It’s a balancing act

I saw a beautiful Standing Bow in the mirror in my Bikram Yoga class today. Unfortunately it was not my reflection. Yet.

The Standing Bow Pulling Pose is the second posture in the Bikram Yoga balancing series. If you have any friends who practice Bikram Yoga and like to show off their yoga skills, this is most likely their party pose. There’s a lot going on in this posture: balancing on one leg, back bending and a bit of spine twisting. I haven’t been able to get a hang of it. Until a few days back when I realised it is quite easy really.

I do enjoy the setup of the posture: balancing on the left leg and raising the left arm by the left ear. See, I love watching gymnastics and raising up my arm makes me feel like a gymnast ready to perform her routine. This idea in my head always makes me smile during class, because it’s definitely the closest I’ll ever get to being a gymnast. Back to the pose, though. I then grab my right foot behind from the inside and start kicking it up and back. At the same time, I have to stretch my left arm and fingers forward and pivot my upper body forward. The idea is to maintain balance by kicking stronger and stretching the front arm forward. The instructors often say: “Kicking and stretching is equal and simultaneous 50/50. The harder you kick you can balance forever.” Oh, and you have to breathe, too. Normally or slower than normally.

Even if I haven’t advanced my Standing Bow Pose to the level aesthetically as the reflection I saw in the mirror today, I’m still more than happy with my practice. This posture develops concentration, determination and patience, no doubt. My little epiphany was, however, in the balancing. The definition of balance is “an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady”. The dialogue instructs me very clearly to kick and stretch to achieve that balance. That’s so simple! Kick and stretch 50/50. Imagine if we all found that sort of balance in our everyday lives? At least for me, it seems to be a lifelong quest to find the various elements needed and even more importantly, their correct proportions, to achieve the balance. Maybe that’s my personal goal.

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