Why do airplane when you can do deep airplane?
Maybe because you wanna pull out a cheap trick and rest on your laurels?
Let me be honest and say that because I'm a bit hyper flexible in my spine, it looks like I'm doing something more impressive, but actually this just easier because of my anatomy. For me, this pose is a cop-out. This "deep airplane" or warrior III (virabhadrasana III) variation may look less exciting than the "balancing stick" pose we normally see, but the one I'm in here suits the hypermobility in my back. I have to use A LOT more strength to keep this overextension in check when I try to keep my body and leg parallel to the ground. One of the most important lessons my yoga teacher training has taught me is that at the end of the day, a lot of your practice is due to your anatomy. No matter how long you stretch into a pose trying to relieve what you think is tension, you can't release the compression of bone meeting bone or change your proportions. Yes, I work hard at this pose, and every other pose for that matter, during my practice, but a lot of it is just that I happen to be built for it. And there are just as many, if not more poses that I'll never be able to do to their fullest extent because my body just can't get there. And that's ok. Yoga has taught me humility and acceptance. I no longer get discouraged when I look around and see other practitioners in guillotine (firefly b or tittibhasana b) with straight legs. I just accept that my body's not ready to do that today and may never be. Instead, I focus on how far I've come and how grateful I am to be exactly where I am.
Anywho, back to deep airplane. It's important to establish parallel (even just momentarily) as you make your way into the deeper version of this pose in order to keep your hips level, but the most important thing is that you keep your weight forward in the toes! Don't forget to pull up the thigh muscles, point the toes to extend energy from the crown of the head all the way to the foot and to engage your core (hay uddiyana bandha). One day (or never) the stomach may be on the thigh and turn into standing splits, but for now, wherever you are, just enjoy the view.
I'll be teaching airplane and deep airplane along with a bunch of others at Fierce Grace North this August, dates and times below:
Wednesday 3 August: 17:00 - 18:30 Fierce Grace class
Thursday 4 August: 10:15 - 11:45 Classic class
Saturday 6 August: 10:15 - 11:45 Classic class
Wednesday 10 August: 17:00 - 18:30 Fierce Grace class
Wednesday 17 August: 17:00 - 18:30 Fierce Grace class
Thursday 18 August: 10:15 - 11:45 Classic class
Wednesday 24 August: 17:00 - 18:30 Fierce Grace class
Monday 29 August: 17:00 - 18:30 Fierce Grace class
Wednesday 31 August: 17:00 - 18:30 Fierce Grace class