Diary of a Beginner Yogi: Battling with My Down Dog
Diary of a beginner yogi: Battling with my down dog
A few weeks down the line and I’m slowly adjusting to jungle lifestyle, and have kept up my newfound yoga routine! There’s been a few times I’ve found it harder to get myself to those 8a.m. classes, but I’m still practicing regularly and yoga has become a part of my daily routine now.
I’m actually starting to understand and use some of the yogi language and have grown more accustomed to the flows and the movements and I thought I’d share a couple of poses that I’ve found myself struggling with that seem come up in pretty much every class.
The first… downward-facing dog, ’adho mukha śvānāsana’, the pose that seems to provide everyone with a moment of rest, but feels like a full blown workout for me to get into, let alone maintain. I have pretty weak arms and insanely tight hamstrings and so every downwards dog seems to be an upwards struggle of balance, strength and lack of flexibility; hardly the relaxing rest bite from the flow that I think it’s intended to be. I am persevering and it is improving; slowly but surely I’m learning ways to settle into this pose and make adjustments to help me feel stronger: I’ve learnt the importance of spreading the weight through my hands, keeping a straight back and focusing more on what feels right for my body than worrying about my bent knees. I’ve surrendered to the fact that it could take a long time for my legs to straighten and maybe my expression of this pose will always look different to what I had envisioned. I’m working on building my strength and flexibility and am building a better relationship with my downwards dog.
Another ‘tricky’ pose that I’ve come across is pretty much any kneeling pose, Vajrasana.
I assumed I would be able to do this one as it seemed so simple, it’s just sitting down!! How could I be so wrong? As I slowly sat back onto my heels with the front of my feet pressed to the ground I felt in agony! I tried sitting upright, rearranging, simply bearing the pain.. but there was no way I could last even 30 seconds. Luckily I’m surrounded by great teachers, and I approached them with my problem and was quickly given some great advice: not only did I need the one block that they recommend as a prop, I needed to sit up onto two! So I’ve been sitting with my two blocks and my vajrasana has been much more comfortable since, I’m working on stretches to enable me to move down to one block and maybe at some point I’ll even be able to sit back onto my heels comfortably!
So, what have my yoga challenges taught me so far? To accept that my practice will be unique to me and that how I look when I do yoga may not be as I expected, but it’s also not what’s important; I’m learning to trust what feels right in my body. There’s no mirrors on the yoga platforms so I have to work purely on how I feel and try not to compare myself to others in the class, which is a challenge, but I’m working on it. I trust the teachers here to help me make adjustments and guide me through my practice, and through this trust my body and mind are being well served.
Submitted by guest writer: Mia Ross