27 Feb Why Vajrasana is my Ultimate Dream Yoga Posture
Four weeks ago, when I started my 300hrs teacher training here in Indore, we were asked to pick 3 postures that we wanted to improve during this month. I was very clear that mine were:
- Scorpion Handstand, aka Vrischikasana II (I mean, for more than 2 seconds)
- Eka Pada Galavasana, Flying pigeon (I mean, for more than 3 seconds)
- King Pigeon, which is a variation of the pigeon pose where you basically grab your back foot with both of your arms above your head. No idea how this posture is even humanly possible.
Now, there is a group of 200 hrs students over here, and some of the young and flexy girls in this group, can get into King Pigeon without the blink of an eye. I did not get it, why was it so hard for me?
Sometimes where you are chasing a very difficult posture, you have to go back to the basics, and it’s there where you’ll find the missing piece in the chain. So I started analyzing which part of my body was too tight to allow me to touch my foot with my head, and with which postures I was struggling that involved the same muscles groups.
And there it was, waiting for me. Even though I had been avoiding looking at it for 9 years, that posture had been waiting silently the day it would have my full and undivided attention. There is no question that I have to get it done if I want to progress with my practice: Vajrasana, my black beast.
Any beginner, or any person with healthy knees, can do vajrasana without much thoughts: it’s that posture you hold when you sit on your knees. That’s it. Vajrasana.
But for me this posture is a torture. With 2 ACLs surgeries (one for each knee, broken in a 2-year span while playing basketball) – and with a broken meniscus that I can’t be bothered to fix right now, I haven’t been able to sit on my heels for exactly 9 years . Vajrasana is the only yoga posture that really hurts me… and it’s not even a pretty posture! I mean, have you ever seen a picture on Instagram of someone simply sitting in Vajrasana? I bet if you scroll down into Kino’s account there is no sight of it even back in the days when she could only do the primary series. I never wasted too much time on it, because… it’s not even a real yoga pose!
There is nothing really cool about sitting on your knees and being able to smile.
But after 4 years of yoga practice, now I realized that there is no escaping Vajrasana if I want to really progress into my advance practice.
“The primary series is very important”- said David Swenson as quoted in Michelle Marchildon’s book “Finding More on the Mat”– “The Secondary Series is a little important. The Third through Firth series are just for the show”
So I am going back to the basic. While I am now holding my Scorpion for 3 seconds, and Eka Pada Galavasana is flying higher at every attempt, I am also taking 5 minutes every day to give some love to my quads, and simply sit in Vajrasana with patience, and maybe even go back on my elbows if my knees permit.
So my lesson here is:
If there is any posture you are struggling with, instead of attempting it with the help of props, family members and yoga videos, simply go back to the basic. The secret detail, which will disclose the posture to you, is there.
You cannot go into any advanced arm-balances if you haven’t worked your way into Parvritta Bakasana (revolved Crow). You will not be able to do a full split (Hanumanasana) if you haven’t tamed Ardha Hanumanasana and Vajrasana first . Forget handstand if you haven’t been able to come up in Sirsasana. Take your time to enjoy the basics and cultivate strength and flexibility in postures that are much more comfortable to hold for longer times. Your yoga practice will be immensely benefiting from it, and you will enjoy every step of the journey.