YogaJournal.com is challenging you to get in the season’s thankful state of mind with gratitude-geared practices all month long. Share yours and tag #yjgratitudechallenge.
Putting your leg behind your head may be one of the most exotic movements in the whole yoga practice. And if you’ve ever tried it, you know that it is also one of the most challenging. Not only are you met with the flexibility of your hips and lower back, but you can often wake up emotional demons sleeping in the darkness of the pelvis.
Working with the hips can bring up intense feelings on both the emotional and physical ends of the spectrum. Sometimes the emotional stuff is harder to work with than the physical stretching and strengthening. Practicing gratitude while working on the hip opening necessary for leg-behind-the-head postures helps you learn to accept and appreciate your body and heal the negative thoughts that get in the way of your happiness.
In this series, we start off with a passive stretch where you practice cultivating a grateful mindset while remaining equanimous in the face of discomfort. Then, the sequence builds heat through active postures that give you access to the inner space of the pelvis. Finally you will articulate the external rotation of your hip joint to move toward putting your leg behind your head for Eka Pada Sirsasana.
See also Kathryn Budig's Gratitudasana: Humble Flamingo