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Changing Perspective and Keeping it Fresh

What happens when you do the same pose but from a different perspective? What can changing your relationship with gravity teach you about your body, how it moves in and out of a yoga pose and where you might be compensating – because you can?

Since I got back from the first half of the 300-hour advanced Yoga Biomechanics training with Jules Mitchell, I have been exploring these thoughts is some of my classes.

Try this at home: lie on your back with the soles of your feet against the wall and your heels on the floor. Place your hands on your hips so that your hands can monitor when your pelvis starts to move. Feel as if you were standing on your left leg and begin the slow and mindful process of bringing your right leg into tree pose. Pause and back up any time you start to feel your pelvis move. What do you notice?

If you are able to isolate the movement of your thigh bone in your hip joint, you may find that your foot and knee end up in a place that is very different from your typical position in the pose. With the same care and attention, repeat your tree pose while standing. What do you notice?

Spoiler alert: Tree becomes more challenging!

Is there anything wrong with doing tree the way you have always done it? I don’t think so. And, this exercise is a fun way to include movement variety in your yoga posture practice.

One of the challenges I have with modern postural yoga practice is the tacit emphasis on getting into a shape (yoga pose) the same way and holding it the same way each time we practice it. Instead, why not think about adding movement variety when you do a pose as a way to create a new focus or challenge in your practice?

Movement variety is an important factor in helping your body be more robust through a greater range of activities and can help prevent over-use injuries. In addition, movement variety is good for your brain. For more on movement and your brain, read Dr. John Ratey’s book about how movement complexity is important for neurological health in Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. Namaste, Nora

Photo by Anika Huizinga on Unsplash


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