Tiriang Mukhottanasana (Intense Upside-Down Face Pose) registers as 60* on BKS Iyengar’s 60* scale of difficulty in Light on Yoga.
Finally, near the very end of Light on Yoga, we get to see what BKS Iyengar means by 60* out of 60* difficulty! Holy smokes, this really is the ultimate challenge!
Urdhva Dhanurasana is the first step towards preparing for Tiriang Mukhottanasa. Once you’re comfortable in Urdhva Dhanurasana, you turn your toes slightly out, then walk your hands towards your feet until, maybe someday, your hands and feet touch. Then, you take it one step further and walk your hands onto your shins. Wowza.
I am nowhere near ready for this pose right now! So, instead I work on a narrow Urdhva Dhanurasana – walking my hands towards my feet as much as I comfortably can. With time and practice, my hands will crawl closer to my feet, but I don’t push myself any farther than my body enjoys. Tiriang Mukhottanasana highlights the importance of exploring a pose only to your personal edge – and not focusing too much on the end goal. The ultimate goal on your mat is to be fully present to the unique experience of your embodiment, and to celebrate and savor every second of it.