Saturday, I went to Yin Yang Yoga class, during which we are asked to hold positions for several minutes at a time. It's supposed to help release your inner tissues, tendons, and cartilage, which are harder to reach during the more active classes. Pigeon pose is common in Yin Yoga.
- Seated, place one leg so that your shin is parallel with the front of your mat--or as parallel as you can get it.
- Your other leg goes straight back, in line with your hip.
- At first, you prop yourself up on your hands and "open your heart" toward the sky for a slight back bend.
- Then, roll forward until your forehead touches the mat. (Depending on how far you can go, you can rest on your forearms or on a prop, such as a block.)
- Our instructor added a twist to this pose, suggesting that we rest on one side with our bottom arm outstretched. (I could do the twist well on one side but not the other.)
A huge hip opener, Pigeon pose is always a struggle for me. Whether it's slightly better or much worse depends on the day. I suppose it doesn't help that I work all day at a desk and then draw all night on the couch.
While I was lying there trying to focus on my breathing but really wondering how long five minutes could last, I started to imagine my hip breaking free of whatever crud and cartilage I was feeling. The longer we stayed put, the looser my hip felt. That's when the instructor started talking about his theme for the day: Layers.
He spoke of how yoga helps to peel away the layers of obstacles--stress, fears, preconceptions, and whatever else is holding you back. However slowly, these layers fall away and you then can focus on individual elements of yourself--be it your hip, your breath, your flexibility, your mind, your openness, or something even deeper. You work toward peeling these layers one by one until your completely open physically--and maybe more important--mentally.
I told The Kitties all about this when I got home, and Gordon got all fired up about getting on his mat. He took charge of Sunday's Kitty Class, and here they show off how good they all are at Pigeon pose.
(Illustration Friday: February 18, 2011)
Yeah, well, they're cats.
I must point out, though, that Norman was already too exhausted for Pigeon pose and opted to rest in Child's pose instead. (We'd all stay in Child's pose for the whole class if he had his way!) And, The Mother Kitty, who has bad knees, opted for an alternative pose. As they always say in yoga class, every body is different.