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Yoga Poses I Love and Hate

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Good afternoon!

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I read this quote this morning and really loved it…

 

You cannot see what I see because you see what you see. You cannot know what I know because you know what you know. What I see and what I know cannot be added to what you see and what you know because they are not the same kind. Neither can replace what you see and what you know, because that would be to replace you yourself.  – Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

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I had a rough yoga class this morning, which is always so disappointing.  But the poses just weren’t working for my body this morning.  Some felt great and some felt icky.  I got into child’s pose a lot.  I felt like I had a lot of junk in my shoulders and lower back.

 

… Which got me thinking about:

 

Yoga Poses I LOVE and HATE

 

I really, really love Pigeon Pose.  It makes my hips feel sooo good.  Bonus points – pregnancy hormones mean I can fold forward completely in this pose with my folded leg parallel to the top of the mat.  Hah.

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I really love the Warrior Series, especially Warrior II.  It makes my legs feel awesome.  And I feel like a badass when I do it.

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I like Triangle Pose and Side Angle Pose.  These moves give you such a nice stretch in the side body.  And I really like doing arm binds during these poses, especially when I can hop up into Bird of Paradise <—just because it’s fun!

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I really DO NOT like deep twists right now.  Normally, I like twisting poses but with my pregnant belly, they are getting impossible and are pretty uncomfortable.  I actually not even sure if it’s wise to do twists from the belly at this point, anyway, so I’m skipping most twists.  But Twisting Chair Pose is the wooooorst.

Standing-twist

I hate Half Moon.  Make it a Revolved Half Moon and I really hate it.  I also hate similar poses where one hand is down and a leg is up.  It makes my hip pinch.  This probably means I’m doing it wrong, but I haven’t figured out exactly what.

revolved half moon

(Click any of the photos above to see their image sources.)

 

I feel bad for hating certain yoga poses – because it doesn’t feel very zen to hate something in yoga!  But I always inwardly groan when these poses come up.

 

What yoga poses do you love and hate?

{ 47 comments }

 

Leave a Comment

  • Tracey carmichael August 7, 2014, 3:06 pm

    This is a fun topic! I can’t wait to read all of the comments. I actually LOVE half moon. I also love triangle, tree, warrior two and triangle. Chair pose is my arch enemy.

    Reply
    • Caitlin August 7, 2014, 3:09 pm

      Chair poses definitely makes my list too.

      Reply
      • Spice Chicken August 8, 2014, 9:04 pm

        I second (third? fourth?) chair.

        Reply
  • Tory @ tory of my life August 7, 2014, 3:31 pm

    Ugh Half Moon is the worst! Even using a block to assist I’m always teetering and falling over. I’m determined to master it someday though.

    Reply
  • Samantha D August 7, 2014, 3:35 pm

    Hi Caitlin,
    There are many, many styles of yoga, and I teach only one (so i know that teachers disagree all the time, and who knows who’s right!), but I would never put a pregnant woman in a standing twist or deep twist originating from the belly.

    Do you know if any teachers at your studio have a pre-natal background? I know that going to a straight pregnancy class can be boring for an active, healthy woman who’s practiced yoga before, but maybe going to an active class with someone who has the knowledge and experience would be good.

    As for my favorite poses: Half Moon every day, pigeon, reclined bound angle pose.

    Least favorite: twists, esp. seated twists.

    Reply
    • Caitlin August 7, 2014, 3:41 pm

      My gym doesn’t have prenatal. Wahhh. I’m not sure if they have prenatal backgrounds… I think because I just intuitively have realized deep twists are no bueno that I’ve probably been staying out of it enough so they don’t say something… Or I melt into child’s pose and they don’t even have to think about it. LOL

      I actually LOVED the prenatal classes that I went to when I was pregnant with Henry… I loved how slow and boring they were. Hah… But it just doesn’t work with childcare now so I have to just go to the regular classes and make do. Thanks for the advice!!!

      Reply
      • Christine August 7, 2014, 5:09 pm

        My studio actually wouldn’t let me attend regular classes when I was pregnant, although I think I would have been fine as long as I avoided certain poses. Luckily, they offered a great prenatal class that worked with my schedule.
        I love Half Moon – it’s my favorite pose! I can’t believe you can do Birds of Paradise while pregnant – I couldn’t balance to save my life while I was pregnant. I don’t like the Warrior series, although I don’t mind Warrior 2 as much. I also love Pigeon pose:)

        Reply
  • Catherine @ Making Meal Time August 7, 2014, 3:44 pm

    I am with you on loving triangle and pigeon, especially when pregnant, but I also love half moon. Next time you are in half moon notice if you are putting most of your weight in your toes or in your heel. It should feel better if you move the weight toward the heel. Just a note that all deep twists should be avoided during pregnancy. Your body was telling you to lay off of them for a reason! (The yoga teacher in me can’t help but comment!)

    Reply
    • Caitlin August 7, 2014, 3:45 pm

      Thank you :) I guess this is a good example for why it’s important to listen to your body. I’m going to try that with Half Moon next time. Thanks :)

      Reply
  • Amber August 7, 2014, 3:44 pm

    Smart decision to listen to your body and say no to the twists. Closed belly twists are not recommended at any point during pregnancy (open belly twists are ok). Yoga journal has a nice series I found helpful called Tools for Teaching Prenatal Yoga that helps to figure out all the dos and don’ts for each trimester of pregnancy. It’s very inspiring that you are keeping up on your practice!

    Reply
    • Caitlin August 7, 2014, 3:45 pm

      What’s an open belly twist? Can you give me an example? Like seated twist?

      Reply
      • Amber August 7, 2014, 4:07 pm

        It’s a little hard to explain without showing you, but in a seated twist. If you cross your left leg over your right and turn your body to the right that’s open. If you turn your body to the left that’s closed. Open twists aren’t as deep and are therefore more gentle. Namaste!

        Reply
      • jen August 7, 2014, 4:36 pm

        I agree! I am 35 weeks and have been practicing yoga daily. Have been avoiding the inversions, anything on the belly, deep twists (anything “revolved” isn’t going to happen these days!), and taking it easy on the days that I am not up certain poses. Just being in class is wonderful….enjoy it!

        ** an open belly twist would be something like triangle, where your belly is not constricted.

        Reply
      • Bree August 7, 2014, 4:58 pm

        I was coming down here to comment and say the same thing! Closed twists are where you are turning towards your leg; open twists face away. Taking your example of Triangle above, that would be open; if the picture showed the model turning in toward the leg, that would be closed.

        A couple seated examples:
        http://www.omnifilm.com/namaste/shopify/images/poses/pose_seatedtwist.jpg <—- these are closed
        http://wellroundedny.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Prenatal-Seated-Twist.jpg <— open :)

        Reply
  • Christine @ BookishlyB August 7, 2014, 3:51 pm

    When I was going to my favorite studio they advised me to stop doing twisting poses, inversions, backbends, and hardcore ab work. I’m sure it was partly a liability thing, but being a FTM I stuck to it.

    Reply
  • Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine August 7, 2014, 3:51 pm

    Right now I’m obsessed with bound warrior and of course my beloved forearm stands and scorpion!

    Reply
  • Lauren August 7, 2014, 3:55 pm

    I hate chair pose!

    Reply
  • ann August 7, 2014, 4:16 pm

    Didn’t know you were a fan of the HHGTTG!! :D

    Reply
  • Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs August 7, 2014, 4:17 pm

    I actually quite enjoy half moon — it makes me feel awesome! :)

    Reply
  • Kathy August 7, 2014, 4:36 pm

    I totally hear ya! I hated reverse plank (and a few other poses) for the longest time, then my teacher told me something…basically, she reminded me that the yoga poses we dislike the most are the ones we should pursue most because we are holding onto something in that pose that needs to be released. So, I kept practicing reverse plank and I no longer despise it! It’s not my favorite pose, but I learned about myself through the process and I am now more comfortable practicing it. Let me know if you’d like some advice on the poses :)

    Reply
  • Caitlin August 7, 2014, 4:38 pm

    I love cowface, plain old downward facing dog, revolved half moon, warrior I and II, supported bridge, any sort of chest opener using a block under your shoulders, and SO many more. My hips are constantly waning between kinda okay and awful, so a lot of poses I use to love are no longer easy and kinda painful- this goes for many inversions.

    Reply
  • Emily Muhlberg August 7, 2014, 4:57 pm

    I love pigeon pose also! I also love doing chaturanga dandasana (yogi push up/low plank) because it burns those arms so goooood. Child’s pose is also a favorite, naturally.
    I’m not such a huge fan of standing splits, because it throws me off balance and I can never seem to get any deeper with them, no matter how much I practice!!

    Reply
  • Breanne August 7, 2014, 5:01 pm

    I left a comment on another thread about open twists, but wanted to comment separately as well. I’m not sure about traditional yoga instructor trainings, but I teach BodyFlow (a combination of yoga, Tai Chi, and pilates) and in our training and our continuing education we receive pregnancy options for our participants. I’d definitely recommend talking to your instructor, but feel free to email me as well! :)

    Be careful with those pregnancy hormones not to OVER stretch. :D

    I myself love any type of forward fold. Feel so good on the hamstrings! I don’t like twists from chair EVER.

    Reply
  • Bonnie August 7, 2014, 7:05 pm

    They say the poses you dread are the poses you need most. I am not a fan of revolved half moon either, but for regular half moon, try right next to a wall going into triangle with a block, then when you’re ready, bend your front knee and move your block a few feet forward, then go into half moon against the wall. It feels so good this way! Leaning against the wall allows you to really let go.

    Reply
  • Kathy August 7, 2014, 9:49 pm

    I’m a fan of corpse pose (ha!) but I love all the warrior poses to. I have a love/hate relationship with downward dog…when it’s on, it feels like a great stretch and break from the class but when it’s off, it feels like torture.
    I’m pretty sure I remember from classes where pregnant woman joined in that the instructor suggested no twists but maybe that’s for later in the pregnancy?

    Reply
  • Allison August 7, 2014, 10:34 pm

    Completely agree with you about pigeon pose. It’s wonderful! And I also agree about the awful-ness of the revolved half moon. I’m not even pregnant, and it is still an awkward pose!

    Reply
  • Anne August 7, 2014, 11:44 pm

    I also love pigeon pose. It’s great for opening your hips after long days of sitting. Another favorite is plain ol’ downward dog. I love feeling the stretch down my entire body.

    Reply
  • Katerina @ yogaloom.com August 8, 2014, 1:41 am

    Caitlin, you made me laugh with your “and i feel like badass when i do it” :D True, the main thing is to feel comfortable, so if certain pose is making you feel weird – MOVE ON!

    Reply
  • Betsy August 8, 2014, 2:25 am

    Along with avoiding deep twisting, you should be careful about the pregnancy hormones making you feel extra flexible. It’s easy to over stretch and potentially cause injury. I’m a runner and a yoga teacher, so I totally understand how awesome it feels to really “nail” pigeon, but you might want to back off a bit!

    Reply
    • Grace August 8, 2014, 11:14 am

      I remember this from my prenatal class! We had an awesome instructor (she’s also a doula and teaches great natural childbirth classes and workshops) and she really emphasized that you can do a lot of damage by overextending when pregnant due to relaxin.
      I would actually feel nervous about attending a regular yoga class when pregnant, because there are so many modifications that need to be done when pregnant, there’s no way I could remember them all on my own! How do you know which poses to modify and avoid?

      Reply
  • kwithme August 8, 2014, 7:40 am

    I have the same problem with Revolved Half Moon, I don’t like it either. Glad it is not just me.

    Reply
  • Elle August 8, 2014, 8:15 am

    Hahaha, love this post! I actually love&hate Warrior II, love because I feel a badass as you say, but hate because my jelly arms hurt so much! Also love the Tree pose, especially showing it to my friends or husband when they say that yoga is “easy/not really an effort” and asking them to try it (–> yes, I’m a show off :-D).

    Reply
  • Aerevyn August 8, 2014, 8:15 am

    I love seated staff pose. It looks like nothing, deceptively simple, but it makes me feel great. I am super wobbly at tree, but I like trying.

    Downward facing dog. Ugh. I am soooooo not stretchy. (And my dog is so effortlessly good at this one. Hahaha.) Makes me feel awkward. I’ve let go of trying to be good at this one, and embrace any positive change. Now I like it more.

    Reply
  • Amanda August 8, 2014, 9:20 am

    I pretty much love and hate the same ones you do. Anything that involves twisting while balancing is out of the question for my abilities.

    Reply
  • orla August 8, 2014, 9:24 am

    I love and hate Pigeon pose at times. It depends how much running I am doing and how much pressure I have on my hips. Saying that. I love it more than I don’t as it definitely works. I love any balancing poses as I somehow possess really good balance and can get into them and hold them.
    I ADORE bird of Paradise.
    However, there are days that savasana is a problem for me – like on Wednesday when my mind would not settle. Sometimes, the biggest challenge I have is letting go mentally. But that is why I keep going back. Because it challenges me.
    Happy Friday.

    Reply
  • Becca August 8, 2014, 9:53 am

    Caitlin, this is so funny!! I love and hate the exact same yoga poses! I dread half moon and I always wimp out and do a half-effort job. Warrior II also makes me feel awesome and pigeon is amazing :) Good yoga pose taste ;)

    Reply
  • Kattrina August 8, 2014, 10:54 am

    I hate some yoga poses too! I really, really dislike downward-facing dog. I find it so uncomfortable, my hands are usually sweaty so I slip all over the mat, and my hamstrings are so tight that I can’t get my legs even close to being straight. Unfortunately, yoga is 50% downward-facing dog it seems at times so it really discourages me from going. I don’t like warrior three much either or half moon because it’s so much balancing and I can’t get the position to hold very well. I LOVE pigeon though and tree pose!

    Reply
  • Laura@SneakersandSpatulas August 8, 2014, 11:23 am

    I love doing back bends-they’re my “bad ass” pose. Also love birds of paradise, the poses where you balance on one leg.

    I’m not a fan of pigeon pose-I always feel like I’m doing it wrong. I never know exactly what do do with my front leg or where I should feel the stretch.

    My goal pose: finally succeed in balancing in crow

    Reply
  • Kimberly August 8, 2014, 1:17 pm

    I love pigeon pose, downward dog, plank and chair pose because I feel like those are the poses where I build the most muscle/get the best stretch. I also love tree pose for building focus and balance. I’m actually not a huge fan of the warrior series because I feel like my body is very tight in each pose, but I suppose that means that’s the area on which I should focus! It’s interesting to learn about the prenatal yoga limitations!

    Reply
  • Ashley August 8, 2014, 1:19 pm

    Pigeon is HEAVEN For me after a long yoga class or long run!

    Reply
  • Rachel August 8, 2014, 1:46 pm

    I hate some poses too. But, this is why I like going to classes because it takes me out of my comfort zone! Good for you doing all of this yoga though!

    Reply
    • Elizabeth August 8, 2014, 3:19 pm

      I teach prenatal yoga and second, third, etc the no deep belly twisting comments. The way I teach it to students is to not let their belly button go past their outer hip. For example, in class we do a wide legged forward fold and then, rooting your left palm on the floor, open your chest and stretch your right hard towards the sky for a shoulder opening gentle twist while keeping the belly engaged. Does that make sense?

      Right now, as I’m breastfeeding my third little girl who’s five months old constantly it seems, I’m super into shoulder openers. I went to a relax and restore class last night and we did crocodile. Ahhhhh….

      Reply
      • Caitlin August 8, 2014, 3:21 pm

        Belly button past outer hip is a great guide – thanks!!!

        Reply
  • Jenn August 8, 2014, 4:33 pm

    I hate reverse triangle. I just can’t do it. That means I should do it more, right?

    Reply
  • Nancy August 8, 2014, 7:04 pm

    I love all yoga poses (though some are so tough for me), as I do each exercise feeling not only my body, but also my soul and mind.

    Reply
  • Duffy August 10, 2014, 7:17 am

    Caitlin, stop doing deep twists immediately. That’s the first thing you learn about prenatal yoga, and no instructor should be putting you in a deep twist. It compresses your uterus and puts stress on your baby. Also, back off the pigeon and any other pose where you feel like you can go deeper just because you have pregnancy hormones. You can do a ton of damage to your hips without knowing it.
    Sorry. Yoga and prenatal yoga instructor here. Look – if you need to see some references, check out these links.
    http://www.urbanflowyoga.com/pregnancy.html
    http://prenatalyogacenter.com/blog/prenatal-yoga-what-poses-can-i-do/
    http://www.corepoweryoga.com/blogs/how-maintain-yoga-practice-during-pregnancy
    And not to be a jerk, but I would seriously question any yoga instructor who knew that you are pregnant and still put you in a deep twist!

    Reply
    • Caitlin August 10, 2014, 3:34 pm

      Thanks so much for these links! I’ll read over them carefully!

      Reply

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