A tip: Yoga isn’t about flexibility – it’s about strength.

I’ve long been annoyed by this pose – the lowered plank – because my body (my arms) are too soft to maintain it.

It’s a part of the flow, moving from my beloved downward facing dog (DFD) into the top of the push-up (plank) and then lowering down through Chataranga to up dog and back into the DFD. (There must be a name for this sequence – is there?)

All of those other poses feel like home. Fifteen years of intermittent yoga allows me to move through them using muscle memory. But not Chataranga.

My arms shake, I can’t lower more than an inch or two, and I can’t hold the pose. Chataranga feels neglected and rushed. It’s my weak link.

As I continue through this 30 day program, I notice that in addition to my physical aesthetic changing, my muscles are strengthening too. Maybe at the end, I will improve my arm strength enough to love my Chataranga.

Or maybe challenging poses exist as a way to remind us of the possibilities of moving through daily challenges with grace. Maybe it’s practice.

Posted by

Mel Kozakiewicz a professor, editor, writer, and mother of two.

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