A little more than a year ago I applied to the Piedmont Yoga teacher training program, which I graduated from at the end of June.
An optional part of the application was to include a picture of myself in Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose), which is the picture in the top left corner, taken last May/June.
The bottom left photo is from an anatomy long-term homework assignment where we were instructed to pick three poses we could do but found challenging and do a write-up.
The bottom left photo was taken in mid-December 2013.
We took our first set of photos and did a write-up and turned in.
Over several months we explored our three poses and learned about our bodies in the poses in terms of alignment and feeling, whether emotional and/or physical.
The photo on the right is also from the anatomy long-term homework assignment. That photo was taken in early May 2014.
Over this past year I have learned how to work with my hyperextension in my front leg and eliminate it. (I can clearly see hyperextension in the first photo, but not in the second two.)
I have learned that the best position for my head is looking forward–it’s better for my head, neck and spine. I have found the extension of this pose in the side body on both sides.
My hand over the year has gotten lower on the block, and in the last picture the block went down one height. I have kept my shoulder from pushing toward my head and neck.
(In case any of my readers are wondering … no, it’s NOT cheating to use props. Props keep us safe, able to do things we couldn’t do without them and can get you deeper into poses. You can’t do a heart opener over blocks without blocks. See my teacher Vickie in a Yoga Journal article doing a supported chester opener in preparation for Salamba Sarvangasana [Shoulderstand].)
I am pretty excited about the transformation I have made in this pose. Being a perfectionist, my top left arm in the third photo not being completely perpendicular to the floor bugs me. But the transformation for me has been an amazing one over this year. My Triangle has a ways to go, but it is on a good and safe path. And I am OK where I am right now with that pose.
Extended Triangle isn’t the only pose I have transformed over the past year or so.
My practice in general has changed over the past year as I learned more about anatomy, alignment and my own body.
The longer one practices yoga the stronger the practice gets with what can be an amazing transformation. I have had fellow practitioners tell my that my practice has gotten stronger and my alignment has changed for the better in poses. A teacher and friend I highly respect recently told me that since I started taking classes with her (three to four years ago) my practice has really changed and grown.