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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Strength and Flexibility

Every now and then, everything just seems ... possible.

Tonight I took Mister M's Yin Yang class and had a totally different experience from last week's session. Perhaps I was still suffering from a lingering cold a week ago, I felt weak, tired and tight. Tonight, I felt strong and was, strangely, quite flexible. I know this is gonna sound like some martial arts/ ku fu movie BS but I actually found flexibility in my strength and vice versa. This dichotomy was particularly evident in two poses: Bridge/Wheel (Yang) and Pigeon (Yin).

I used to have problems with the Pigeon pose when I first started practising yoga mostly because of my bended front knee, which used to hurt. But after a couple of years, perhaps because the hip joints got more flexible (which means less stress on the bended knee), my Pigeon got deeper and deeper. Tonight I was able to completely relax my entire body on the bended front leg, while at the same time, using my strength to push the back leg further back, giving the pose extra stretch. And it felt Great!!!

Here is instructor Lawrence demonstrating the Wheel pose.
His back is so flexible it forms a beautiful/round arch while his legs
are pushing very strongly onto the ground. The fact his shoulders
can open up wide allows him to both take more air into his chest and
straighten his arms. All this enables him to hold the pose firmly.
He does make the pose look deceptively simple and effortless...

Similarly, when I was in the Wheel pose, I started to breathe more slowly and deeply (which is NOT easy), trying to relax my chest (opening it up more to allow more air to enter) while bending my lower back more. Yet such flexibility is only possible by pushing my legs down on the ground with great strength ... and so I used both strength and flexbility to keep this pose up for about a minute, which was quite a feat, esp for me!


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