One of the great things about yoga is that when we stick it out in a pose, pushing our limits a bit beyond our comfort zone, it shows the mind and body that it can endure almost anything. It teaches us perseverance and that we can achieve whatever we set our mind to.
Blogger Erica Rodefer explores a few yoga poses that teach perseverance, inspired by her kitty, who Erica says knows how to put her mind to it when she wants something!
All poses are perseverance poses, really. I’ve found that the practice itself is really about coming back every day to build on the wisdom you’ve built in days gone by. Of course, there are some phases in my life when I’m better at this than others. And some poses really bring out my stubborn side and make me determined to practice, practice, practice.
The following poses are inspired by my annoying cat, who never gives up on what she wants.
1. Kitty Core. I’m a new mom, which means I have a whole new core. When I first got home with my new baby, I was truly shocked by how weak my core felt. I couldn’t even get out of the back seat of my two-door car—which was pretty concerning since I had to somehow get a baby in and out. When I first started practicing again, I couldn’t do much, but I wanted to start regaining my core strength ASAP. I came back to hands and knees again and again to practice Cat Pose until I found the strength to find a Cat shape as I moved from Down Dog to Plank Pose.
2. Tiger Pose. Hop forward. Ever since I took a workshop with Duncan Wong, I’ve thought about a tiger leaping forward as I hop from Down Dog to Uttanasana. Kitty cats both big and small are impressive jumpers. My cat regularly leaps up and over the dining room chair barricade we set up to try to thwart her attempts at sleeping on our dining room table. If that cat wants to get her fuzzy kitty hair all over the table, she will find a way. And when I want to leap forward with power and grace, I channel her.
3. Sharpen Your Claws Pose. Thanks to Anusara’s teachings, I think of kitty cats every time I bear weight on my hands. Taking the energy up and out of my wrists and into my arms and shoulders (the action is like a kitty cat sharpening her claws without lifting her hands away from the mat) feels safer on my wrists and made all of my poses stronger, making arm balances and inversions more possible.
4. Lazy Kitty. Yes, I’m referring to Savasana. The reason my cat has enough energy to be so persistent (and annoying) is that she only uses her energy to get what she really, really wants. She sleeps the rest of the time. Now, I’m not condoning sleeping 20 hours a day, but I think we could all learn something about energy conservation from our furry friends. I tend to try too hard at everything I do—even the stuff that’s not important. My cat inspires me to pick and choose what’s important and let everything else go.
Erica Rodefer is a writer and yoga teacher living in Charleston, SC. As the former online editor for Yoga Journal magazine, she lived and breathed yoga at work and at home. She practiced with amazing teachers every day, went to yoga conferences, and had a supportive environment to live her yoga. Now, she’s trying to navigate yoga in the real world, and blogs about her journey to find contentment and live in the present, no matter what. Her loves include yoga, writing, crafting, her cat Gracey, and her dog Penny.