A friend of mine asked what my favorite pose in yoga was. My first thought was the obvious choice; eight angle pose also called astavakrasana.
It’s a strong pose. It’s the sort of pose that when I was finally able to do it in my hot yoga class, I smiled. It’s a pose I feel fierce in. As of late, it’s my go to feel good pose aka, my show-off pose to my family.
So it’s obvious why eight angle pose would be my favorite. Except it’s not my favorite.
My favorite pose is split pose, also called Hanumanasana. I struggle a lot with this pose. It’s not pretty when I attempt it. I don’t feel strong, sexy or any form of comfort.
It hurt my ego the first time I tried it in class.
I don’t even particularly like the pose and usually have a moment of just wanting to call it quits in my head when an instructor says we are going into it. But it is my favorite.
Hanumanasana is hard for me. Like I said, it hurt my ego the first time I tried it because my legs looked like they were in some form of runner’s lunge instead of a split. It felt like the whole class was in the pose and calm whereas I was not only struggling but gasping for air while trying to sit up straight. I thought, “my body is not not meant to stretch like that.”
Hanumanasana is my favorite yoga pose not because I do it well (I know it’s not the prettiest) or because I can show my mom the cool things I am learning. It’s my favorite because it challenges me not only physically but mentally. Every time I go into the pose I have to tell myself to focus on my breathing, unclench my jaw, settle into it and I have to remember that my body is bringing what it can to the mat and that I need to embrace and love it.
As my instructor says, “It’s called yoga practice, not yoga perfect. Your body is where it needs to be.” I carry those words with me in every class and especially when in split pose.
That moment of clarity and acceptance was back in April. My hanumanasana is still not the prettiest but it has gotten better because I feel more confident when I try it.
I assume that I do not look as graceful as my fellow yogis while in split pose, especially when it comes time to get out of it. I can’t be 100% sure though because I stopped looking around the room and just let gravity and my body do their thing.