5 Yoga Poses For Managing Life Changes With Strength and Poise

If ever there was a tool for transition, and really, life in general, it's a yoga practice.

Whenever I find myself wandering in a transition or even a new part of the world, traveling for business or pleasure, I find home when I find yoga.

Going 180 is making change in our lives as a means to fuel a fulfilled and creative existence. 180 requires transition, big time! I've found it helpful in my 180s to have a victorious pose! (Jai!) 

Here's mine and some of yours that have supported your own powerful transitions. If you'd like to be featured in a future post, please share your 180 Pose on Instagram using #LetsGo180. 

Remember: You will bend, but you will not break!

1. Urdhva Dhanurasana: Wheel Pose

180 degrees is a half circle. A half circle sure looks a whole lot like my favorite yogapose, wheel.

Why do I love wheel so much? For one, backbends are energizing. If you've been to evening yoga class, you might notice that the teacher doesn't teach wheel pose and there's a good chance it's because they want you to wind down and get ready for your rest. Juxtapose to a morning class and they'll teach three wheels in a row. Get it! This pose is also a heart opener. Physically, the anatomy of wheel pose opens the chest. The physical opening of the chest allows for a fast-tracking flow of vibrance from the heart.

I see the world differently when I'm bent over backwards in this pose. That's pretty literal, but often that's how it begins. Start with a physical, tangible shift and then allow the subtleties of the mind and perspective to open up and shift as well. 

Energizing, heart-opening, perspective-shifting? This is my victory pose for transition and I'm so excited by how many of you on Instagram agreed and shared your own! Here are some of your wheels:

From @BlackYogaSuperStars: "If you do bend over backwards, let it be for you." We couldn't agree more!

www.instagram.com/blackyogasuperstars

From @ktrnaaa "I was familiar with this pose as it was my favourite as a kid when I used to dance and do gymnastics growing up. In one class, I learned that it is in heart openers and hip openers where we hold the most stress. Urdhva Dhanurasana became my "go-to" and also had the added benefit as being a hip opener, and overall healing pose. In this inversion, you are cultivating such strength: armpits are forward, head relaxed, shoulders firm, lifted leg flexed, quads are fired up, glutes are tight and toes are reaching as high as they can get to be nurtured by the sun. In this pose I've encouraged my busy brain to stand still. Your life might be chaotic and you might have a million other things to do and it's almost the end of the day and you've done nothing...but there is nothing you ought to be doing, there's nowhere you ought to be, the world will not crumble without you. Accept it, accept your life, acknowledge that your heart will heal, accept the pain, see it's beauty in how far you've come. See your loved ones, see your all of your strength, all of your balance, and amidst all the noise, be proud of yourself, go easy on yourself. Amidst it all breathe it all in, with an open heart."

katrina

2. Balasana: Child's Pose

From @kaylasueyoga: "This is my 180 pose. It changes my world 180 degrees. This pose, to me, is about surrender. It places my head below my heart - offers a fresh perspective. It's instantly calming to my body, mind and spirit.
Not only do I start class like this but I come back to it often throughout my practice, allowing me to reconnect with my breath and turn my awareness inward :: which is where true change and magic happens. This posture reminds me to let go of my expectations and surrender to the will and path already c r e a t e d for me."
 

3. Rockstar Pose

What?!?! There's a pose for us? Yes, that's right, you're a 180 ROCKSTAR! Thanks to Rachel for reminding us of this one. Nothing says victory like flipping your downward dog into the expression of a rockstar.

From @Rachelevette22: "I have truly seen a 180 degree change in my life for the BETTER!! ✨✨

If I can share ANYTHING it's to surround yourself with positive energy and people you love. With that, your progress will come. Draw inspiration from your everyday life and let it shine through your practice no matter what it is. Life will always be there to provide obstacles.. but I strongly believe that the universe doesn't ever hand you what you can't handle. Finding my balance through practice or being with those I love has always been my safe haven. Energy is everything!"

 

4. Adho Mukha Svanasana: Downward Facing Dog

I love that Samantha of @yogibearfitness reminded me of this staple. Downdog, when first practiced, is often seen as a strenuous pose. It's very active, engaging from the fingers, up through the forearms, biceps and triceps while rooting down through the feet, engaging the quad muscles of the legs and getting an intense hamstring stretch all at once. The thing is, this pose becomes a resting pose with practice. Talk about a 180! Along with child's pose, it is often offered in classes as a pose to get back into a regulated breathing pattern. The head hanging below the heart here also reminds us to be humble on our journeys. 

Samantha from @yogibearfitness shares with us:  "It was hard to narrow it down to one because there's so many, but the important part is not what pose but how it helps. Yoga is my time to free my mind of the worries of life. It's an escape. Yes, the benefits of being tone and gaining strength and flexibility are nice.. But being able to calm the mind is what I love. Surrendering yourself and emptying negativity. Some poses that are the most effective for me are lotus, reclined hero, and one legged king pigeon and downward-facing dog."

5. Padmasana: Lotus Pose

Surprisingly challenging and yet epically powerful is the ability to just sit. Breathe. Tune in. A 180 warrior knows that silence is quiet courage. Stillness is where we see and realize our greatest gifts. Thanks to Star for this one.

From our friend Star @divinebagofcells: "Working with my mind and thought processes in combination with training my physical body helps me through life and all of life's changes. Staying balanced in transition is easier said than done. Staying balanced mentally is a challenge for me and I continually do deep inner work to grow in this area. Two tips which help me stay balanced in transition are maintaining a physical practice as well as continual self observation and self focus. We are not our thoughts and our initial reactions to things don't have to dictate our behavior or our responses to them. Yoga is great for both the physical and the mental training."