Monday, April 26, 2010

Other Leg On Top

I was sitting in the hot tub (where I do my best thinking) visualizing an exercise I am planning to use as the opening to my workshop at a conference next month. In this partner exercise the participants stand and make physical changes to their appearance and then try to guess what others have done. It doesn't take them long to switch everything back after the exercise is over because they are comfortable with the way things were before.

In yoga class I try to start the class differently each time, changing the breathing exercise or whether we are sitting or relaxing in corpse pose. During class there are many familiar standby poses that we do every time but I also change the main focus of class. Sometimes it is headstands, splits, arm balances or twists to keep things interesting. Many students are able to more easily do a pose on one side but not as easily on the other. They might have more balance on their left foot so they don't like to balance on their right foot. They may have a tight right shoulder so they only like to do shoulder opening poses on the left side. In lotus pose (a seated position with the legs tightly crossed onto opposite thighs) some people are able to do the pose with one leg on top but not the other. They always do the pose with the leg that works on top, never trying to work through it with the other leg.

I encourage you to try the "other leg on top". Don't be so comfortable and always keep things the same or be so quick to change things back right after you try something new. You might just like the new pose or be surprised that something you couldn't do before is possible.