Letting It Go

My standing bow is getting better on my right side (which is my weakest side). I have been able to see my foot over my head for awhile, but recently other things have started to improve. Mostly I have noticed that I am able to get my body down more and kick up higher. My alignment looks better, but I need to work on getting my chin to my shoulder.

This is nuts because on my left side I can drop down just fine, kick up really high, get two feet in one line, and get my chin to my shoulder without any issue. But whatever. The right side has started to get better so yippee!!!!

I’ve got a few ideas about why my right side has started to improve. First, I’m assuming these hip strengthening exercises are helping. They were supposed to, and I’ve been at it for almost three months now. Second, I can’t help but wondering if the extra back bending is helping at all. I hate back bending so let’s just assume it is. At least I feel better about all that back bending now regardless of if it’s helping with the standing bow or not – but surely it is, right?

But here’s what I think is actually helping the most: I decided to do the damn posture.

I know, that makes no sense, but hear me out. Obviously I really want to do the posture (and do it well) on both sides. I particularly want to do it well on my right side. I have a good head to knee when kicking out with my left leg. If I could get a good standing bow kicking back with my right leg then I would not have to turn during competition.

In competition, there are certain ways you stand for each posture. In head to knee, you’re sideways with your standing locked leg closest to the judges. In standing bow it’s reversed. The leg that you kick back with is closest to the judges. If I kick out with my left leg in head to knee and then kick back with my left leg in standing bow I have to turn from one side to the other to make it all work out. I know it is not a major deal to turn, but it would be nice to not have to.

When I had a massage a couple of weeks ago, my therapist told me that I had the flexibility to do the postures on my right side. He told me I need to figure out what I was holding on to that was preventing me from being able to go as far as I could. So a few days ago I told myself that I was just going to do the posture. I flipped a switch on my brain, and it seems to be working.

Now, it’s not like I am locking out my right leg (I don’t even lock out the left) when kicking back in standing bow. But all of a sudden I noticed some big shifts in the posture and they have been consistent in the last few classes.

Obviously there are physical realities. For example, while my left leg can go pretty high in standing bow, it is limited by the tightness in my right hamstring. I currently cannot hold on to the posture very long because I will get an intense stretch in my right hamstring. Until that gets opened up (I’m working on it), I will only go so far and be able to hold it for so long.

However, my point here is that there is definitely something about how we mentally engage with the postures. I think we know this when it comes to postures we don’t like. But I like standing bow. I want it to improve on both sides. Yet there is still something mentally holding me back. I don’t know what. Maybe I’ve just given in to the idea that my right side is weak. Maybe it is weaker than my left, but maybe I am letting that take more of a hold on me than it really needs to.

Anyways, this whole experience has given me a lot to think about in terms of how I engage mentally with the postures – even the ones I like. Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for more back bends.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Retro Throwback: Letting it Go | My Bikram Yoga Life

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