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Dear Trikonasana

Dear trikonasana, 

     Learning from you has been quite a journey. You are the first pose to really point out how I was treating my knees. I practiced you thinking I was supposed to look or feel a certain way and in turn I started having knee pain and wanted to avoid you. Once having my knees hyper-extended in many poses reared its ugly head, you were the first place needing some tuning. You helped to teach me that it's not cheating to have a subtle bend to my knees. It's part of the practice of being non harming, ahimsa. I started keeping a tiny bend in both knees. That's when my legs started to really shake. They felt so weak that when I would set up to practice with you, I would have fear of my knees just giving out and snapping back. This has happened a few times because I was so used to sinking into my flexibility that everything became weak and over stretched. Locking into my joints was what was holding me up with you, not my muscles. I thought I was practicing you correctly before but that shaking really made me realize how much was missing every time I practiced with you. Working with my teacher and practicing regularly to make change happen here was a great learning experience. 

 I was unknowingly stealing, asteya, from my time and effort while practicing you by collapsing into my flexibility and not building a solid foundation through my feet and legs. I've learned through you and many other postures, working and focusing on an asana brings so many other elements of yoga into the physical practice. Correcting alignment not only keeps one safe, ahimsa, but it brings a focus to the practice, dharana. As mentioned before, bending the knee changed the pose from harming to non-harming, ahimsa. Working hard fires up tapas. The place where discipline is built along with your internal fire. These elements coming together made me feel solid (most days) on my legs and not as fearful. The work I was putting in was physically making me stronger and mentally more aware of how I was caring for my body. And the work I was doing with you, trikonasana, was carrying over into other straight legged poses. And then it carried with me off of my mat and I'm more likely to not automatically lock back into my knees when I'm standing around. What you taught me about fixing my knees, trikonasana, continued up my legs, pelvis, spine, through the top of my head thus making my posture overall better. If I never had this to work through I may not have gotten the chance to understand potentially troublesome areas. I love the anatomy side of the physical practice so whenever something comes up for me personally or with a student, I read everything I can about the joint and the surrounding joints and have many conversations and demos with my husband, who is an Exercise Physiologist.

Because of you, trikonasana, my interest peaked in understanding the intricacies you've highlighted. I've learned a lot about the anatomy of the legs and the role they play in the whole body. I also understand myself better. Because of you, I can better recognize when this or any other misalignment is happening with a student and I can help them. Thank you for teaching me some things are a little scary and that's okay. Find the boundary, back up if there is fear or pain and breath. 

You helped me realize, the pose should fit the body and not the other way around. If something doesn't feel right, don't keep doing it that way.

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