Every so often, we ask seven teachers to answer one single question. And the latest question was, “What’s your favorite pose and why?” (Wait, maybe that’s two questions!?) Check out their responses and feel free to add your own favorite pose in the comments section below.
I could hang out all day in pigeon or double pigeon if life let me. For prenatal, I love the way it stretches and opens up the low back which can be a big tension area. But personally I love the way that it feels like such a surrender to be in this pose.
When this question comes up, I’m always tempted to choose an involved, difficult pose but, in real life, my favorite pose is among the simplest – cat/cow. This basic vinyasa moves my spine, the house for my whole nervous system, and provides vital information on how my body is on each particular day. If done with attention, intention, and breath, cat/cow boosts my connection between my body and mind, draws me deeper into the experience of practice and feels darn good.
My favorite pose these days is the seated twist, bharadvajasana. It relieves stress in my back and neck, unwinds the tension in my abdomen, and creates an expansive sensation in my upper chest. Most of all I love the feeling that comes when I look over my shoulder, exposing the soft side of my neck – a kind of vulnerability mixed with reverence and trust. The pose is named after a renowned religious academic from early India. As the story goes, he wasted several lifetimes studying sacred texts before he realized that immortality would only be his when he had shared his knowledge with others. I’ve also been known to work devotedly at the wrong thing for long periods of time. Like the namesake of this pose, I’ve twisted and looked over my shoulder for years, only to discover at the end that the real truth is among the people right in front of me.
My favorite pose is Butterfly Pose in the Yin tradition. I love it!! I did this pose every morning for about two years. I did it every morning before getting my kids out of bed. I am not a morning person and after doing this pose I would not only feel better and more awake but I would actually jump up on my daughters bed singing “wakey wakey eggs and bakey!” It is my go-to pose when I am feeling out of sorts. Butterfly Pose can bring such a sense of equanimity not only to the physical body but to the emotional and mental as well.
The pose I tend to go to in my own practice is wide kneed balasana, or child’s pose. I love this pose, it allows me to get into the hips and lengthen through my low back. I usually stretch my arms from side to side to also get a nice side body stretch. I find the connection of my forehead on my mat allows me to more easily turn inward, toward a more meditative practice 🙂
One of my favorite poses is Janu Sirsasana (Head-to-Knee pose). It provides the benefits of both a forward-fold as well as a twist, and helps stretch the hamstrings, hip, and back muscles. I also love how grounding and calming thispose is when life starts getting crazy!
I love lateral stretches, like parsvokonasana (extended side angle pose). This posture gives you an opportunity to control how deep or not you can delve into the opening. And besides, it just feels good!
Vrksasana (Tree Pose) is my all time favorite asana. Early on in my practice, I would practice it at home in my living room seeing how long I could balance on that one leg and focus my attention without wavering. I have experienced real shifts in consciousness in this pose, entering a deep well of peace and serenity. To do this asana effectively, one has to settle the mind, keep the eyes still and soft, and stay present with the breath and internal sensations. When the inner chatter and judgments quiet down, balancing is a breeze.