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The Gifts of Transitions

8.20.15 | By: Callie Tahat

Happy Thursday Big Rock Yoga ComUNITY! I’ve always considered August to be a transitional month—school starts, the season for summer fruits and vegetables wanes etc… Of course, we are always in a constant state of transition. Each second passes the baton to the next second which then becomes a minute, an hour and so forth. Sometimes there are transitions in life which are felt more than others. This August our little Big Rock community has celebrated the birth of Wendy’s grandson as well as embraced and supported those of us suffering physical and/or emotional trials and sicknesses. All of these events are a transition from one state of being to another. These types of significant moments in life encourage us, for better or for worse, to realize the transitions happening around and within us.

This past week, I have been more aware of the transitions both subtle and big that are happening in my life. Not only am I developing, and coming into my identity as a yoga teacher, but I am also enjoying my third month of married life and am beginning graduate school. While I was teaching class on Tuesday morning, I suddenly became aware of how many times I was saying “halfway lift.” All of us yogi’s know this pose. It’s one of those poses that we go through mindlessly while doing Sun A’s and Sun B’s and throughout class. (Inhale rise to mountain pose, exhale forward fold, inhale HALFWAY LIFT, exhale forward fold, inhale HALFWAY LIFT, hands to the mat flow through.) I was surprised how little thought I had given to this pose both as a student and as a teacher. So, for today’s blog, I’d like to give this little pose the attention it deserves.

Halfway lift, or Ardha Uttanasana in sanskrit, is a transitional pose in the sequence. The breakdown of the sankrit word is
    "Ardha" — meaning "half"
    "Ut" — meaning "intense"
    "Tan" — meaning "to stretch"
    "Asana" — meaning “pose"
Let’s spend some time considering how the name of this pose not only helps us with our transitions in yoga, but also in life.
“Ardha” or “half” reminds us that transitions are not complete or whole. By their nature, transitions are halfway between one destination or state of being and the next. Transitions are not complete or whole and it is natural not to feel complete or whole while going through a transition. While half of something is not nearly as satisfying as a whole of something, we should have optimism about what is ahead while we are halfway on our journey.
“Ut” or “intense” refers to the intensity of transitions. Just as the earth goes through cycles of intense geographical transformation as different elements transfer from one form to another, we might also experience intense feelings, pressure, and resistance through our transitions. We shouldn’t be discouraged by intensity, instead, we should be proud that our Creator considers us strong enough to handle the intensity of transformation.
“Tan” or “stretch” reminds me of expansion that transition creates. Transition requires that we expand beyond one place in order to connect with next. As we stretch our physical and emotional body, we seek to create space.

The halfway lift pose or “Ardha Uttanasana” offers us so much understanding about the transitions in our life. I hope that as we continue to move through our yoga journey and beyond, we embrace transitions and the gifts they offer.

All Good Things,