My Desert Island Yoga Pose
If you were allowed to take just one yoga pose with you to a desert island, just one, what would it be?
I suppose first you need to ask what you want it to achieve. Do you need to look for something uplifting, energising, maybe a mood lifter (after all you’re stuck on a desert island)? or would you need something to calm and relax you, to slow that beating heart rate to a manageable level (remember you’re on a desert island with no immediate chance of escape)? Would you choose your all time favourite pose and take that one with you, because life is short and should be filled with as much joy as you can find to fill it? Or would you choose a pose that challenges you so that you can work on it over time? Ooh so many questions, I’m sorry about that!
This is a bit like being asked to choose your favourite song, when you start to think about it there are so many options. Well, after much consideration here are my contenders, a short and simple list of my all time favourite yoga poses (in no particular order).
- Pigeon pose / Eka Pada Rajakapotasana
- Headstand / Sirsasana
- Corpse Pose / Savasana
- Garland pose / Malasana
- Half moon pose / Ardha Chandrasana
Now let’s explore them in a little more detail.
Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
I’ll be honest, its on the list because it simply feels so good. The perfect pose for tight hips, Pigeon Pose can also provide relief from sciatic pain. In addition to its physical benefits (which are many) it also has emotional benefits. We tend to store stress, trauma and anxiety in the hips so working with a pose that opens the hips also helps to combat any negative feelings.
B.K.S Iyengar refers to Headstand as the ‘king of yoga postures’ in his book “ Light on Yoga”, and for good reason. In a yoga inversion, where the head is lower than the heart, the blood flow is directed from the feet to the head and the heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood around the body. Headstands help to improve mental function and provide focus. There are times when I use inversions to calm my mind and others when I use them to give me a little extra oomph!
Corpse Pose (Savasana)
In my opinion this is the most important pose of any yoga practice. It does look a bit like a nap, but your body is doing important stuff, allowing the body and the brain to relax and process information created both on and away from your yoga mat. Its the one pose where your levels of flexibility or strength don’t matter. You can just take time for yourself, time for reflection.
Garland Pose (Malasana)
Squatting poses are incredible for toning the lower body. However, its not that often that you see someone sitting like this outside of a yoga practice as we prefer to sit on chairs and toilets in an upright position. as a result we’re losing the suppleness and strength in our legs in addition to inviting a host of issues as our posture worsens over time. Including Malasana as part of your yoga practice can help restore leg strength and tone in addition to aiding digestion (all thanks to the downward flow of energy).
Half Moon Pose / Ardha Chandrasana
Half Moon Pose was not my favourite pose when I first started practicing yoga. I found it very difficult to do in comparison to other poses that naturally came easy to me. But I persevered with it, and now its absolutely one of my favourites. A balancing pose, Half Moon Pose strengthens the abdomen, spine, buttocks, thighs and ankles. Furthermore, working on balance and coordination helps to calm the mind and relieve stress.
And the winner is…..
But if I had to choose, and I could only take one yoga pose with me I’d take Garland Pose. It has so many benefits with very real application (ahem) for every day life that I don’t think I could leave it behind. I also read a study that attributed longevity with thigh strength or more specifically the ability to stand and sit without using your hands as an aid. Malasana most definitely helps with thigh strength and will be the perfect pose for sitting on the shore while hatching a plan to get off the island!