Friday, September 16, 2011

Yes! You Can! (Part 2)

Last week's blog entry introduced you to an intense pose: Handstand. Continuing on that theme, this week's yoga pose is another intense pose: Chair Pose. Now, I know that Chair Pose doesn't sound as intense as standing on your hands, but the way that you perform this pose will certainly bring a little more excitement to your practice. Chair Pose is a standard pose that is seen and performed while flowing through the Sun Salutation Series B. But there are some things you need to know about Chair Pose. Yoga instructors call this posture Chair simply because it LOOKS like you're sitting in a chair. (It also resembles the shape of a Thunder Bolt which is another nickname for this posture.) Being IN Chair Pose, however, does not mimic actually sitting in a chair. The Sanskrit for this posture is Utkatasana which translates to intensely fierce or powerful pose. While holding this pose, you will certainly experience the intensity. Let's start with your intention while standing in Mountain Pose. With your hands at your heart center, bring to mind some challenging circumstances you may have had to manage in recent times. Maybe you were faced with situations that seemed nearly impossible to get through. While in the middle of the situation, you may have even thought to yourself, "how will I ever get through this?" No matter how challenging an event may be, remember that you have the power and strength to make it through. You WILL see the other side of the situation. After you set your intention of KNOWING your inner strength, power, and endurance, inhale to extend your arms toward the sky. Exhale and sit back into "chair pose." While you bend your knees, you will hinge your hips and sit back as if you were sitting into a chair. Keep your arms extended upward past your ears. Now....hold this posture for at least TWO MINUTES. Yes, that is a long time, but do your very best. Resist the urge to move or drop out of the pose. Remember your strength and ability to get through challenging situations, Here are some things you can do to help maintain Utkatasana. Recall the resource of the breath. Allow yourself to take deeper (and perhaps audible) breaths here. Inhale to maintain a full length through the arms and spine. Exhale to engage your core - draw your navel in toward your spine. Be aware of your foundation: secure your feet firmly into the floor. (You may want to shift some weight back into your heels so that you do not force too much pressure into your knee joints.) Imagine you have a block between your thighs and squeeze it. This will give you more strength in your hips to stay solid in the pose. Your arms and shoulders may get tired, but keep the breath strong and remember you CAN do this. It's ONLY 2 minutes! I can guess you have been in worse situations for longer periods of time, right? Complete your 2 minute intense pose by standing tall with an inhale - arms still extending toward the sky. Exhale to bring your arms down by your side. You're done. Stand here for another minute or so to allow the body to relax after this powerful pose. Smile! You did it! It may not have been easy, but you got through it. Remember that you can do the same thing off the mat. Use your inner strength and resources to get through those moments in life that seem nearly impossible to get through. Trust yourself. You CAN do it. Namaste.

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