We recently started a new semester of the Thrive Yoga and Wellness 200 hr Yoga Teacher Training semester. With a brand new crop of super enthusiastic, ready to learn and fun yogis in the house, it’s pretty hard not to be mega pumped. As a teacher, however it’s my job to make sure these new students 1) learn how to best practice for themselves and then 2) learn how to identify and help their future students to stay safe and best practice for themselves. It’s a heavy burden, once I don’t take lightly, but one I absolutely wouldn’t do without.
As is the case with every semester, we spend the majority of the first weekend with the introductions, pleasantries, etc, but then we also start to dive into some fundamentals that, if the students have been practicing for any length of time, may be eye opening and maybe even ego slaying. The biggest blow to a majority of the first weekend teachers is the education on the Chaturanga. Ya’ll this pose is HARD. Honestly though, most people don’t do it right, and it leads to a LOT of injuries, especially in super zealous new yogis (or yoga teacher trainees.) That’s why I have a handful of tutorials AND videos on this one posture! (be sure to subscribe to the Thrive Youtube Channel!)
At the beginning of the training, many of the student teachers are reticent to “give up” the chaturanga and work on their planks, or even do the chaturanga on their knees. However, by the end of day 1, when they are tired, it gets a little easier, and Day 2 they are thankful for the respite. 😉
Why is it hard to let go of a yoga pose?
In the instance described below, folks not wanting to modify a chaturanga, it can be quite a blow to the ego of someone that thinks they are very strong, but with one video viewing, they can see how the core isn’t supporting the body in a straight line, so perhaps more core strength is necessary. It’s a blow to also not be doing what other people are doing. These are both very tough decisions and part of another yoga concept of Aparigraha, or non-attachment.
As humans, we get attached to things rather easily (some more than others.) I can show you a house full of animals as proof. Attachment isn’t necessarily a bad thing, we are communal creatures, so we should be attached to the community that we are in, but when the attachments stop serving us, as in a yoga pose that, when practiced causes you injury, or if practiced incorrectly could cause you pain, that’s the perfect instance of when letting it go would be ideal.
Is Letting Go of a Yoga Pose Saying Good Bye Forever?
It’s just like the expression about setting things free and seeing if they come back. However, unlike a lover or a wild animal, yoga poses aren’t living creatures. The are physical postures that are designed to help us get and be better. In summary, Yoga Poses are supposed to feel good.
“Yoga is Supposed to Feel Good.”Manju Jois
Letting go of a Chaturanga until you work up the strength to hold your own body weight up in your hands isn’t necessarily a forever thing. Putting your legs behind your head? That may be something a person will have to let go.
I recently struggled with the concept of letting go of yoga pose
This past summer, I was finally FINALLY able to bind in Titibasana (a second series posture.) I even got it on video as proof (for like a split second.)
Not exactly right after getting this bind, but pretty soon afterward, my hip started bothering me. Like, legit, I would stand up and it would take several moments for me to be able to walk, with a few times the leg not even able to support my weight. Talk about scary!
Here I was FINALLY FINALLY getting somewhere (so I thought) with my yoga practice and BAM, I do something and somehow I hurt.
For the record, I never hurt in my yoga practice, and I’m pretty sure I did this outside of the practice but that’s another story.
However, It was almost 6 months of new serious forward folds before I gingerly–just gingerly tried to pick up my leg and get it somewhat, maybe a little, close to the side of my body. We’ll call it a baby leg behind the head.
It didn’t hurt! I didn’t push it, but waited until the next day to see if my hip bothered me, and it didn’t! WHOOP WHOOP!
It’s been about 2 weeks now and I’ve been slowly incorporating more deep forward bends into my practice and just waiting and seeing. I still feel pain in my hip if I sit for any length of time, but the pain from walking and constant pain is gone. If I have ANY pain at all in a day, I skip the deep forward bends (which seem to exacerbate things.) I’m super happy to report, I have done my Dwipada sirsasana a few times without pain the next day, so hopefully that pose is still in my arsenal.
The thing is, I have to be ok with it never ever being in my arsenal again. Ever. Period.
If the pose doesn’t serve me anymore, I don’t need the pose. Neither do you.
This is stinking HARD to fess up to.
However, it’s something that can translate deeper than just a yoga pose. If something doesn’t serve you, if it causes more harm than good, then perhaps it’s time to evaluate the position of that posture (or whatever) in your life. Yes, it may be upsetting when you initially let go of the posture (or whatever). The hope is, however, that you are better off without it, or whatever was wrong gets fixed and when you can bring that posture back into the game, you’re gonna be even better!
How cool is that?!?!
Join me today in taking a moment to be “ok” with letting go of that which does not serve us….including and especially yoga poses. Let’s agree to let some stuff go and see how much better we get! Maybe it’ll come back, maybe it won’t. Regardless, you will be better off!
This post was written by Jennifer Dixon ERYT 500 and Authorized Ashtanga Yoga Teacher by Manju Jois.