Welcome to this month’s focus…Transitions

Several years ago, I attended a yoga workshop focused on yoga pose transitions. I will never forget how the gifted teacher stressed the importance of “how exiting the pose is just as important as entering”. Since that time, my awareness in my own practice as well as when I teach has been to really pay attention to the yoga pose transitions. It can be tempting, especially if you are familiar with the pose to simply enter into it as well as to exit out. However, this to me, is where we miss the essence of the pose. I find it especially true if the pose was mentioned beforehand. Before the workshop, I would find myself on autopilot, “let’s just go”.

Yoga Pose Transitions

Let’s say we are heading into Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior 3). Without setting that strong foundation on the standing leg, as well as the lifted leg, our pose may lack the stability and we may find ourselves very unsteady. Same thing as we ease out of the pose, the back and front leg can easily lose the balance. However, when we set up the foundation, and stay focused all the while through, we have the stability to be steady on the ground as well as in the air.

Life Transitions

This can apply to life as well. Transitions are never easy but when we are mindful of them, it can help. Recently, I moved from California to Washington state in one of the most difficult moves I feel I have ever been through. Leaving behind what was familiar and comforting to the complete unknown. I noticed that on days when I practiced my yoga with intention (minding those transitions) I was less fearful of the days ahead. On days that I did not practice or just raced through a few Sun Salutes, the worry and the anxiety got the best of me, and I truly mean got the best of me. However, when I grounded myself and observed my thoughts rather than reacted to them, I remained calm and collected.

To me, this is the language of mindfulness. Being aware of what happens in our poses, the moments of in-between, the entry and exit. Same thing in our practice off the mat. Taking a step back and becoming aware of how you are reacting and asking yourself why can help so much to keep that feeling of calm and collectedness.

One of my many favorite poses is Krounchasana (Heron). The heron is at home with one foot in the water just as much home as with one foot on the ground. Transitioning between the two takes grace and patience. Two elements are advantageous to both our yoga practice and life.


In terms of nourishing themselves, when the heron is on the hunt, they wait in stillness and for quite some time before the catch. Becoming aware of the yoga pose transitions and transitions in life, the in-between moments can help us greatly to remain strong and steady in the midst of all the change.

Jane McIntosh

This blog was created by Jane McIntosh, E-RYS 500. Jane began her exploration with yoga through suggestions for alleviating her chronic back pain. Amazed at the difference a few postures made, her practice grew serious and her love for yoga philosophy intensified, truly changing her outlook on life. Yoga found its way into all aspects of her life and her heart.  She is currently a lead instructor at LeadingYoga.com teaching online yoga classes and yoga teacher training certification coursework.

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