Monday, May 23, 2005

Think You've Got Shaky Legs? Go Ask Alex

I thought the Kentucky Derby was great! But the Preakness this weekend...absolutely amazing.

After what some news sources called a "miraculous recovery," Afleet Alex went on to win the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown.

If you watched you saw Scrappy T drift into the path Afleet Alex. When their legs tangled Afleet Alex's legs buckled, his head bowed, and he almost fell.

fore-arm balance? Inversions are good. But, I don't recommend this. Posted by Hello

Instead, he stayed on his feet, regained momentum and defeated Scrappy T and Giacomo, the Kentucky Derby winner.

Of course, I was thinking all about yoga when I saw this.

"Why do my legs shake?" That's probably one of the most frequently asked questions I hear from yoga students.

If your legs are as wobbly as Afleet Alex's when you do yoga, it could be the result of any of several factors.

Are you tired? Maybe you've done a good round of standing poses. You may need to take a short, or not-so-short, break before your legs are steadier.

Are you weak? Sometimes events in our daily lives or poor choices sap our strength. Have you had enough sleep? Are you eating properly? Any of these could be at the root of your trembling legs.

But Patanjali, I believe, suggests the best insight into shaky legs. He says in Book 1 of the YogaSutra:
30. Three distractions are accompanied by suffering, frustration, trembling of the body, and irregular breathing.
31. The practice of focusing on the single truth is the means to prevent these distractions. (trans., Barbara Stoler Miller)
Want your legs to stop trembling? Focus on the single truth. The "single truth" he's talking about is tattva, the nature of one reality. I don't know about you, but that's often a big challenge for me.

Good news: Patanjali gives you a bunch of choices after that. He even says you can concentrate on any "suitable object." I suggest you concentrate on your legs.

It was probably 12 years ago when I participated in a week-long yoga vacation with the great Iyengar teacher Patricia Walden. She said that when her legs tremble she sometimes bends forward, looks at her legs, and with a voice full of conviction, she calls out to her legs "stop trembling."

I've tried this. It works. And I think it works because it focuses my mind on one thing.

So if your legs shake it may have nothing to do with your legs and everything to do with a scattered mind. Focus your attention and watch your legs and your whole body settle down. You can have a "miraculous recovery" just like Afleet Alex.

Don't just read about it. Get up. Experience it. Experience yoga!

Kevin Perry

p.s., My mom is still in the hospital. And I've been making some of those poor choices I talked about above like not enough sleep and too much fast food. So I am taking my own advice. I am practicing concentrating on one thing, her miraculous recovery. Please join me! Thanks.

p.p.s., You can refresh your legs and your whole spirit when you get away. I love breaking my routine by vacationing. When I'm on vacation I am out of the habits of every day life. I can see my whole life through a fresh perspective. As I write this now I can recall coming back from two recent vacations and, as a result of a new view I gained, I made major changes in my life. As you plan your vacation this summer, consider looking even farther forward to 2006. Sallie Keeney and I will be hosting a group of yogis at Hotel Lagunita in Yelapa Mexico, February 18-25. Yoga, vacationing, foreign travel and unmatched natural beauty are a combination that are unmatched. Find out more at I will admit this: your legs will be shaky after you get off of the 40-minute water taxi ride from Puerto Villarta to Yelapa. It's the only way to get there.

Copyright 2005. All rights reserved, Mo Yoga LLC.


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