How can we flow rather than stumble between poses?
This week in some of my classes, we have been exploring the idea of how to transition between poses with a greater sense of ease and fluidity.
While we may be fully focused in our yoga poses or asanas, sometimes our concentration can go out the window when we move between poses. Our practice can then end up feeling a bit clunky and disjointed and can leave us feeling frustrated!
Vinyasa flow yoga is a form of ‘moving meditation’ and so all that shuffling around between Warrior 2 and Half Moon is part of that meditation – rather than just a means of reaching the next position.
When we find greater ease in our ‘in-between’ moments, the whole class (or your home practice) can feel more enjoyable, less stressful and you find that flow and sense of fully being in the moment.
I am not by any means saying you need to eradicate all the wobbles and occasional tumbles in your yoga – that is an impossible task for even the most experienced yogi. Instead, try to make those moments of instability part of the flow rather than being held back by them.
This means – for example – not beating yourself up if you keel over in dancer’s pose. Just take a breath and have another go! Or if you wobble slightly in Tree, go with it rather than give up straight away. See how micro-adjustments with your feet or your core can help you recover your balance.
Here are a few suggestions to help you in your transitions and find that flow. These are all ideas that come from my own practice and observations in class.
Moving from our centre can help with finding that ease in transitions. I find visualizing that all your energy emanates from the core or our centre helps when moving.
For example, if you lift one of your legs up into the air in a pose – take a moment to notice what your centre is doing? Has it gone to sleep? Or are you using it in conjunction with the muscles in the legs to move?
When we move from our centre rather than just from our extremities, we can find greater stability.
Where your gaze goes, your energy will follow. For instance, you can find that sense of flow by using your eyes to follow your hands through a vinyasa sequence. Each pose usually has a certain drishti/focus point – so listen to cues to hear what that might be. In Warrior 2, you typically look at your fingertips of the hand pointing to the front of the room. Finding those focus points can help keep you in the moment – rather than looking around the room or judging your reflection in the mirror.
And – don’t forget how important your gaze is for balance!
In standing balancing poses, try to find the pose first before taking your gaze to the ceiling or behind you. As soon as those eyes move, that’s where the tumbles might happen. In Half Moon pose, try keeping eyes on the ground until you feel that everything is fairly stable, and then you see if you can turn your eyes to the sky.
It’s what every yoga teacher says – but it is important! Slow the breath down when you are panicking about a pose. If you wobble, breathe. The breath will connect you to your centre and calm down that ‘panic’ or ‘fear’ response which causes you to throw yourself to the ground in Warrior 3 or makes you want to come out of a pose such as Bakasana/Crow. I find it tricky to do moves such as Headstand if I am feeling too agitated and my breath has gone.
Breathing steadily as we transition also helps keep the movement soft and fluid, rather than muscling our way through a class, screwing up our faces and desperately holding our breath!
Have fun working on those tricky transitions and see you in class soon!
If you have your own tips or techniques for finding your flow, feel free to comment below.