At Sat Nam Fest in the Berkshires, Krishna Kaur will be teaching a workshop entitled “The Art of Mastering Challenge” on Saturday, August 12. After last year’s workshop, I’m not at all surprised by her choice of theme.
When Krishna announced that we were going to practice frog pose in last year’s women’s workshop, groans could be heard throughout the room. People who’ve been practicing Kundalini Yoga know that frogs are almost always a challenge. Krishna was trained directly by Yogi Bhajan, who was known to put his students through their paces, so she wasn’t moved by our complaints. With her dynamic, forceful self and great sense of humor, she led us through those 54 frogs. I usually only practice 26 at a time, so I was challenged to say the least. And that challenge was part of the point.
Frog pose is an energizing posture that activates the second chakra (center of creativity), strengthens the legs, engages the navel center, increases circulation, and gives us the experience of keeping up.
Krishna told us that, as women, we should be practicing 54 frogs every day. Just add a few each day until you get there, she said casually, as only someone who’s been through the fire can.
If you’d like to take her up on this recommendation, here’s how it’s done. Note: if you have any knee issues or don’t touch your toes easily, then please read the modification suggestions below. Take care of yourself!
- Place the heels together with the toes pointing out — ballerina feet.
- Bend the knees and squat down with the knees wide (over the toes). The heels lift off the floor. If they separate from each other, scoot the toes closer together. You want to keep the heels together.
- Place the fingertips on the floor in front of you. The head is up and the heart is lifted. This is your exhale position.
- As you inhale, raise the hips up and bring your nose toward your knees, keeping the heels together and off the ground.
- Exhale and return to the turned-out squat position. Repeat 26-54 times.
Modifications: If your knees don’t want to bend all the way, you can keep your heels on the floor and just bend partway. This may make it difficult to reach the floor with your hands. In that case, you can use a block or blocks to bring the floor closer to you. You can also use blocks if it’s difficult to reach the floor in the inhale position for flexibility reasons. Please remember not to be down on yourself because you’re modifying. Starting exactly where you are is the yogic thing to do.
I know Krishna’s workshop on mastering challenge will be so valuable, and it will be accompanied by Aykanna, who will undoubtedly amplify the inspiration with their powerful music.
“Keep up” may be the most frequently quoted Yogi Bhajan sayings. It’s critical to the practice of Kundalini Yoga, and to us as practitioners, when we step off the mat and into our real lives. As we move beyond fatigue and the limits of the mind (as most of us must do to reach 54 frogs), we create a picture of ourselves keeping up. We see our own strength, and we access the neutral mind, to keep up and carry on. What could be more valuable and make us more prepared for life’s crises and obstacles? What could give us more confidence to walk through life with an open heart?
Sat Nam. I hope to see you on the mat in the Berkshires!