Almost twenty years ago I sojourned into my first yoga class. Protocol required us to be barefoot, use a yoga mat, and a few props. Instantly I recognized the class would be different than any other physical fitness class I had taken previously. I was nursing an injury and was following the recommendation of my physical therapist. She said, “Begin yoga to help restore your balance, build strength back into your leg and ankle.” The practice also aids in relaxation. All sounded great and I was willing to try.
The instructor began the class in Mountain Pose, Tadasana. I stood in place at the top of my mat. As I waited for more direction, we stood for nearly three minutes. Was I missing something? No. Mountain Pose is standing in place, firm and sturdy like a monolith. This essential pose I would later learn is the foundation to all yoga postures (asanas). As we began moving, the instructor guided us through yoga archetypes from animals, nature and tools. I began to understand the names of the postures were a juxtaposition to connect and identify us with our natural surroundings.
Animals are powerful creatures and a gift to humans. We learn from animals and connect with them soulfully. Yoga postures allow us to imagine what it can be like to be a cobra, pigeon, or an eagle. Cobra is a posture of physical and mental strength. While a cobra’s belly rests on the ground so does ours. The upper body is poised above the ground and is vigilant. Cobra’s are ferocious and use their force to rise above. As humans we can be cobra like and rise above the material world, face our challenges with dignity, and remain confident. Cobra’s also shed their skin for transformation. We are constantly transforming. The archetype of the cobra can inspire us to seek possibilities, accept our challenges, and embrace all stages of life.
Pigeon pose exposes and questions our pride. A homing pigeon symbolizes assurance and confidence in challenging circumstances. They also represent safety, security, and priding themselves in who they really are. Are you are prideful person? Is your pride ego-related? Are you masking your feelings? This can be a feeling of incompetence, low self-esteem or unworthiness. Pigeon pose is a hip opener and offers an exceptional emotional release.
The superior strength of an eagle allows us to deepen our concentration. Eagle pose is a balancing posture and we must fixate on a focal point or we may fall. As an eagle we can clear our mind and focus on what is important. The challenge of the posture is twisting while balancing on one leg. As we focus in this pose it draws us closer to see what is important in life. The transformation and unfolding of the pose allows us to unwind with our arms spread. We are releasing all and feeling the lightness and freedom of our hindrances.
Exploring yoga and how you can be more in touch with nature is self-empowering and liberating. One never regrets taking to their mat. For more information about Yoga, visit: www.e-volveyoga.com or www.bronwynison.com (760) 564-YOGA (9642)