I absolutely dread the Cobra, Locust, Full Locust and Bow Poses! These four postures that make up the spine strengthening series are my least favourite in the Bikram Yoga sequence. Each one of them works a specific section of the spine.
The Cobra – or Baby Cobra – as I learned it in my Finnish teacher Satu’s Vinyasa Flow classes, is not too bad. But as we progress to the third part of the Locust, I often find it challenging to give it my best. You are supposed to be lying on your stomach and place your arms underneath your belly with hands facing down grabbing the floor. Keeping legs together, you then have to lift both legs up without using momentum, hold and breathe. And yes, you do it twice. So, so uncomfortable!
On the seventh day of my 30 day challenge I decided that I should relearn the Locust pose completely, focus on the correct form and drop all expectations of even getting my legs off the floor. I guess it should not have been a surprise, but what a difference it made! I was simply listening to the instructor’s guidance, breathing slowly and moving super-gently in and out of the posture. The usual 30 second discomfort was gone and instead I felt – for the first time ever – that by easing into the posture I was actually engaging some upper back strength.
As with anything in life, it is scary to give up a position you have advanced to and go back to basics. I believe in my yoga practice, this 30 day challenge provides me with a perfect opportunity to do so and develop a more authentic experience. Perhaps it is something I could do off the mat, too?