Transitions: The Space between the Poses

Written by Carmela Cattuti.

The transition between postures is a nebulous space. It is similar to the end of an exhale where we completely let go and embrace the next breath. The full expression of a pose comes from the pause within the transitional space. It is said that the pause at the end of an exhale holds wisdom and knowledge. It is also true about the space between the poses; it is a pithy passage way full of information about our practice and life, but we need to remain present within the transition.

raised hands pose

Transitions are connectors or bridges to the bigger picture. When we emerge from the transitional space we create our full expression of the pose. How we treat the passage way to the end result is reflective of how we move through life. Is it just a means to an end or do we approach the transition with as much enthusiasm and awareness as the postures? How we engage the passage way between postures is as important as the posture; it shows us how we feel about the process and process, and process is all there is.

For example, when we move from downward dog to high lunge does our energy drop? Do we slam our foot near our hand or do we purposefully place our foot down with awareness? When we jump from downward dog to forward bend, do we lift our hips and abdominal muscles, lift both legs, and lightly place both feet between our hands? If we cannot make these transitions lightly and with awareness, we need to be humble enough to do a modifications. A transition to be aware of is from lunge to warrior II. The knee needs to be placed over the ankle; if it is too far forward or behind the knee injury occurs.

How we approach transitions in yoga reveals how we approach those undefined, ambiguous areas in our lives. If we do not use our abdominal muscles when moving from downward dog to lunge, we lack strength and grounding. We need to notice how we handle changes and transitions in our our lives and use tools that support us. Do we embrace the process and experience a smooth transition to the bigger picture or do we muddle through hoping to reach the end result without experiencing the process?

If a life change happens we need to be present and aware of our response. Our response will most likely involve a series of states (anger, sadness, joy) we call process. The same is true of a yoga practice. We need to be present to our individual process. So the next time you practice, pay attention to how you move from pose to pose, especially if you are doing a vinyasa yoga. Vinyasa practice involves many transitional states and is perfect for refining that passage way to the next pose. When we refine our transitional movement we learn to fluidly move through the little annoyances in life with grace and ease.


Combining over twenty-five years of yoga study with thirty years of professional nursing experience, Carmela Cattuti offers students a unique and effective teaching style. Having studied extensively at the Iyengar Center and achieving instructor certification at the noted Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, Carmela provides in-depth yoga instruction to both men and women for reducing stress and harnessing one's full capabilities of body, mind, and spirit.

She received her nursing training from New York Hospital for Special Surgery and went on to complete her undergraduate degree at City College of New York where she graduated cum laude. She received an MA in English Literature from Boston College and went onto be a journalist for the Somerville News.

Her writing is now focused on yoga and spirituality.

Carmela's specialty is working with corporations to create a gentle yoga atmosphere where all employees can participate. She also specializes in working with clients in private sessions. Carmela is also an artist with a focus on creating commissions for private homes and businesses - yoga combined with creativity is now her focus. She has published in Sacred Pathways Magazine and Diet & Fitness Magazine.

Related Links