I’ve had a variety of yoga instructors in my years of practice. I am aware this makes me sound like a grizzled yoga veteran. I have taken yoga classes in a variety of settings: on video (yes, VHS), online with friends, at the YWCA, and now at a private yoga studio (the best!). Every instructor claims you should listen to your body and that sadly, that pose you hate is the one that your body needs the most. What?
In that case I hate happy baby. No, not happy babies. Those are great, but the yoga pose routinely kicks my butt. I feel like my hamstrings are being stretched beyond human limits and my breathing gets erratic because my yoga teacher might come along and want to help me. She helps me by gently pressing on my screaming hamstrings and tells me to relax. I think she only does this when she hears me rapid breathing and panicking. The worst part is that this pose is suppose to be reenergizing. It’s generally done as part of the finishing sequence where you should feel great. “Yay. I just did a bunch of yoga and my day is going to be fantastic.” Instead I feel like “Ow. Ow. Ow. Please stay away from me. When are we finished?”
What is interesting to me, but probably not all that uncommon, is that I have hated different poses over my yoga career. More recently, before happy baby, my nemesis was pigeon pose. I could do it if I didn’t over think it. But generally I would get all crinkled up and begin breathing rapidly and start sweating and practically hyperventilate. Slowly and over much time (years not months) I was able to learn to breathe and convince my body that being stretched to the limit is not the same as certain death. Some days I’m still not so sure.
Before that was shoulder stand. It looks like the photo if you do it 100% correctly. I doubt that I look anything this, although I feel like I do. But I know that it’s another pose where it seems that the goal is to restrict your breathing. It’s my friend now. I enjoy the stretching sensation through the back of my neck and upper shoulders and really I can breathe just fine. My bigger problem is that my shirt can flip over my face. Plus this pose means that the workout is almost over…except for happy baby coming up next.