Yoga Adventures: Working on the Fly

Last night I got my weekly reminder that the arm muscles have been comparatively neglected since we moved; I still have yoga dates, but I have not filled the Warrior workout hole. Those classes challenged my muscles in a totally different way, building a strength base that these arms, legs and abs haven’t seen the likes of since.

Instead of adding to that base, I focused my energy on mileage instead – you know, there was that whole ‘MCM training’ thing going on. Yup, it was worth the effort – but it did leave some of my yoga protesting the neglect.

We won’t even talk about the hips; they’re not happy about this, either. I hear you.

My muscles & joints do still get a weekly dose of this practice, but it feels different with the above-mentioned absence of a strength component. My arms shake in a side plank; I can still hold crow, but I can feel it working; I can barely get the toes to latch around my calf in eagle (on a good day).

Studio DC logo All of this said, I tried a new studio last night with a friend. The Studio DC schedules mostly Vinyasa/Flow classes – heated or unheated, and at every level. We joined the “Vinyasa 1.5”, with a room temperature of 74-78* (not heated) and pose variations for levels 1-2. I love these classes because they hand out a challenge if you’re willing to take it.

I like to take it.

After letting my shoulders scream in downward dogs, chatarangas & cobra –> upward-facing dog for the first half, we finally got to stand. Then those standing poses led right back to arm-balances. No, muscles, you do not get a break!

We began a series I’ve only tried & completed once before: Eka Pada Galavasana, aka Flying Crow Pose. Standing, and casually crossing your legs the way a guy would on the couch, but without the seat (and with your arms oddly sticking out, totally normal).

{This is obviously not me; image source} Simple enough. Balance, and then get ready to fold. Once your hands touch the ground, you’re all set up for crow – with your legs slightly confused by their positioning. It’s okay, just go with it.

I let my hands touch, bent the elbows and trusted my balance.

Then? This happens:

And I just hung out, totally baffled by my arms cooperating, my legs contortioned and my head not slamming into the ground.

Maybe after a few more tries, I will actually fly

and post pictures of my own success, not a stranger’s. Give her a round of applause, these pictures couldn’t have been easy to shoot!

I may not be as strong, but I’ve still got something there. That’s all I need to know! I can work with that. In fact, I now have 10 days of unlimited yoga (for only $10!) to that studio. Flying will get that box checked!


On a side note, searching images of yoga poses might make your muscles and limbs jealous. They might be slightly shocked at the capabilities of certain yoga masters.


What’s missing in your routine right now?
Who else is trying to fly (it’s hard, right?)?



Filed under challenges, new things!, strength train too!, Yoga

15 responses to “Yoga Adventures: Working on the Fly

  1. I cannot get into crow to save my life. Maybe more consistent yoga is the answer to that. Way to go!

  2. Kim

    I can’t do crow either. I don’t think the problem is that I’m not strong enough though.. I’m really afraid of falling on my face, even at home, because I’ve slid out of it enough times to know that at best my arms are kind of hurt by my legs dragging against them on their way down. I’m in the middle of a month of unlimited yoga and thinking about doing the same for December, so we’ll see if I get better. Flying Crow looks crazy though! Clearly your muscles are still ready to show up when you need them.

  3. Ivan

    You KNOW I can do the crane. My next move is that funky leg kick!

  4. your timing is impeccable. I just walked past the dupont location last night, picked up their flyer and was debating whether or not to check out this studio. glad to know it’s a good one – and such a fantastic deal!

  5. What awesome Yoga poses! I just got back into since I started Rock Climbing and it helped immensely! Nothing like stretching and strengthening!

  6. I’m struggling with a wide variety of poses after my wrist break and ACL tear in the past couple years. The wrist stuff is obvious (crow just might not happen for me in this lifetime, unless I can find a way to do it on my fists, not wrists). But for the knee, it’s triangle pose and warrior pose I can’t manage to do without my knee feeling not-quite-right. It’s been really interesting trying to perfect these two seemingly-simple poses … it makes me understand why some instructors say the mountain pose is the hardest one, and the most important!

    • Heather C

      Oh man, I can only imagine how that feels in most poses – even downward dog! I hurt my wrist in a bike crash last summer and had issues with it for a few months. Every now and then I can still feel it (mostly just when I hold a handstand or side plank for too long). Your poor joints, no fun!

  7. One word: dang. I haven’t been that flexible since high school. I see these pictures and I’m bracing myself as I type. It is wicked to see someone with that much control! Go!

  8. You will epitomize badass more than you already do if you can get into these poses with practice! Somehow I totally see you accomplishing this, if I know you 😉

  9. Bri

    I love crow! While I was holding it in my power vinyasa class last night, I realized that I’ve definitely neglected upper body workouts lately! I’ve never attempted to ‘fly’ but I might get there someday.. Also, I am hopefully moving to DC in May (fingers crossed!) so I will be on the lookout for yoga studios, will have to keep this one in mind since I like hot yoga/power vinyasa classes!

  10. Lauren

    Dustin and Nick are trying these moves right now…I am embarrassed for them. Pretty entertaining though. That’s impressive!

  11. joslynn

    I love crow! I haven’t tried this version. Will definitely try it soon!

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