April 2015 - Vasisthasana (side plank pose)
Following on from the Spring Equinox, a Libra Full Moon Eclipse on 4 April sets the energy for this month, encouraging us to align with our truth and embrace a sense of balance and equilibrium in our lives.
The word ‘balance’ comes from the Latin word balare, which means to dance so we are therefore encouraged to dance as we balance our individual needs with the needs of our families, friends and each other in this world.
This is easier said than done, it is very difficult to maintain a balance – anyone who has tried to chant the same note twice will be aware of this - life on our Planet is always in a state of flux, nothing is constant, and everything is subject to change and transformation.
As such we must find a means of dancing with our world as it moves, a way of feeling both the richness of joy and sadness and of embracing the rhythms of life with all its ups and downs.
We must learn to let go and open to movement, embracing opportunities that challenge our way of thinking, of recognizing our fixed way of thinking that prevents us from dancing with life and opening to new possibilities, or that keep us in our comfort zone and prevent us from truly living.
On our mats, what better way to challenge our approach to life, of dancing and embracing all aspects of ourselves than by practicing the balancing pose, Vasisthasana.
‘Vasistha’ translates as most excellent, best, and richest. Vasistha was an ancient Indian sage (or series of sages), and was said to be the owner of Nandini, the “cow of plenty” who made him the master of every desirable object, which accounts for his infinite wealth.
The challenge of this pose is not one of flexibility, but instead of maintaining a neutral alignment of the spine and legs and the position of the arms against gravity. The asymmetrical relationship to gravity means that muscles have to work asymmetrically to create a symmetrical alignment of the body – a dance therefore in balancing the body from every side.
Strengthens arms, core and legs
Tone core sheath
Stretches and strengthens wrists
Stretches back of thighs
Wrist, elbow and shoulder injuries
Photography by Nick Despres, please see www.nickdespres.com