Day 2 of our challenge is Warrior III or Virabhadrasana III.  Balancing poses are great for calming and refocusing the mind.  If you can learn to balance on your mat, you are well on your way to having balance in any other part of your life.

Warrior IIIPopping up into this can be challenging for beginners, so a good tip is to start out in a high lunge position.  From here, engage your abdominals and press your front leg firmly into the mat while lifting your back leg up.  Commonly, people have a tendency to want to lean towards the standing leg and have one hip higher than the other.  Flexing the foot in that’s in the air will help even the hips.  As much as possible, you will want your hands, torso, and floating leg to form one straight line.

If you feel tension in your low back in this pose, you can keep your arms straight beside you.  In the full expression of this pose your hands will be together straight in front of you, and you will be looking toward your hands.  If you have neck and shoulder tension, you can keep your hands apart and look towards the ground as I am demonstrating here.  Looking at the ground will also help with balancing.

Try holding this pose on each leg for 10 breaths, and if you lose balance and fall, just pick up where you left off.  The real challenge here is to not get into a story about it.  When I first began my yoga practice, I would get very PISSED that I couldn’t balance on one leg.  The self-abuse would flow freely in my head. “You look like an idiot!” “You can’t do anything right.” “Why even try?”  And before I knew it, I was ready to pack it in and go sit on the couch and cry.  See if you can fall, and get right back into position without engaging in an inner-dialogue.  This doesn’t mean an inner dialogue won’t happen.  If you hear thoughts like, “You suck at this.” Choose to just notice those thoughts instead of engaging in them, and just keep breathing.

As you know, I’m also challenging you at home to do one thing everyday that is out of the ordinary or uncomfortable, and I’m also sharing mine.  (Yoga teachers get scared too sometimes!)  Today, I spent the afternoon at the beach in my bathing suit without wearing any sort of cover up (no beach towel, t-shirt, mumu, or crossed arms).  I found that when I wasn’t so focused on how I looked, I noticed that everyone around me was of all shapes, sizes, ages, and conditions.  But mostly, no one really cares about what I am doing or wearing.  I was talking to my husband about stepping up my game and getting an actual two-piece to let it ALL be out there.  This is the magic of just doing small uncomfortable things.  It all snowballs to you eventually getting naked.  Just kidding!  These small steps do snowball into conquering bigger fears, and there’s no telling what we will be capable of 13 days from now.

If you are following along on Instagram or Facebook, don’t forget to tag #fearless14 and #4petalsyoga.