Fear factor is a big deal in many yoga postures and the more intricate and explorative the postures, the scarier they can be!
We are all aware of the scare factor in things like headstand and handstand and some arm balances. It's natural to be afraid when you are learning new upside down postures. But what about those shapes that are mangled and tangled and bound and you can't tell if your head is up and your feet are down... Let's face it some of those bound-and-balancing yoga postures can be pretty darn tootin’ overwhelming!
Bring out the fearless side of your practice with some of these tangly-mangly terrifying holds!
1. Spider Pose
Spiders are eery, creepy little creatures for many folks. This cobweb like pose, a cross between Goddess Pose and a forward fold can feel like you are embodying that long-legged little creature. Perhaps that is what makes it so deliciously deep!
How it's done: Take a wide leg stance, fold forward and bend your knees dramatically. Walk your hands over to opposite feet or shins and take a good grip. Next stand high, high, high up on your toes and pull on your legs as you bend the knees, lift your tailbone and drop your head.
2. Balancing, Bound, Threaded Needle
A huge amount of focus goes into this challenging posture and it can be super scary trying to keep your weight out of your head while you lift up into the bind. Holding that balance is just so tricky!
How it's done: Thread your needle as per usual, wrap the top arm behind your back and extend either the same, or the opposite leg back behind you. Press into your toes to lift the foot up off the mat and bend at the knee. Let your wrapped arm try to capture your lifted foot and kick up like crazy. If you feel the weight in your head or neck instead of your shoulder then back out a little to protect your neck.
3. Tangled Cat
Perhaps the name is the frightening part here? I like to think this posture is about a kitten tangled up in yarn from playing so much…. There, that took the fear right out of it! Simply scrummy, this Yin yoga hold opens your intercostal muscles (connecting between your ribs) and lengthens your hamstrings wonderfully after a few deep breaths!
How it's done: Take a traditional Cat Pose. Straighten out one leg back behind you and then circle it out to the side, placing the flexed foot down off of your mat. Take the same hand and reach back for your back foot or leg, take the opposite hand and reach over for the extended foot or leg. Now lean your butt back and drop your head to look at your back foot. The more you pull with your arms the deeper the stretch along your side body, lateral hip and hamstrings will become.
4. Lifted Lizard
This pose is sometimes referred to as “Witch On A Broomstick Pose!” Pretty spooky name, and pretty challenging to begin balancing here too! Usually, however, it is a relative of good old fashioned Lizard Pose, a little creepy if you’re not into reptiles, but way less superstitious than a human making a broomstick fly!
How it's done: Come to Lizard Pose and lift the back knee. Tuck your arm and shoulder under your bent leg and wrap the opposite arm behind you to your low back. Try floating the arms up or see if your can grab your butt cheek and eventually clasp the hands together behind your low back. Try it with your toes tucked under to start - gripping the ground, then step it up a notch and simply lift the knee leaving the top of your foot on the ground- wowza!
5. Double Bound Balancing Half Moon
The moon is a symbol of a deep-dark night. This posture reflects that depth in the moment where you are not sure if you will fall flat on your face due to both arms being bound under your standing leg… Jeepers! Just remember the moon sheds light on the situation so that you can focus through the dark!
How it's done: Take a fully bound side angle pose, fix your gaze at the top corner of your mat and gently slide a strong back leg in towards you. Find your balance here and gradually lift the back leg up, pressing into your toes.
6. Swan Pose
Nose diving toward our mat is not something we usually strive for - unless we are practicing Swan Pose!
How it's done: Take Warrior III with airplane arms and, keeping the hips level, start to dive your upper body down towards the top of the mat as you lift the back leg up to the sky. Pause as low as you can for five breaths.
Test your asana limits, and see for yourself just how scary-fun these intricate mangled, tangled, bound, creepy balancing postures can truly be!