Thursday, April 7, 2011


I struggle with balance -- in yoga, in life, in everything. So needless to say, the standing balancing poses are generally not amongst my favorites. Add in the ankles -- one with a big fat tendon tear and the other just terribly weak, and you have a recipe for -- well, falling over.

A couple of Saturdays ago, I took a wonderful Anusara-inspired class with my teacher Debbie Kurilla at Shakti. The class was all about balance (oy), and her apex pose was stork. I immediately shuffled myself to the wall, to practice the pose in a way that wouldn't draw attention to my wobbles. And I've been obsessed with the pose ever since. For me, it is so different from Vrksasana or Natarajasana, because there isn't a weird angle to add to the difficulty of the balance. Rooting the four corners of my standing foot into the ground, thigh bones back, shins forward, activating my abdominal muscles, lifting the bending leg with care and awareness, activating and flexing the lifted foot, lifting the arms into urdva hastasana, engaging the shoulder blades firmly on the back while releasing the trapezius muscles -- I'm sure I'm leaving out a slew of crucial cues -- but you get the idea --

For once, I'm having fun with a balance, and I'm just going with it. I practice it in the shower, while I'm at the sink doing dishes, waiting in line at Target. I'm wearing a big 'ol brace on my ankle, so I think it is safe, but who knows... did I mention that I'm actually having fun with this pose? Fascinating. It makes me wonder how I can find fun in the other areas where I feel I lack balance --


DoulaMomma said...

I generally hate the balance poses too...I guess there is a metaphor in there somewhere dying to get out...anyway, I kind of suck at them, especially on one side. So I will try stork! thanks

Teeg said...

That is so ironic because i was just looking to see what sort of anusara studio was near me! i hear they are wonderful =)

Anonymous said...

So what is "stork?" not familiar with that one.. i love that you are doing it everywhere .. great post E

Elizabeth Gallo said...

Here is one stork image:

It might be one of those poses most familiar to Anusara folk? -- it wasn't one I was familiar with, either. It seems we did a variation, as well, with flexed foot and overhead arms...

Good prep for padangusthasana, I think. I don't know -- but I'm lovin' it!


adan said...

what great detail elizabeth, thanks!

glad you posted the image link too, and pointed the modifications (flexed/extended foot , arm positions)

just struck me that practicing balance (which i have to do most every day) also means practicing variations

finding balance means being flexible in body and mind?

didn't you also mention having fun? ;-) yes!

lissabliss said...

love that you're having a better time with your balance. love the focus that doing balance poses at the wall provides. i had a wrist injury and an anusara teacher gave me a different technique to use in AMS and chaturanga that really, really helped me. love taking anusara when i get the chance.

Elizabeth Gallo said...

@lissabliss -- there is a great little anusara studio in south orange -- we should meet up for a class there someday!

thanks, all, for the sweet comments.