Home Yoga Practice: Benefits of Holding a Pose

I'm spending longer and longer time in certain standing poses. I'm not talking about 10 breaths. I'm talking 30 minutes or more. Yes, you read that right--30 minutes or more.

In the vinyasa world, we move quickly to build heat from within and may miss the benefit of certain poses, if they are not held longer. Take Deep Forward Fold (Uttanasana), for example. For years, I never spent more than a few breaths in this pose while zipping through Sun Salutation A.

For members of the tight hamstring club like me, that first and second Deep Forward Bend of the day can be tough to achieve without a strong bend in the knees to connect your torso to your thighs. I find hanging out in Deep Forward Bend does wonders to improve the flexibility of my hamstrings and gets me closer to the full expression of this pose.

In my case, the long hold is paying off. I decided to tackle poses like Mountain (Tadasana) and Hero (Virasana) to see if the results would be as positive as the Deep Forward Bend experiment.

Recently, I spent an hour standing at attention in Mountain to work toward stillness and calm. Overtime I have been working to hold this pose for a long time. In this instance, I not only got the mind-body connection I was hoping to achieve, but I was pleased with improvements in my overall posture, spinal alignment, core engagement, and grounding of my feet since beginning this experiment.

Instead of fatigue, I surrendered to the pose. I felt so rested in Mountain that I grew roots. I followed the long Mountain hold with a 30-minute counter flow. Afterward, the rough patch I encountered in my day seemed far away.

Do you experiment with long holds in your home yoga practice?

#asana #pose

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