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Open Sky Yoga Pages

Nemesis Poses

Okay, so in my Saturday morning yoga class, the teacher talked about our “not so favorite” poses and it got me thinking over the past few days. I like to refer to them as my “nemesis” poses. Oh yes, any true asana yogi certainly has them. Let me first say, just knowing you have a nemesis pose is a HUGE leap forward since most of the population considers ANY yoga, stretching or movement “nemesis”! I first thought of the book, Art of War by Sun Tzu and the lessons I learned from the small book years ago. Certainly, there may be times in your life, where retreat is the wise option. If it is not the time to tackle that particular pose; instead, the prudent thing to do is to make small decisive moves that lead to the “nemesis” pose you are seeking. Too many times, I see people in a group class so bent on “getting into” that glory pose as if that is the goal instead of nurturing their body to a place that will EVOLVE to the place you may “someday” go. Like most things in life, the journey is more significant than the goal. Of course, they may not realize the thing they are really nurturing is an eventual injury. No one ever wants an injury, but it just tells me how out of touch we can sometimes be. An injury is almost never an isolated occurrence, but a disconnect between the body and mind. The very thing we should be “yoking” in our yoga class!
Which all leads me back to our “nemesis” pose…the pose we really don’t like to do in class. Is it really hurting you? Is it something you just can’t do? Does it constrict your breathing? Or is it just not as fun as that pose you feel SO good in? These are all questions to contemplate while you are actually attempting that pose. Hurting? What would be a pose that you can use as a modification that will actually LEAD you to your full pose at some point in time? Ask your teacher if you don’t know; that’s what they are there for! You can’t do it? Maybe you’re not supposed to! I could, at one time, bend my back so much that my butt would be on my head! I am older now; my body doesn’t to that anymore…but I can move better than most 53 year old women and I appreciate that…deeply!! Breathing constriction? First, remember any pose that you are not breathing in needs to be backed off of, but some poses do constrict the breath a bit like some twists. Glory poses? Oh, we ALL love those! That is where you really soar and feel that energy yoga brings pulse through your every fiber! I LOVE those too and wish I could do those for the entire class…much like I wish I could eat chocolates all day, but indulgence is not what we are seeking is it? We are seeking to evolve and grow and know our bodies. We have decided to engage in this activity of yoga and I do love it. Like the people I don’t necessarily like to be around or the projects I don’t particularly like to do, they are the things that show me who I really am. They are a special kind of mirror that you have reflected back on yourself. In asana, they show us the parts of our body that actually need more nurturing and I like to soften my mind and think of them as that misunderstood child that needs a bit of extra care. That is the pose that needs all of the elements of your yoga practice, the extension, the pranayama and the full involvement. I also can see that I can get to a point where I want to just quit the pose, but if I move my mind past that point, back off and try it again, the pose is there for me and I have learned something more about myself. There is not only a mind body connection, but a mind, body and EMOTION connection. I wonder what emotion is tied to that part of my body that is constricted in this nemesis pose. Tight shoulders? That would be the weight of responsibility or self protection. Tight hips? It could be self acceptance issues. Address those and you may find the body loosens or challenge yourself to do that pose everyday and the emotional issues may find their release too.
The true beauty of yoga is that we come to our mat to learn what we can, take it into our lives and we are better having done so. If you bask in only your glory poses, let’s face it, you are also basking in that ego. It is inevitable. We need to take the sweet with the bitter. That is what life is all about and yoga is life.

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About Open Sky Yoga February 18, 2011 8:33 AM Barbara

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