbows.” After working out core and arm muscles, we tried “bakasana” (crow pose) and “pincha mayurasana” (forearm pose). Those who did not want to practice “pincha mayurasana” chose either “salamba sarvangasana” (shoulderstand) or “salamba sirsasana” (headstand) or “adho mukha vrksasana” (handstand) in order to change the flow of blood in their bodies.
I wanted to end the class with “vinyasa” flows. My intention was to cool down the body with “vinyasa”s. In-between “vinyasa” flows, we put the back knee on the floor in “ashva sanchalasana” (high lunge) to stretch the quadriceps. We relived the chest with “bhujangasana” (cobra pose) and stretched the neck by looking to the right and left in every exhale. We stayed long in “uttanasana” (standing forward bend) to stretch the hamstring muscles. In the last “vinyasa”, we jumped forward to “dandasana” (staff pose). We lied supine and relaxed hip external muscles by “eye of the needle” pose and then twisted the body with “twisted roots.” We balanced the spine with “ananda balasana” (happy baby pose). Then came a long “savasana” (deep relaxation and resting pose).
How would I end the class? If “manipura chakra” (navel chakra) was strong, our stance in life would be strong. Ambitious and determined. When we said ambition, we were not talking about greed. We were talking about the talent to start a project and have the will to end it up. If we started playing a musical instrument and quitted, this meant the navel chakra was not working well. “Manipura chakra” was where one had the determination and power to start a project and maintain it. If we were determined and ambitious, we would be purified from the shadow feeling of this chakra which was anger. When every chakra had a positive emotion and we had the chance and will to fortify that emotion, what is the use of being the slave of the negative emotions of the chakras?

Last week, I subbed the morning group class of one of friends who is also a yoga instructor. My friend had something important to do that day so I went to the gym club to sub her class. I am attending evening group classes in that gym club and the last time I  subbed a morning class in the same gym club was last year.

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Every student who stepped in the studio for the class was first looking at me and then asking, “will you be our teacher today?” I replied, “yes, we will practice today’s class together. I am planning to focus on twists today but I also want to learn what you would like to try today. Is there any other asanas you would like to try?”

That morning, everyone was so energetic that they wanted to work inversions. The decision was made. We would focus on arm balancing poses and inversions. Which parts of the body did we need to strengthen to do these poses? Core, back, shoulder and arm muscles had to be strengthened.

I began the class with a long meditation. As it would be a hard class, I wanted to prepare the students to these challenging poses bodily, mentally and spiritually. I asked the students to watch their inhales and exhales as my first goal was to ensure a bodily and a mental relief. I tried to calm the bodies down by focusing the students on their breath. I asked them to watch the road of the air after each inhale. The bodies were getting more relaxed as the students focused more on their breath. When I thought that the students relaxed completely, I stopped talking and left them with their own experiences.

After the meditation, we started to relieve the spine with “marjaryasana-bitilasana” flow (cat cow stretch). Then we tested the balance by opening right arm and left leg and then bringing them together around the core. Next was the left arm and right leg. In the end we stood up after a “vinyasa” flow.

We had to warm the bodies more and therefore we went on with “surya namaskara” (sun salutation) series. In-between these flows, we waited for five breaths in “phalakasana” (plank pose) or “vasisthasana” (side plank pose/sage Vasistha pose) and thus we strengthened core and arm muscles. In another flow, we tried two different variations of “vasisthasana”. In another “vinyasa”, “chaturanga dandasana” (low plank) replaced “phalakasana”. Wasn’t our goal to strengthen the back, arm, shoulder and core muscles?
Other poses in-between “vinyasa” flows were “ardha salamba sirsasana” (dolphin pose), “eka pada adho mukha svanasana” (one-legged downward facing dog). Moreover, in order to work arm muscles, we brought the chest closer to the ground and then lifted it up in “adho mukha svanasana.”
In order to work out core muscles, we sat down after jumping from “adho mukha svanasana” to “malasana” (garland pose). Then we lied down for classical crunches. Then we went on with crunches but legs up to 90 degrees. Then one leg stood up but the other came near the ground and we continued with crunches this way. One side first, and then the other side. Later, a dynamic “jathara parivartanasana” (abdominal twist) without touching the legs to the ground. Finally, the legs were lifted up to 90 degrees and were lowered in three stages but they were not put on the ground. The legs stood a little bit off the floor and they were moved as if we were swimming. This flow was done for three times and then knees to the chest. Core muscles were strengthened.
Now we could try arm balancing poses and inversions. After a “vinyasa”, we again jumped to “malasana” from “adho mukha svanasana.” First “bakasana” (crow) and “parsva bakasana” (side crow). Some students could easily do “bakasana” some others “parsva bakasana.” After these poses, we tried “bhujapidasana” (shoulder pressing pose) and “eka hasta bhujasana” (leg over shoulder pose). As bodies and minds were different, each student could do one of the poses better than the other. Therefore, I wanted to give alternatives because if you asked students to do only one pose, some of them could be happy but others unhappy.
Following arm balancing poses, now it was time for “multiple choice” inversions. Our alternatives were “salamba sarvangasana” (shoulderstand), “halasana” (plow pose), “salamba sirsasana” (headstand), “pincha mayurasana” (forearm stand), “adho mukha vrksasana” (handstand) and “tripod headstand”. Another option was to get the support of the wall. I was also there to help students or they could get in pairs and help each others. Many options and alternatives.
After inversions, we balanced the bodies with a twist and rested in “savasana” (deep relaxation and resting pose) for a long time. I was thinking how to end the class when students were relaxing their bodies and minds, resting and getting calmed down in “savasana.” When everybody sat in a cross-legged position and joined their hands in front of their hearts in “anjali mudra” (salutation seal), I talked about the physical and emotional benefits of balancing poses. At that moment, I thought of ending the class this way. “Inversions turn the flow of your bodies upside down, helps us change our perspective and improves coordination and concentration.” When writing this blog, another thing caught my attention and I thought how I could not realize it during the class and ended the class with this approach.
A yoga class with “options”, “alternatives” and “multiple choices”… A life full of “options”, “alternatives” and “multiple choices.” What is important is to accept that the choice we make is the right choice and not to regret…

Two things have changed my perspective on inversions. One was to start classes in a yoga studio, meet a distinguished yoga instructor, her recommendations to me and thus changing my perspective and her sharing everything she knows and learns with me. The second was to overcome my fear by continuous trial and practice. Of course, this was not an easy and short process as you may imagine. It happened in almost six months.

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Everything began when I was chatting with this yoga instructor one day. I told her that I could do headstand (sirsasana) but I could not do feathered peacock pose (pincha mayurasana) and handstand (adho mukha vrksasana). She asked me to try the poses before her eyes. As usual, I got into half handstand pose and tried to take my legs out of the wall one by one. She said, “Burcu, you are trying the most difficult handstand variation. Ok, you can strengthen your arm muscles and learn not to lean on your shoulder girdle but it takes a long time for you to get away from the wall.” She was right. I was trying for two years. I said, “but I cannot jump towards the wall. The wall is an obstacle. I feel like I may hit my head on the wall. I do not think I am strong enough to jump on the wall. This is something I have been afraid of since I was a kid. I cannot do it, I cannot make it.” My mind has accepted “cannot do it and cannot make it.” So, how much I pushed the limits, I could not make it. That simple!
Then, the yoga instructor started to help me. She showed some asanas to strengthen my core and some other ways to get into a handstand. She recommended me to practice every day. “You should practice every day. You should try every day. One day, it will happen.” Ok, let’s see.
When I got home, I googled handstands and watched my videos. I also kept the recommendations of my friend in my. I also watched videos to strengthen my core muscles.
The following day, I started my self-practice. Once I completed the cardiovascular and weight workout, I placed my mat beside the wall. First I began with core strengthening asanas and series. I thought I had strong core muscles. No, I did not. After starting to practice the core strengtheners I watched in yoga videos, I saw that my core was not as strong as I thought. So, I focused on strengthening my core.
After working the core, I went on with several series I had to do in order to stand on my hands. Leaning on the tip of the big toe in “uttanasana” (standing forward bend) and lifting the legs to the sides one by one, jumping into a handstand in “prasarita padottanasana” (wide-legged forward bend) and trying to stand on arms in balance even for one second, jumping from “adho mukha svanasana” (downward facing dog) onto a block as if you are getting into “bakasana” (crow), jumping from “uttanasana” into “chaturanga dandasana” (low plank) as if you are “flying” and by lifting the hip, and the same type of jumping from “adho mukha svanasana” into “uttanasana”. Finally, jumping to the wall.
Jumping to the wall was the most difficult one for me. I was not only trying “adho mukha vrksasana” but also “pincha mayurasana.” I was jumping, jumping and jumping but my legs were not reaching the wall. I was afraid. Why? I was just jumping on the wall. No chance to fall. One of the fitness instructors in the gym club told me this. “Burcu, why are you afraid of? Throw your legs higher and higher, up and up. They can only hit the wall. Nothing will happen. You won’t hurt yourself.” He may be right but let me realize this. First convince my mind.
Days were passing by. Those days, one of my friends at the gym club offered to help me. “You jump, let me grab your leg and this way you will get used to.” Maybe, he was right. I won’t lose anything if I tried. The second stage in my inversion process began this way. Every morning, my friend was helping me. I was going to the gym club half an hour before he came and working my core and inversion series. Then he was grabbing my legs.
Some more time went by. “No, no way. I can never do these poses in my whole life.” These were the views in my mind and surely, inversions were only a dream for me. And let me tell you something funny. If I see the mirror when I was jumping, I was getting excited and I could not even jump. When I see myself trying to jump to the wall on my hands, the pose was more and more impossible for me.
Days and months passed. One day, I went to my private class. When I was waiting my student to show up, I tried to jump to the wall. Before this class, I had a kids yoga class. I was so tried. Why was I trying handstand now? Was it to do with the devil? I placed my mat beside the wall and started to jump. First jump, second jump, third jump. What? One of my legs touched the wall and I stayed day for one second, or two seconds. Let me go on trying. Jump, jump, and jump. I am on my hands. Or am I just assuming so. No, I am on my hands. I placed my legs to the wall and stayed there for a few breaths. I am not at the point of taking my legs off the wall. “Please, my dear student. Come into the studio. See me. Let this not be a dream. Am I really in the wall-supported handstand? Please, someone see me and varify me.”

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That day was the day when my practice bore fruit. I was ambitious and worked hard. I practiced every day. Morning and evening. Whenever I went to a class, I was trying inversions beside the wall before the class began.
What happened after this first handstand? I did not give in and I went on practicing. As I said, I showed at the studio at least half an hour before my classes and I was working. I was also trying feathered peacock pose. One handstand, one feathered peacock pose. The same process with “pincha mayurasana.” At first, my legs were so away from the wall. Then, I started to throw my legs higher and higher. And one day I reached the wall. Then I tried to take my legs from the wall in “adho mukha vrksasana” and “pincha mayurasana.” First one by one, then both of them. I practiced and practiced.
Of course, this was not enough for me. Then came “sirsasana II” (tripod headstand). I could do “salamba sirsasana” (supported headstand) but I was having difficulties in tripod variation. The top of my head was hurting. My mat was too thin. I found a solution. I was placing a towel under my hand and making that part of my mat thicker. Guess what? I also managed to do this pose when I went to my private class. That place is magical for me, I think. I was getting into the tripod headstand by lifting both my legs and pushing them towards my chest. That is, I was not throwing my legs one by one. I was in full coordination and control and using my core muscles. I was beside the wall but not touching it. It was just good to feel confident and safe by the wall. Maybe, I could do it in the middle of the room but it was safer to stand by the wall.
And finally, I started to try getting from “sirsasana II” into “bakasana” (crow). Of course, by the wall. I could do it. Really. At first, I had difficulty in lifting my head when I placed my legs on my triceps but it happened when I used “bandha”s (locks).
If you ask me what happened in this long process, I had bruises in all parts of my body. Particulary at the back of my elbows and triceps. My elbows were hurt. I hit my head on the wall for many times. The top of my head hurt until I got used to inversions. After I got used to, not that much problem. My body and my mind were relaxed. My legs started to get away from the wall. When I was trying “pincha mayurasana” by the wall, from time to time I got into the pose without even touching the wall. But this time my mind was used to getting the signal: “legs to the wall.” I was panicking and immediately touching my legs on the wall. In fact, that was the pose I was trying to do. That was the final stage and exactly the way the pose had to be. Without the support of the wall, without hurrying, easy and relaxed. Yes, I could see. Whatever happens to me, comes from my mind.
The result? I am still practicing and trying. I am not daunted. I try new asanas. I focus on arm balancing poses. I do inversions one after the other. What is my goal? To stand in handstand and feathered peacock pose in the middle of the mat, away from the wall and without any support. It happened in headstand. Why not in “adho mukha vrksasana” and “pincha mayurasana”?