Jumping back from a seated position is one of the most challenging movements in the Ashtanga Yoga method. I can still remember the feeling when I first started practice of not being able to lift any part of my body off the ground. In fact I was so weak when I first started that I could not lift my butt, my feet or anything when I tried to jump back so I modified my places my hands in front of my feet and crawling back into Chaturanga Dandasana. My first Mysore Style Ashtanga Yoga teacher was Govinda Kai and he is beautifully gifted with inspirational strength in the practice. When I saw him jump back, jump into Bakasana and other powerful moves I was inspired to try the “real” way. There was a student who stopped me after class and said that she thought I would be able to jump back one day if I started working on it. Even though I doubted my teacher’s and fellow student’s faith in me gave me the hope and energy to start the long journey into strength. I am strong enough to jump back today not because it was easy for me, but because I worked tirelessly for it every day in my practice for nearly five years. It is a movement that I am still refining with each practice. In this YouTube clip I share some of the techniques that helped me build the strength needed for this complex movement.
The journey into strength in the Ashtanga Yoga method is a journey of self-discovery. The Ashtanga Yoga method asks you to find the inner spiritual fortitude known in Sanskrit as Sthira, which means strength and steadiness of mind. Every posture that challenges your limits of what you know as possible is a key that opens the door to the discovery of the infinite potential of the human spirit. Krishnamacharya said that yoga is the process of turning the impossible into the possible and then over a lifetime of work transforming the possible into grace. By starting at a place of impossibility and walking the long, arduous path towards possibility you build the kind of strength and steadiness of mind that knows how to work the magic of making dreams materialize with the sheer power of belief. In essence you learn to believe in yourself with the power of yoga.