Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Fall from Grace

I fell flat on my face....Again. I am speaking literally, although I have fallen many times metaphorically along my rocky and sometimes rutted life path. Most of the time I have popped back up like some sort of crazed jack-in-the-box, dusted myself off and started all over again. Today I don't think it's possible for me to pop back anything (except maybe the cap to the bottle of ibuprofen).

It's Yoga's fault. Just after class last night (as I nursed a bruised nose and ego) I wanted to blame my well-intentioned teacher. But I now realize she's the innocent bystander here. The fault lies purely in the ancient practice of Yoga - the bringing together of mind, body and spirit. A practice that has included handstands, of all things, within its asana.

Within an hour of ranting (to myself) about the insanity of throwing feet over head at age 43 and vowing to never again put myself in such a position ever again, I took a deep breath and attempted to put it in perspective. That was a no go. All I could see during my hour and a half alignment class was a blissfully happy group of 20-somethings gleefully tossing their bodies into the air and flowing from pose to pose as I grunted and growled hoping it would end sooner than later.

I pushed. (There's not supposed to be any pushing in yoga). That realization hit me this morning at 3 a.m. along with the shooting pain in my shoulder. I thought, "What the (bleep) am I supposed to be learning here?" Then the light dawned - I'd broken the rules. All of them. And it was my own dad gum fault.

Basically yoga's teachings are pretty simple:
1) Breathe.
2) Follow what your body is telling you.
3) Rest between poses.
4) Don't compete with anyone (even yourself).
5) Never give up, just give in when you need to.

I broke every one of those rules. I made all the beginner mistakes and I've been practicing seriously for a while now. I held my breath hoping it would end. I didn't listen to my body when it cried out to give myself a break. I berated myself between poses, compared myself to college co-eds and decided at the end I would NEVER EVER try handstands again.

The little voice in my head is laughing now. Telling me not to take it all so seriously. It's a practice, not a perfect. It's when we encounter the unknown (or seemingly un do-able) that we close ourselves off to the possibilities.

So, what am I going to do? During my home practice today I am going to prop myself up against the wall and try a handstand again. I am going to keep trying one every day until I can do it. Patience will be my mantra. And knowing there's an ibuprofen waiting if I fall....

1 comment:

  1. Well, some teacher I am. I missed that struggle completely. What I saw was an amazing and beautiful yogini with awesomely straight arms working her way up into a pose that not many people can do. Oh, and FYI the twenty year olds also have a long way to go.
    love, melissa

    ps. I love your books and I love your blog!!