Vinyasa Pose of the Month for March - Astavakrasana

Astavakra is the name of a sage.  While still in his mother's womb, he heard his father make several mistakes while reciting the sacred Vedas.  Hearing these, the unborn sage laughed.  The father became enraged and cursed his son to be born deformed, or crooked in eight places –  Asta means eight and vakra means a crook or a kink,  literally eight crooks.  Astavakra's father had been defeated in a philosophical debate by a scholar named Vandi.  When Astavakra became a sage and a great scholar he defeated Vandi avenging his father's defeat.  Astavakra's father then blessed him and he lost his deformity.

Astavakrasana was the first arm balance I learned, after Headstand, Handstand, Shoulderstand and Forearm Balance.  Perhaps that is the correct order of poses to learn before trying this arm balance.  I could do Astavakrasana way before I could do Crow.  I found it easy.  I wasn't afraid of it the way I was of Crow, where I could fall on my face.  If I fell in Astavakrasana it seemed I just crumpled to the floor.  I was more confident in Astavakrasana.  This makes me think of what other qualities you need to bring to your poses besides strength and flexibility.  To do this pose of the month you do need the strength of a good, solid Caturanga, you also need the flexibility to twist – so you will see a lot of that in classes this month.  But, in order to attempt a posture like Astavakrasana you need courage to try.  You need the fearlessness of not being afraid to fall – and of putting a blanket down as a crash pad to help you overcome that fear.  You also need the confidence in yourself.   Those are the yang, or masculine qualities you need for this arm balance.  You also need some yin, or feminine qualities such as enthusiasm, playfulness and yielding.  While you need to bring these qualities to your practice of  Astavakrasana, this arm balance will also bring out these qualities in you.  Are you ready for a month of working playfully?  I'll see you in class!    Karin

[For photos and more info click here.]

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