How many of us wish we could live peacefully in our confines of comfort? No challenges, knowing what to expect, always knowing the outcome. Of course we all want that! Who doesn’t? Alas that isn’t how life works, and frankly I’m glad it doesn’t. If we lived in a world of knowing, life would be pretty boring. The unknowing is what makes life spicy, interesting and magical. The unknowing gives us opportunities to explore, play and ultimately fall. The unknowing can be scary and exhilarating at the same time.
There is one quote I try to remember when I find myself slipping back into my safety net: You will either take a step forward into growth or step back into safety. How about that for a reality check? I don’t know about you, but I am constantly looking to grow!
In yoga, just like life, we often get stuck in our routines and practice because it’s comfortable. So I challenge you, the next time you are on your mat ask yourself Am I not trying a new pose for fear of falling? Am I not wanting to hold the pose for a five-count breath because it’s uncomfortable? Am I stuck on one style of yoga because I know what sequence it will bring and the not knowing scares me? Ah, I’ve been there and done that. Now, think to yourself What will happen if I just stay, breathe and try? Life will happen, laughter will happen, growth will happen!
So next time you’re on your mat, abandon your safety net to try Crane Pose, a great strength and balance pose that will give you the courage and excitement to step outside of your comfort zone.
Three Pose Series to Bakasana (Crane Pose)
This pose gives you the basic understanding of how to build a foundation with the arms and shoulders in crane pose. It also fires up the abdominals needed to stay lifted and light in crane.
1. Come into high plank and hold for a count of five breaths.
2. Do a mental check list starting from your foundation (feet) to ensure everything is active, engaged and integrated: feet are active and pushing into the mat, quads are engaged with legs slightly internally rotated, naval is pulled into the spine, shoulder blades are on and drawn down the back away from the ears.
3. From high plank, slowly bend your elbows 90 degrees and lower into a low plank keeping everything active and engaged. Shoulder blades continue to move away from the ears, elbows hug the midline of the body.
Malasana (Garland Pose)
This pose provides a nice hip opener that is needed for Crane pose.
1. Come to the top of the mat and point your toes out at a diagonal. Press all four corners of the feet actively down into the mat.
2. Come into a squat with hands at heart center. Elbows push into the knees and the knees push into the elbows giving leverage to open the heart center and broaden the collar bones.
Bakasana (Crane Pose)
1. Firmly plant your hands shoulder width apart at the top of the mat.
2. Squat down with your knees wide apart and your heels touching. Come up high on your tip toes and place your knees high into your arm pits/outside of your triceps (do the best you can!)
3. Squeeze your knees together into your arms, coming forward and bringing your weight into your wrists.
4. Remember those chaturanga arms? Start by bending those elbows 90 degrees, keeping your elbows alongside your ribs. Shoulder blades move down towards your sits bones away from the ears. Once you get comfortable start straightening those arms.
5. Very slowly start balancing on your hands by bringing one foot off the mat followed by the other foot.
This pose requires practice, patience and laughter! To me, this is one of the poses that completely gets you out of your head and out of your comfort zone. Stay, breathe, try, and have fun with it!
About Meredith Magnini MS, RD, LDN
Meredith is based in Apex, NC where she is currently completing her 200hr yoga training in the Vinyasa style. She has been practicing yoga for eight years and is also YogaFit teacher. She has taught in gyms, studios and at CrossFit gyms. Her passion is teaching athletes. Aside from yoga, she is also a Dietitian and owns a private practice. Her practice’s philosophy is based on self love and acceptance. She has incorporated yoga philosophy with food and nutrition through the method of intuitive eating. She hopes to educate and inspire others to reject the diet mentality and listen to, love and honor their bodies. Personally, she is a runner, crossfitter and mom to two young boys. Connect with Meredith on facebook and instagram with Meredith Magnini RD or visit her website www.mmrdraleighnutrition.com