I love the beautiful photo of this woman in pyramid pose. When I look at her, I feel the ease with which her upper body floats down for her to kiss her shin. Her grace and shape inspire me. I want to step into that shape and see how that feels.
Okay, one foot forward and one foot back, hinge at the hips…hmm…it’s not seeming like I will be kissing my shin. This is the moment where the true practice of yoga begins. My body is not like hers, or yours or anyone else’s body. Using my expert yoga teacher eye, I am attuned to proportions now and she has a very long torso and long arms. (I also know because my torso and arms are the opposite!)
At first, we believe yoga is about putting our bodies into particular shapes. About 10% of yoga is about that in my humble opinion.
Pyramid pose is a shape about getting to know your hamstrings. Yes, there is a triangle shape made with the legs. Though I’ve found it more helpful to think less about the grandeur of a pyramid and more about a grain of sand. Pyramids were not made in a day. Neither was the current state of my body. My tight hamstrings have been “built” over the years. And they will be softened into that grace in the photo, also, over time.
I could try and press through, and I have done that. A lack of attention provided a 6-month lesson in patience when I pulled a hamstring once in an early morning yoga class. The practice of yoga is first and foremost accepting where you are right now, in this moment, exactly as it is. It is showing up to face that reality and being open to what else could happen.
Pressing through is a fight, and no one wins. Yoga is a practice of breath, of the art of directing a breath to place that is holding on. When I take a breath in pyramid pose and imagine a soft breeze flowing across the tight places in my hamstrings and my hip joint something happens. It is like that soft breeze picks up and shifts tiny grains of sand.
Your shape in this pose, how you look, is not what matters. How you feel is the true treasure. While my body may not ever match the shape of this photo, I can find my very own feeling of grace in the shifting grains of sands within my body. To that, I can say yes— to my breath, my body and this moment.
Let Adriene help you with the details and the journey of pyramid pose.
Bit by bit we’ll build this beautiful pyramid together.