This pose isn't something I can do...yet. I'm no spring chicken, but with practice and more practice and possibly some serious stretching in a hot sauna, I can do this someday. I cannot promise you that I will be able to get OUT of this position, but we'll deal with that later.
Yoga makes my body sing. I wish someone would have told me about this when I was in college all those years ago. I always loved ballet and dance, but yoga is all that and so much more. I used to love fencing, it was graceful and powerful all at the same time, but there was an element missing. Yoga has all of it - including the missing element, which for me was breathing.
I never learned how to breathe. I mean, I BREATHE but never learned HOW to properly breathe. Shallow breaths are what I do, normally and I notice that most people do this too. Getting into those slow, methodical deep breaths are quite the skill to learn and not as natural as one might think. It takes practice in this American fast food multitasking society to re-learn how to breathe.
On my desk there is a reminder for me called the Breath Ratio Chart. It literally tells me how many seconds for inhalation, then to hold (one or two count) and how long to exhale, hold, repeat. The effects can be relaxing, recharging, balancing, energizing or even good for calming down for sleep. I'm no expert in breathing in this manner, but I try, I really do. A good yoga breathing book I purchased recently is by my bedside to help me breathe through allergies, pain and sleep. It works. Well.
So, I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks while they're doing a downward dog! Woof!
Breathing for me is now a source of power - it can change my mood, energy, ability, everything. I'm a believer! It even helps me with my yoga poses. No, I don't do difficult yoga poses, I'm still a yoga baby, but it's all about the breathing. All of it. If you can't control your lungs, you can't do anything or if you can do a pose, it will hurt.
Having asthma, I'm well aware of my breathing and the precious resource that it is. This year has been an awful allergy year and my house is surrounded by oak trees and you can SEE the pollen in the air when any wind kicks in. My dark grey car has a powdery yellow layer on it each morning and each morning, I'm armed with my inhaler. Normally, this lasts through March. This year thanks to El Nino, it's still going strong. It's hard to breathe and sometimes bronchitis creeps in and I must jump all over it because I don't have time for not breathing and being sick.
With yoga, which I do three times a week now, my breath is like gold - very, very valuable. Even if I don't do any poses at all, I can still do breathing drills and get benefits!
Of course, with poses like the one above, pictured, we watch our instructor toss in an impossible pose (just because she can, beautifully) and laugh when we stare at one another in amazement! I think she does this to get us to BREATHE a bit more than we do when we strain during poses. Us yoga babies are not quite used to the breathing techniques and laughing during practices often helps open those passages up and loosens up our bodies a bit. Smart Yogi!
When I actually CAN do this pose (above), I will rejoice that I made it and be happy that my breath is the power behind it all. Then, my yoga friend, Amber, can undo me from the pose and help me stand straight up again as I reach for the Ben Gay!