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Yoga Practice: Seek Answers Within

In the first few years of practicing yoga, I struggled a lot with Trikonasana (triangle) pose. So much so, that I grew to immensely dislike it and found myself irritated whenever it was taught in a yoga class. Every time I moved into Triangle, I couldn't make it feel right. It was more than just feeling uncomfortable, most of the time my body hurt while in the pose, somehow, I intuitively knew that I wasn't aligning myself in a way that would lead me to ease instead of agitation.

So, I began to ask the teacher for help after class, and after having me go into the pose, would offer instructions on what they thought I should adjust. I tried implementing their suggestions, but nothing seemed to change in what I experienced in the pose, so I went and asked another teacher, then another, the result was still the same. I started to think that perhaps triangle pose just wasn't for me.

Fast forward to a couple of years later while I was in teacher training, we had a guest teacher come in to teach an afternoon of standing poses, of course, triangle pose was included. There was ample time for a question-and-answer period, I was hesitant but figured this was my chance to get to the bottom of my struggle with triangle once and for all.

I raised my hand and told the teacher that for the life of me, I couldn't figure out this one pose. He called me to the front of the room and told me to do triangle. I was a bit nervous to do the pose in front of everyone but felt like this was my opportunity to finally crack the secret to this pose, so into triangle I went. The next thing I knew, he started grabbing different parts of my body to shift them into how he thought I should be in the pose and while doing so was telling the rest of the class, "This should be here, that should be there...". When he was finished, he said, "There, there is your triangle pose." Only I felt more lost than ever! I was too embarrassed to tell him that my body still ached and that I just didn't understand where I was going wrong. I quietly mumbled a thank you and went back to my seat.

I felt so defeated that day, especially since I was on the path of learning to become a yoga teacher. I remember thinking that if I couldn't figure out this pose for myself, how on earth would I be able to teach it to others?

I decided to let it go for a while, feeling so overwhelmed by this one pose. During this time that I let it go, I began to sense that perhaps I was what was getting in my own way. The more I thought about that, I realized that all of my inquiries about this pose had been external. I was looking it up in books and asking all the teachers but never bothered to sit and ask myself.

Two huge understandings came out of this:

  1. Instead of surrendering to struggle, I fought it. I kept forcing my body to be in a certain shape in hopes of finding ease in the pose, rather than allowing my body to show me the shape it was able to go in.

  2. I kept looking for answers outside of myself when all along, the answer was inside of me.

And wouldn't you know, it was those two understandings that allowed me an entirely new approach to my practice. Gathering all the "facts" I knew about anatomy and alignment in asana, I decided to look inward to see what my body could do rather than tell it what to do. I let go of trying to force my way to be in a certain shape and instead surrendered to the sensations of what I felt. Still guided by the knowledge I had acquired; the difference now was I stopped fighting the pose. And for the first time, I found my way. Instead of feeling awkward, compressed, and stuck, I felt a sense of spaciousness and ease. In time, I began to enjoy triangle pose. Fast forward to now, it's one of my favorite postures to practice!

This whole experience taught me so much about myself and was a big gateway to settling into a home practice. While I continue to attend classes as a student to keep learning from more seasoned teachers, the real growth in my practice comes out of what I learn when I spend time with myself.

“You have all the answers within you. To stop seeking for answers outside of you is the start of being found. You are the answer. You are your guru."

~Todd Perelmuter

May you be blessed with this same light of self-discovery.


Laura xoxoxo


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