The Peak Pose – Sell Yourself a Little Short This Year

I used to think that yoga was about stretching on the mat, just letting go, and those cute little pants with matching tops.  But apparently not; it’s about life.Several years ago my teacher, Amy Ippoliti, suggested that I choose a peak pose to practice for the upcoming year.  Up to then, a peak pose was what I watched everyone else do near the end of a class.  I did not even consider that I would do one myself – even if I had a full year to practice it.Picking a peak pose for your year is a lot like choosing what it is you want out of life.  Way back then, Amy suggested that I choose Handstand, and not hauling it up to a wall, but doing it in the center of the room.  Rigggghhhhht!  And why not marry George Clooney while I’m at it.But still, the thought nagged at me.  Because when you pick a peak pose, you are choosing a map for your destiny.  When you choose wisely, as in life, dreams come true.  So I gave it a lot of thought, and I came up with Bhujangasana, Cobra pose. WTF?That is because Cobra pose is such a basic pose that we teach it in our first sequences for beginners. If you have half a brain, you should know this pose by your second class. However, knowing it, and doing it well are two completely different things.  I had gone so far and so fast in my practice that I realized what I really needed was to go back to the beginning and re-learn my basics. And so, Cobra it was.How to pick your peak pose

  • As with best friends, lovers and luggage, choose wisely. This pose is going to be with you 2 or 3 times a day.  In many ways, your peak pose will always be with you.  Even after you achieved it the effort lives as an accomplishment in your heart.
  • Go big or go small. For me, Cobra was the right choice.  It was a stepping stone to much more on my mat.  However, I have also chosen poses over the years that were a big reach for me and so rewarding when I got them, like Kapotasana and Padangustha Dhanurasana.  Choose the pose that will do the most for you at this time.
  • Ask a friend.  If you cannot decide then ask a friend or your teacher for advice.  They may see something in your practice where you are stuck or struggle.  But do not ask your spouse.  My husband tells me every year that my peak pose should involve making dinner.
  • Don’t necessarily go for success.  Some say you should achieve about 40% of your dreams.  I’m more about 60%.  And then there are just some days where I hope I can be successful at something for goodness sakes.  Pick a pose you will not achieve the first time you try it, but one you might have a good shot at if you work it for a year.
  • Most importantly, have fun.  Picking a peak pose is like choosing a dream to come true.  I used to think my peak pose was about accomplishing something on the mat. But apparently not; it’s about life.

Michelle Berman Marchildon is the Yogi Muse.  She’s the author of “Finding More on the Mat,” a yoga memoir available in January from