At any point in your yoga journey it can be hard to feel like you’re improving at all. Improvements are generally small, and not always permanent. One week you can feel like you’ve made progress in a pose or with flexibility or some other aspect of yoga, only for the following week to feel like you haven’t made any progress at all.
It’s worth thinking back to your first few lessons and trying to remember what those felt like! The Sanskrit names of poses, like Trikonasana, meant nothing and the idea of sucking your leg muscles towards your leg bones seemed, well, a little odd. Even if you’ve only been practicing a few months you’ll appreciate that you’ve made progress since those first lessons.
It’s also worth considering that if you’re attending 1 class a week then you have about one hour to one and a half hours to make progress. It’s not a lot. If you learnt to drive by having 1 hour of practice a week it would take a long time to pass your test! And so it is with yoga, learning to co-ordinate lots of new actions in your body takes time and it can take a while to improve.
The beauty of using something like the Pune cycle (standing poses, forward bends, back bends, restorative) means that every few weeks you get the chance to re-visit actions or poses and apply new knowledge to their practice. Remembering the alignment of the feet in Trikonasana, the sequence of the Sun Salutation or being more flexible in Uttanasana are all evidence of improvement.
Classes this week focused on re-visiting some basic poses and sequences to give students a chance to feel where they’ve improved, and everyone has.
After warming up with Sun Salutations we practiced Tadasana and the body awareness and control required to stand still. We practiced Vrksasana to see how the ability to balance has improved, and also to notice how improvements can sometimes be evasive!
We also went through Trikonasana, Uttanasana, Parsvakonasana, Prasarita Padottanasana and Ardha Chandrasana. It’s really satisfying to see the improvement in people.
In the vinyasa class we practiced the standing poses: Trikonasana, Parsvakonasana and Ardha Chandrasana then put them into the Sun Salutation. With varying degrees of success! Getting into Ardha Chandrasana quickly and maintaining your balance is not easy!