Which Definition of Formidable Will You Choose?

Which Definition of Formidable Will You Choose?

As part of my yoga teacher training, I must observe different yoga classes. Some classes I focus in on the teacher and how the class is being taught, but others I have to focus in on the students and how they move within the class.

For my first yoga observation class focusing on how the students move, I sat in the back of an advanced teacher led class. “Advanced Teacher Led” means that everyone in the class has an established practice and in this class the peak poses are usually ones that you wouldn’t normally do in a Yoga 1 class. So don’t be totally scared off from yoga based on the pose I’m about to describe! Haha

At the introduction to class, my teacher explained that today’s peak pose was something she hadn’t done in forever and wanted to help us all revisit it. It was a back bending pose, but what was really intriguing about the pose was the name of it. Ganda Bherundasana. Translated into English is Formidable Face Pose.

Ganda Bherundasana Iyengar's full expression of the pose from Light on Yoga
Ganda Bherundasana Iyengar’s full expression of the pose from Light on Yoga

Ganda Bherundasana aka Formidable Face Pose


What I loved about the pose was my teacher’s explanation of it.

Formidable has 2 different meanings

1. Causing fear, apprehension, or dread; of discouraging or awesome strength, size, difficulty, etc.; intimidating

2. Arousing feelings of awe or admiration because of grandeur, strength,etc.; of great strength; forceful; powerful

And to accomplish this pose you could look at it in either one of the two ways. But even more than that, this explanation made me realize that this really is true about life in general!

A Formidable Life

When we’re faced with a difficult task, whether it’s an illness, a bad grade on a test, a failed project, or attempting a yoga pose that we may think is beyond our reach . . . we have the opportunity to look at it in either good or bad light. Sure, there are negative things in our lives that we experience everyday. Sometimes we’re in control of the situation and others we have absolutely no control over it. What we DO have control over is our outlook and attitude towards it. Letting go of the heavy ‘stuff’ and attempting to focus in on the positive can truly help shift our lives.

Isn’t it amazing how it seems that the hardest tasks we’ve been faced with seemingly end up helping to shape up in the end?

I was just observing the class, therefore I didn’t have the opportunity to attempt the post that day, but after watching everyone really give their best effort to achieve it, I knew I had to try it.

Here’s my attempt! Full of modifications galore.

And just like in yoga, there are so many props and modifications we can make to help us deal with difficult situations in life. Using some blocks might make a pose more accessible on our mat, but by pulling out a mindfulness meditation or by refocusing our efforts on something that can help put us in a positive mood, we can help make a situation more accessible and tolerable in real life.

Life is all about balance and it can seem like a three-ring circus trying to balance out both parts of the formidable definition in our own lives.

So, beautiful spoonie, I ask you… Today which definition of formidable will you choose?

Wishing You A Pain Free Day!

Julie Cerrone | Spoonie, Autoimmune Warrior, Certified Holistic Health Coach, DoTerra Wellness Advocate, 200 RYT Trainee, Reiki 1, Nutrition Geek, ePatient Advocate, IT Consultant, Pittsburgh Based Practitioner Living the Chronic Life