Sometimes it can seem like we are just going through the motions. Week after week of Yoga with no discernible improvement, but every now and again something unexpected happens: you get better. It gives you pause for thought and makes you reflect that actually your practice is going pretty well.
The Crow pose comes from the wrists. You enter the pose from a crouch; the knees are bent and the back straight. The hands are grounded firmly into the mat. The fingers are splayed. The knees are brought to the back of the arms and you roll gently forward. The weight passes to the hands and the feet rise from the mat. You balance at the wrists, hands making sole contact with the floor – now that I think about it, I suppose you look something like a crow.
When concentrating, it’s easy to forget to breath, but breathing helps to find the balance. It is the balance that is everything. The weight must be distributed evenly, as you rest upon your arms. It’s not easy. I’ve been practicing for over a year and the Crow has always presented something of the challenge.
It took a while to adjust to. I was not familiar with my knees being tucked in towards my armpits –and to be fair, few people are. It felt unnatural, least of all when then rolling forwards and to place my weight upon my wrists. It’s easy to overshoot. Easy to roll too far forwards and face plant on to the floor. Easy to roll back onto your feet, only to hop forwards again like a pendulum in slow motion. It’s much less easy to hold upon the mat channelling the weight of your legs downward through the arms and grounding upon spread fingers.
I could roll forwards and hold myself for short periods, but this week was different. This week, I rolled and I held. I was propped up on my arms for a good minute. I was aware of those around me rocking too and fro in search of a balancing point, but there I perched. It felt almost easy, short of a slight burning in my forearms.
I’ve arranged for Yoga to be held through work. It’s proved pretty popular. A pleasant and extremely theatrical woman called Sophie comes in to teach us. She’s a strong proponent of love and spiritual energy, which makes a slight unusual contrast with the cold analysis of an international think tank. I was feeling pretty stoked and I think Sophie could sense it. I looked over triumphantly from my perch.
Yoga can feel almost like fighting a ground war with your own very recalcitrant body, any victory is hard won. I was pretty pleased with myself as a rolling back up onto my hands to take another go. Again it felt so much easier. I hovered for a while before rocking my Crow back to landing.
Sophie suggested that I take the pose further offering a alterations to make things more challenging still. I resisted, those could wait until next week. It’s nice to take a moment to enjoy the victory, because who knows when the next one will present itself?