I am a yoga instructor. Been at it for some 20 years. I’ve always loved what yoga does for my body and I love what it does for your body as well. This pose is “triangle pose” for all the obvious reasons. It’s benefits list according to Yoga Journal are as follows:
Stretches and strengthens the thighs, knees, and ankles, stretches the hips, groins, hamstrings, and calves; shoulders, chest, and spine, stimulates the abdominal organs, helps relieve stress, improves digestion, helps relieve the symptoms of menopause, relieves backache, especially through second trimester of pregnancy, therapeutic for anxiety, flat feet, infertility, neck pain, osteoporosis, and sciatica.
So why do I do yoga? And why have I done it for so long with no end in sight?
I started because it was a really great work out for both mind and body, and it just plain feels good. But there is a major element I’ve not spoken of yet. It’s the practice of self-study. In sanskrit: Svadhyaya. Developing a third consciousness if you will, that observes every reaction and or response, with everyone including and especially yourself. Self- consciousness without embarrassment! When you want to perfect a technique, any technique, in any endeavor, in this case the technique of life and living, you might find a coach to be your “outside observer” so that you could make correction and refine your technique. Yoga gives you the means to be your own coach/observer.
Let me state here that I view how we manage our lives as a technique that was first taught to us by first our parents, and then our other teachers, school, coaches, mentors, etc., but ultimately our world view is shaped and directed by the decisions we make either consciously or unconsciously along the way. These “decisions” become our belief-system and form the hard exo-skeleton of our world view. The rose colored glasses through which we see the world. The “way” we actually do a pose. We live our lives based on these conscious and unconscious beliefs. We never really see the world just as it is but always through these filters which may or may not be appropriate or even real. How would you know if you’re interacting with a filter or the real world? Is the person you’re talking to the as – they – really-are person or a composite of your beliefs about them? How many people have we put on pedestals only to find out that they aren’t who we thought them to be, and then blamed them as though they betrayed us? The ancient yogis called the “outside world” “Maya” the illusion. It wouldn’t be much of an illusion if you could tell it was an illusion! It is the most difficult practice; observing yourself. Always questioning. If you are diligent, you can often get to the truth. Like every other technique this requires diligent practice. Having a partner with whom you can share your observations propels the practice forward. Imagine having someone you trust enough to tell you “Yes you were acting like an asshole!” And have it be safe enough so that you could maybe laugh at yourself before you go apologize. The Buddha referred to it as “Seeing the world as it actually is”.
Everyday I practice, everyday I get down on the mat and breath and move, and return to my self is a better day. Every single time.
This pose is Warrior II.
Rather than listing the physical benefits here are some of my observations: Grounding and balance of both sides simultaneously, Core awareness, opening the heart and lungs; refining of breath technique leading to mental/emotional equanimity and calm in an intense moment, relaxed but sharp focus. The ability to simple stop and be still.
I have a blessed life. I’ve managed to grow up with Rock and Roll. I’ve managed to see all my R&R heroes play live, including the Beatles. I managed to find Trey Ratcliff and The Arcanum at precisely the right moment in my life, and I managed to come to yoga just as it was becoming in the United States. I’ve been blessed to study with some of the first generation of great American yoga teachers, and some of the non-American ones too. As an ex martial artist and teacher, lineage is important to me. My training was and is a labor of love and guidance by people who loved yoga so much that they shared it from their hearts. People like Maty Ezraty, Lisa Walford, Chuck Miller, Bryan Kest, and Corinne Asch. This last name is especially significant. She is my wife and partner for the past 25 years. We live in love with our beautiful daughters and our chihuahua. She is my coach/BFF/ and partner in relationship yoga. After 25 years I am even more totally in love! (If you don’t think that relationship is yoga, may I audaciously suggest that your relationship may need some attention)
To these people I owe my undying gratitude and please know that your teachings live in me and I pass them on to my students.