Transitions are a big part of life, and a big part of the yoga practice. Transitions are the in-between, the poses-between-poses, the movement within the movement. The SHIFT. The CHANGE. The TRANSFORMATION from here to there. We spend the majority of our life in a transitional state. They can be smooth, but often feel difficult, clunky and unsteady. Below are some tips to effectively practice transitions, whether you are teaching yoga, practicing yoga, or experiencing a shift in your life.
- Take it Slow and Pay Attention- Transitions are challenging and are a practice of strength. By slowing it down you can focus on building a strong foundation with good alignment. Pay attention to how you need to shift your weight in order to get to the next pose. I often see students rush through the transition which can create more imbalance. How much momentum do you really need? Maintain a steady breath throughout and observe how that steadiness focuses the mind. Take it one step at a time!
- Know Where you are Going- Have a goal but don’t obsess! Likely you will have to practice the transition many times before it becomes more familiar. Practice both ends of the transition. Where are you starting from? Where do you want to end up? Can you take the poses out of context so they become more familiar individually? Example- Sirsasana II (Tripod Headstand) to Bakasana (Crow Pose). Being able to do each of these poses is necessary before learning how to put them together safely.
- Move with Intention- How you practice the transition says more about you than the pose. Be steady but not forceful. Enjoy the practice even when it is hard!
- Use Your Foundation. Moving from 2 feet to 1- like Parsvakonasana to Ardha Chandrasana- Press and root into all parts of the standing foot as you shift your weight forward instead of RESISTING. Whether your foundation is hands, feet or a combination, use your support!
- Take a moment to Arrive and Settle- As much as transitions are about movement, celebrate the stillness!
Check out my video below on Transitioning into Ardha Chandrasana! And a special thank you to Kati Potts for helping me with this!