Have you ever seen someone do something that takes balance, strength, and perseverance and you just straight up thought to yourself “wow, that looks soooo cool, but I could NEVER do that!” Yeah, me too. And I still do a lot of the time. But, I have come so far in just a few 6 months! It’s all about krama, or as I like to refer to it, baby steps. Krama is way different from Karma, and very important to have in the back of your mind during your yoga practice! Especially during a Vinyasa Flow. If you’re stressed out from watching YouTube videos and seeing glamorous insta shots of these gorgeous woman or men in crazy poses, listen up! They didn’t start there boo, I promise! Shut it off, and focus your energy inward on where you are today. Accept it, and make a commitment to progress. That is the first krama to being the best version of you!
In yoga, ‘kramas’ are sometimes referred to as the steps or building blocks to more advanced yoga poses. You don’t start out with a block castle, you start with one single block. I like to look at it like cairns, you don’t start with a beautiful rock stack full of energy when you start…you put energy into each rock you pick up, and you create that beautiful masterpiece from the ground up.
I like to start with more sukha (ease) than sthira (effort), and then work my way up to the more advanced poses.
Here are some examples:
1. Toward the beginning of your sequence you can do a supine figure four position, toward the middle you work your way into a standing figure four position, and then at the end you can incorporate Pigeon Pose within your cool down.
2. You can incorporate 3 sun salutation variations, that first round coming into low lunge, the second round coming into high lunge, and the 3rd round coming into high lunge and making you way into Warrior III.
These are just a few ideas, but their are tons!
Meaning and History
Krama is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘stage of revolution.’ I have also seen it referred to as ‘succession’ or the ‘step by step process to realization.”
Krama was one of the schools of Kashmir Shavism, with teachings that ‘one level unlocks the next,’ in a nutshell.
Look At It Like This
Kramas are the steps to yoga that get you to the next round or level. Think of it like a video game. Once you’ve passed the level that you havetried over 100 times to complete, you unlock the next.
And let me tell you, it feels SO good. You get the overwhelming sense of accomplishment, and that is a feeling most people strive for.
This feeling can apply in your yoga practice, too. In fact, a yoga practice is much more empowering and insightful for most!
Yoga was my gateway to feeling empowered. And not just on a physical level, but a mental and spiritual level as well, through meditation and pranayama. I’m telling you, this stuff opens pathways within you that you could never imagine possible!
I can now do CROW POSE. Something I NEVER thought I’d be able to do. I started with baby push ups and side plank. Through that tough but very important strengthening and balance building, I accomplished it.
Although it seemed like an unattainable goal, I broke it down into smaller steps, and it became reachable.
It took a lot of hard work a perseverance, but I did it!
As Nelson Mandala said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
You all know the story of the tortoise and the hare, right? The hare doesn’t win the race.
Start slow, and don’t be hard on yourself. And even if you are advanced, it’s always good to ease into your practice. It will help avoid injury down the road!
If you are constantly working on improving your practice, you will shy away from comparing yourself to others, and understand where you are right now is exactly where you need to be.
If you look at the book Light On Yoga (affiliate link) by B.K.S. Iyengar, you will see him in poses that are nearly impossible. You may never get THERE one day (nor would you want to, some of that stuff is just plain unnatural) but as long as you practice consistently, you will get much further than you are right now.
Win The Race
With consistency and kramas, your practice will transform.
Take baby steps to yoga, and remember above all…breath. 🙂
Article Mini Glossary
Krama: baby steps to yoga
Vinyasa: a type of yoga that synchronizes breath a movement
Sukha: ease, or comfort within a pose
Stirha: effort to be stable within a pose
Supine: laying on your back
Sun salutations: a series of yoga poses that flow with your breath
Pranayama: breathing techniques
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