Tuesday, March 27, 2012

15 Minute Bird Wings or The Point of Pushing Past Your Perceived Limits

In my ExploreDance: Kundalini Yoga classes, toward the end of the Kundalini component of the class, we do Bird Wings.  (You can see them at minute 6:45 in the above video.)

When I very first started exploring Kundalini yoga myself about 12 years ago, I was doing videos (there were no local teachers then and only me now).  I can't remember what video I first came across bird wings in, but I do distinctly remember giving that video the finger.  Many times.  Over and over.

They were so freaking hard!

Now I know it wasn't just me. 

My students who have been with me for a while now still find these difficult, and when they reach two, three, four minutes, it is quite a victory.  Sometimes I even get minute postings on my Facebook wall.  No words.  Just the minutes, and I always know exactly what they are writing about.

I won't lie.  After 12 years of this, there are still days when I swear to God that someone has replaced my arms with blocks of cement.

Now I know that this is an indication that I am going through something on the energetic level.  I am processing something within my emotional body.  The arms, of course, connect the heart to the throat.

Regardless, Bird Wings are HARD on the physical level.

And this is one of my favorite things about Kundalini:  We do really, really, really hard stuff.  For many minutes.  Until we feel like we are going to break.

We do this on purpose.

This yoga is not about finding some calm center.  It is about finding your power.

And trust me...there is a calmness to knowing you can handle anything, to knowing that you can do more than you thought, to knowing that you can feel like you are dying when you are not actually dying.

Wimps need not apply.

The other day, I saw something amazing in one of my classes.

It was my intermediate class in which we push our edges a little harder.

A couple of my students went to 6 minutes.  This is a huge deal.

But then...

I put on the free movement music and told them they could stay completely internal and do only what they wanted/needed to do.  (Typically, I guide a bit more and eventually turn this into a more communal experience.)

One of my students who had just done 6 minutes of bird wings placed herself in a sunny corner and proceeded to do NINE MORE MINUTES of bird wings.

Her arms went numb.

But there was a point when the energy of the movement changed for her.

She broke through.

She did not feel any pain, only the wings moving easily to sky, the energy pressing into the earth.

I saw her the next day for class and I was worried her arms would have...fallen off.


They weren't even sore.

And she knew something brand new about herself.

She knew she was stronger than she ever had thought.

This is why we do it.

We push past out perceived limits and we meet our true selves.