Day 4: Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

My very helpful and handsome assistant helped me take this picture of today’s yoga pose: Uttanasana, Standing Forward Bend.

We went outside our apartment looking for a beautiful, nature-inspiring background and came across colorful flowerbeds, palm trees, an artisan brick wall. But then we saw this blue post office box and thought: that round top kind of looks like my butt.

So, I folded inward and sure enough—post office box meet butt, butt meet post office box. You two have a lot in common. And this got me thinking: I miss sending letters. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m dependent on modern technologies—emailing, text messaging, Skyping, Facebooking, Yelping, Daily dealingblogging, translating, mapping, and as the list goes on, so do my doubts. I wonder: has my standard of living improved or am I merely more distracted?

When I was in eighth grade, my best friend moved to Hawaii and for an entire year, we sent each other letters once a week. Nothing gave me more pleasure than checking the mail and seeing my name handwritten on the envelope. For me? No way!

Skip ahead, nineteen years (woops, you know my age now), and that best friend is still my best friend, except we don’t correspond in the same way. Although she’s perfectly capable with modern technology, she refuses, on principle, to lose herself with gadgets. She’s not on Facebook; she shares a cell phone with her husband, and watches a minimal amount of television and movies. When she came to visit me this summer, she wasn’t constantly on her cell phone checking her email or text messages; she wasn’t impatiently yelling obscenities when stuck in traffic. In fact, the thing that stuck with me the most is that she rarely got bored. You could leave her for an hour on the street corner and she’d pass the time doing something.

Unfortunately, that’s not me anymore. If I leave the house without my cell phone, I’m naked, vulnerable, and on the verge of a panic attack. But I believe that once, in my youth, I was capable of standing still.

Yoga is about standing still. It’s about taking a step back from your busy life and letting the distractions sink to the bottom. Yoga can be about increasing flexibility and building strength, but the whole point of participating in poses is to quiet the mind. When you’re standing on one leg, twisting to the side, breathing with full consciousness, there’s little room in the brain to be thinking about your next tweet.

As with all things in life, there’s a balance. And that life balance, as well as physical balance, is the reason why I’m excited about embarking on this journey.

About Chellis Ying

Chellis is a writer, yogi and teacher based in California.
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2 Responses to Day 4: Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

  1. Amelia says:

    I’d like to spend the rest of my life trying to do this pose as you’ve done it here. So beautiful and talented! And I do love the juxtaposition with the mailbox…:)

  2. Pingback: The Yoga Teacher | Yo yo yoga with Chellis Ying

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