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Practice Inconsistency, Transition With Intention
Do you want to do yoga with courage, precision and intention? Follow this flow of seven standing poses that cultivate mindfulness with a series of precise foot transitions
Others have a vested interest in us staying the same.
Often, we accommodate those expectations. We harbor a reluctance to be labeled unpredictable, erratic, fickle or contradictory. So, we cling to belief systems and relationships that no longer serve us. Even when new information sheds brighter light, our egos remain wed to last week's strident opinion.
Our evolution is inevitable, yet we drag around yesterday's corpse.
It was Ralph Waldo Emerson who warned us of consistency's dangers in his Vedanta-tinged 1847 essay "Self-Reliance."
"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds," he famously declared. Be unafraid to contradict yourself, he wrote, and step into your greatness. We are not paralyzed, and we can step from a corner into another plane.
Yet, practice to do so with courage, precision and intention.
Practicing Transitions: Masking Tape Flow Meditation
This footwork sequence was designed by Miami yogi Rina Jakubowicz. This flow of seven standing poses cultivates mindfulness with a series of precise foot transitions. Rina noticed early in her yogic journey while studying with Ashtangi teacher Sarkis Vermilyea that moving from pose to pose involved so many moving parts: the feet, the breath, the focus, the body and the bandhas. Often, transitions manifested as fearful stumbles or haphazard and indiscriminate flops.
I designed this sequence to remove all doubt," she said. "This sequence is ideal for navigating transitions from plane to plane, both on and off the mat, with intention."
First, lay your tape: With the assistance of a teacher, articulate your place in space with plank pose. Have your teacher lay a strip of masking tape across your mat at your fingertips and another strip at the edge of your longest toe.
Lay a third strip of tape along the length of your mat, bisecting the other strips.
This is your terrain. Throughout Rina's sequence, your front foot will stay firm and grounded. Only your back foot, your rudder, will shift allowing your body to rearticulate itself.
- Warrior Two: From Mountain Pose, the tips of your toes on the front tape, step back with your left foot to the back tape. The center tape should bisect the arch of the left foot, and your right toe should be touching the center of the front tape.
Observe your postural integrity. Your front heel is lined up with your back arch. Arms are strong. Hips are open. Push your feet into the floor. Your gaze is powerful. Hold for five breaths.
Extended Side Angle: Maintain your footing, and lower your right hand to the floor or block and reach your left arm to the sky.
Observe your integrity through the transition. Hold for five breaths.
Then, prepare to change. Know where you are headed, and see it before you do it.
- Warrior One: Your front foot remains in position. Take one step in with your back foot. Your back heel will be on the tape with the toes at approximately 45 degrees. Hold for five breaths.
Twisted Side Angle: Pivot onto your back toe. Hinge forward from your torso and twist to the right, placing your left hand on the floor or block while your right hand reaches to the sky. Hold for five breaths.
Prepare to transition.
- Triangle: Release the twist, straighten your torso and your front leg. Move your back foot in another step. This time, the tape bisects the arch of that foot. Open your hips to the left, hinge your torso over your front leg and lower your right fingertips to your front foot or block, your left arm to the sky. Hold for five breaths.
Prepare to transition.
- Twisted Triangle: Lift your torso from Triangle, and take one step in with the back foot. Your back heel will be on the center tape. Twist from your waist, and lower your left fingertips to the floor or block to the right of the front foot. Your right fingertips reach to the sky. Hold for five breaths.
Prepare to transition.
- Extended Forward Bend: Release the twist, lift your torso, and take one step in with your back foot. You back heel will be on the tape. Place your hands in prayer behind your back. Lift out of your torso and forward fold over your front leg. Hold for five breaths.
When you release from Extended Forward Bend, take a moment, and notice your footing. Your front foot should have remained firm in its original Mountain Pose position. But your rudder has traveled, shifted its orientation, and explored far from its origin. Throughout the sequence, your body has morphed and redefined its relationship to space.
After this reflection, step your left foot to meet the right in Mountain Pose. Repeat this sequence on the other side.
For more information about Rina Jakubowicz, visit RinaYoga.com.