If you ask yoga students and teachers what their favorite posture is, many times the answer is standing bow pulling pose. Why? Well, the posture is complex, beautiful and challenging, like some of the most interesting people. It can leave you feeling accomplished or frustrated, energized or lightheaded. When you nail it, you feel so great. It is also the point in class for many people in which the mind “turns off." You have to work so hard to stay in the posture that you really can’t think about anything else for that minute. The point when you realize you haven’t thought about anything else, that your mind really can turn off even if just for a few seconds, is such a breakthrough. You realize if you can turn it off there, you can turn it off outside of the yoga room as well. That engine that has always been in perpetual motion does have an off switch even if just for that few seconds.
Bow also teaches you not to rush. Go into it too quickly and you are bound to lose your balance. Like all the best things in life you have to build a strong base and then move deliberately and strongly towards your goal. Keep your focus. If you lose your mental focus you might fall. Keep your eyes glued to your own eyes in the mirror. If that is not comfortable for you yet, pick another spot... your hairline, an eyebrow, and focus like a laser beam on that spot. Feel what is happening in your body. Feel how strong and grounded that standing leg and foot are. Feel where the weight is on the standing foot. Feel your stomach in, feel your chest open as you kick so hard into the palm you are opening the chest, shoulders in one line. Feel the energy in your arm stretching forward to the mirror. And BREATHE! Sometimes you work so hard in this posture you almost forget to breathe. But you need the oxygen, your body is working so hard so keep breathing!
If you fall out of the posture, just set back up. No judgement, just keep trying. If you always go to the same point and then stop, maybe try taking it a little further in each class. Don’t let yourself get stuck, if you challenge yourself you might fall, but you might also find out just how far you can go in the posture. And most of all ENJOY this amazing pose!