Saturday, March 10, 2012

Advanced fish: swimming against the tide

For me new poses are not physical challenges. I like it that I can try it from various angles, then suddenly discover a neater way to enter the pose. Of course, to do that you have already built on several strengths. But backbends are still my weakest. So when I do a chest-opener like this, I am amazed that it can be done and it excites me to want to teach these to my students. Funnily enough, the younger they are the more I need to worry if they have the physical, nay the mental stamina, to carry the pose to its conclusion. I also find that intriguingly, if they are younger, they tend to give up faster, or more intimidated. This is a strange thing, to witness as a teacher. Unless they have learnt yoga as children, when they start learning yoga, they have enormous fears. They take longest to reach simple advanced poses like the headstand .. and I am talking of Indians, which is where my experience of teaching has largely been. But even with some expats I have been teaching when I came to Bandra, the experience reinstates itself that the younger lot are more worried about injuries, step back from some poses, and will attempt advanced poses circuitously. It is inexplicable. All of which, of course, makes it exciting to become `older':)

That way,this pose is a rather fearsome pose because it is hitting into the fear centers at the neck and nape. After going into a simpler one where the hips are raised, in this one you leave the support of the hand and hang on from your neck only. There the whole body wobbles. So the neck is that fragile part of your body holding you up. I also find that the calves are intensely involved in this pose. I have never experienced strength as such required from the calves in any other pose I have done now.. the back of legs take a lot of brunt in this pose, and the neck.
Very exciting pose:)

What you need for this pose:
  • Strong fish, a minute or two. The basic one.
  • Supta vajrasana, equally long and with a great curve at the upper back.
  • An ability to fall back in the headstand without fear (that is where the fear kicks in, the neck curving in that extreme fashion).
  • Legs, and esp calf strength.
Happy sadhana!

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