Dear Bakasana

Dear Bakasana (crow pose)

My closest yogi friends know that I’m pretty daring with my practice. I tend to like pushing my physical, psychological and emotional limits. This, if anything, makes me a “good practitioner”. But one pose has always made me groan: bakasana or crow pose.

At least it used to.

An earlier trial affair with bakasana circa 2013 in Wat Ounalum, Phnom Penh

Crow pose is considered by many as a gateway arm balance but I’ve just never gotten it. Watch me get into flying pigeon and other arm balances, but crow just had too much face-plant factor for comfort. Hence, I never liked it.

In the last week, I’ve been practicing it almost everyday. My boyfriend, after attending some of my friends’ community teacher training class where crow pose was featured, got a little too attached to learning it. And so we have been breaking it down to each other, almost every night. And then one night in class, sweaty from a great flow, I tried it and it just clicked. I even threw in a crow jumpback in there.

And so finally, six years later: Dear Bakasana – I get you now!

I was ecstatic but after doing a gleeful dance in my head and in our living room, I took a step back.

Celebrate Breakthroughs, but Honor Practice

What we often forget when we see nice poses of Insta-famous yogis is that it takes years to get to that place where a posture comes with ease. What we don’t see in these moments of lift-ups and float-backs are the many repetitions, the thousands chaturanga dandasanas and high planks, and all the other mental and physical building blocks that guide our bodies to surprising grace.

I talked about this in an Instagram post. I posted a video clip of me practicing crow and jumping back a few times. It’s a new experience for me to publicly post a part of my practice that I am trying for the first few times. It was sweaty, imperfect – but to me, it was a revelation. This is how real practice looks like. For me at least.

And I hope I never forget, whether I’m floating up into my tenth or thousandth bakasana.

This lesson comes at a great time. This week, I started driving lessons and drove on the road for the first time in my life. I also needed this extra perspective in my running. I have been down with allergies for a week. My first run was a trial. It’s frustrating to feel like no matter how long I’ve been running, some days it feels like it’s the first time. And this is totally fine! It’s these moments of devotion that really comprise our yoga/driving/running lives.

In light, love, and om,


When it’s hard to be nice, be nice

instagram post

We cannot understand light without shadow. Some days, like today, I feel small, sniffly, sick, inelegant. Eloquence of mind and spirit is hard to come by. What do I do? I try to be generous with my intentions. Today, I find this especially hard precisely because I feel small. So I need to do big things to be / feel tall.

I posted this on my Instagram yesterday because I was feeling really sick and missing my bed ( we were still in Albany). I had a runny nose, my throat was swollen and irritated and I could not breathe properly through any of my face’s orifices. Perhaps because of the lack of oxygen to my brain, I found myself irritable and when confronted with a minor professional issue, I found myself getting drawn to conflict.

In situations like this, I have trained myself to pause and take deep breaths before doing anything. This technique has served me well and probably has saved many of my personal and professional relationships. But what do you do when you, physically, are unable to breathe?

In that moment, I remembered my intention for taking those centering breaths. It’s to be nice, generous, kind to others. And it’s good to be reminded that this does not always come easy, that it does require work to be good to others. That it often does not matter too much what the actual impact is on the other person – life goes on for everyone no matter how you react – but that it affects you/me in a profound way when we choose to take a certain path. And in the beginning, it’s easy to backtrack and re-trace your steps to that moment where you can reimagine who you want to be for others, but at some point, I believe the paths diverge more and more. Each moment is foundational to who we are for others.