Balancing yoga postures can be an intense challenge for many practitioners. When we hold balancing poses for extended breaths and even cycle in multiple balancing poses in a row, we readily see many students in the group coming out of the sequence needing to shake off the tension and lactic acid build up in the feet. Equally problematic for many is just the simple process of finding steadiness. When I did my teacher training (eons ago), we were taught to suggest to students that they step off their mat to find more stable grounding. I have recently come to a conclusion that this may be of disservice and in fact, we may want to consider going in the opposite direction to, in fact, challenge our balancing poses even more.
One of the key benefits and primary interests for people doing yoga is to increase flexibility and joint range of motion. I have compiled expert opinions on the physiology of stretching.
A recurring question I receive from yoga students is about issues with wrist discomfort and injuries. Having had a history of wrist injuries due to competitive sports, I am sensitive to how students work with their hands within poses and overall sequencing in the practices. Due to the nature of most hand positions in yoga poses, there is a tendency to collapse into specific areas of the wrist and, without due care, this can lead to detrimental effects.
In just a few weeks, New Year's will be upon us with a wave of 'challenges' being tossed at us left, right and center including for our yoga practices. As wikipedia defines, "A challenge is a general term referring to things that are imbued with a sense of difficulty and victory". The concept of 'difficulty' doesn't resonate much of a positive tone, does it? When achieving some state of victory, then what? Now that I can put my foot suddenly behind my head, am I suddenly that much more closer to enlightenment? Rather than integrating this concept of overcoming 'difficulty', would we not be better served to approach our practice with a sense of opportunity instead?