I don’t recall when I read my first issue of “Yoga Journal,” but I do know that it was many years ago. I later subscribed, and then let my subscription lapse, and then re-subscribed – and I might have lapsed and re-subscribed yet again. No doubt, this inconsistency was in part because I‘ve never been much of a magazine reader. I’ve always preferred to sit down with a book in my hands than a magazine.
But then I made the life-changing decision to become a yoga instructor. Since then my “Yoga Journal” subscription has been continuous. And I eagerly anticipate the arrival of every issue of this beautiful and inspiring magazine.
In addition to their feature articles, each month “Yoga Journal” includes new articles under three reoccurring themes: Live Well, Practice Well, and Eat Well. Included under the theme of Practice Well is an article referred to as Yogapedia, which explores a pose – or usually a series of poses – in detail.
The March 2017 issue of “Yoga Journal” arrived just a few days ago. In this issue, the Yogapedia article explored “how to move from Virabhadrasana I (Warrior Pose I) to Eka Pada Rajakapotasana II (One-Legged King Pigeon Pose II).” The article was written by Senior Iyengar Yoga teacher Carrie Owerko.
I practice and teach Warrior I pose often – the more difficult One-Legged King Pigeon Pose II, not so much. But in reading Owerko’s article, I was struck by how beautifully she described both of these poses, and I wanted to share her words with you here…
“Poses can be like prayers or poems – they represent a process. In order to understand a poem, we have to first slow down and be present to the words. Sometimes a simple poetic line cuts through our defenses and pierces our heart. In the same way, the process of creating a pose can pierce through our habitual postural patterning and surprise us with an experience of freedom or joy. So in each pose, let the sense of direction (process) be more important than the final form. Virabrhadrasana I [Warrior 1] is a powerful pose that takes the body through a process of continuous rooting and rising, a process that’s an expression of what it means to live wholeheartedly in the space between earth and sky.”
“This pose [One-Legged King Pigeon Pose II] offers us a wonderful opportunity to experience the power of the pause. We learn to slow down and feel the moments that make up our movements. We stop along the way to breathe and reflect. We pose and repose. We are learning to do and perceive at the same time. This deliberate pausing (and breathing) synchronizes the body, mind, and breath so that they dance together. This way, we can stop, readjust, and back off when there is either unsteadiness or too much resistance, ultimately moving toward the effortless effort described by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutra.”
Whatever yoga poses you practice – very basic or more advanced – may your poses “be like prayers or poems,” allowing you to slow down and fully experience the “power of the pause.” Namaste.