I’ve been working on the party-trick asanas lately. Sexy asanas that make you sound drunk by saying them like Vrschikasana (scorpion), Astavakrasana (eight angle), and Titibhasana (firefly). Go home yoga, you’re drunk.
It’s been fun. I clear out wall space, grab my props, pad a huge landing zone, and then it’s me and gravity until gravity wins.
There are always tiny little golden secrets to pretzeling into these postures that teachers seem to drop, almost accidentally, in class and poof. You’re in it. And you feel like a complete bad ass. Like ninja meets Gumby bad ass. And who doesn’t love that feeling?
So here are some of Yogini B’s little gems:
Make sure your body is warmed up. Really warmed up. Although party-trick asanas rely heavily on the arms, they also use a lot of core strength, hamstring flexibility, and open hips, back, and shoulders.
Use props. There is a mental taboo in many students that using a prop means you’re not doing the posture. But you totally are. Just because your body is relying on a wall or couch or your aquarium for support, does not mean you’re not doing the posture. In fact, it’s better to use the support to gradually strengthen muscles and get the feel for the asana than fighting our way into it.
Get to the point you feel like you’re going to fall. Especially for balance postures like crow or crane or any of their variations. Your brain will try to stop you right before you’re about to get into the pose. Trust your body, and, with control, lean past the point where your brain freaks out. That’s when you fly.
Find the secret entrance. In every asana there is a top secret place to start that removes some of the glamour from the posture because it becomes so easy. Astavakrasana? Start in Compass. Titibhasana? Start in Goddess. Eka Pada Galavasana? Forward fold with one leg crossed, making the number 4. The right starting zone determines the ease of the posture.
Remember the more extravagant the posture, the less likely ancient yogis did it. Don’t leave your trikonasana and bhadda konasana behind for your shiny new boyfriend postures. It’s easy to get caught up in the party-trick asanas BECAUSE GUMBY NINJA. Just remember the real yoga is where any asana is working you the most on every level. *Hint: It’s usually the posture that you run to the bathroom in the middle of class to avoid.
Get out of the posture. See “pad a huge landing zone”. Once the exit is glamorous you know you’re ready to take it to parties.
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