Friday, September 2, 2011
"Open yourself up to your greatest potential." That could certainly be a person's mantra or motivational quote that they have taped to their bathroom mirror! It could also be the intention behind any yoga practice. But what does it really mean? I have often defined yoga to my new yoga students as the practice of finding greater awareness of self by focusing on breath and movement. When you focus on these areas, you find and feel a clarity about yourself that seems to open many doors. You find that you have greater strength, ability, focus, balance, integrity, peace of mind, and the list goes on. Yoga can be the practice that opens the doors to many possibilities. One can start simply and easily to find those inner openings; to discover your own greatest potential.
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
Also called Cobbler's Pose, named for the Indian cobbler as he sits and builds shoes, this yoga posture is essentially a hip opener, but can also demonstrate that inner potential one seeks to discover. Start by sitting on the floor and bring the bottoms of your feet together. Draw your heels closer to your pelvis. Your knees will naturally drop down to the side. Don't worry if your knees do not touch the floor. They don't need to. If your hips are little tight, this is great pose to begin that release. Hold onto your toes, ankles or shins so that you are able to sit up tall with an extended spine. (Feel free to practice this pose sitting against a wall. You can also do Supta Baddha Konasana, or Reclining Bound Angle Pose which is done lying on your back.)
Once you have established the pose, set your intention. Perhaps you want to be more extroverted or be able to speak your mind more freely and with confidence. Maybe you feel stuck in a rut and want to find a way to move forward; created a change in the old routine. When our minds and bodies are opened, we can see the possibilities; the doors begin to open. Cobbler's Pose can guide you toward feeling more alive, free, and open.
Hold here for 10-15 breaths. Allow the natural release and the opening to occur. If you focus on the exhale, this can assist the release of any tightness in the inner thighs and hips. Further, if your intention is to open yourself up more, then this, too, will happen with the practice of this pose. Remember your initial intention and experience the revealing of your natural potential.