Poses We Hate
But a few years back, I experienced a breakthrough with Garudasana, and this breakthrough wasn't physical, it was emotional—even spiritual. I just made peace with it. I started noticing that my emotions surrounding the pose were actually throwing me off-balance, so I stopped doing that finishing act; I gave up feeling that I needed to achieve anything in the posture.
I still include Garudasana in my practice, but I'm no longer working toward "accomplishing" it—or any other particular pose. I could probably do the classic, final form of Garudasana if I made that the focus of a practice session, using hip openers, lunge variations, Pigeon Pose variations, and even backbends to release my hips and pelvis. But these days, I focus my practice more on the movement of energy than on some physical outcome. My practice is a purification—a cleaning of the slate—so when I go into the rest of my life, I'm more at peace with things.
Nina Zolotow is coauthor, with Rodney Yee, of Moving Toward Balance and Yoga: The Poetry of the Body. Jason Crandell is a staff yoga teacher at Yoga Journal and teaches public yoga classes in San Francisco.