Every now and then, you have to lean forward into your arms, and trust your body. For years, I looked at other yoga students in awe as they moved their body through inversions in a controlled, smooth manner.
Over the past three years the excuses have changed and evolved, just as my level of fitness has changed.
“I can never do that. I’m too heavy.”
“I don’t have strong enough abs.”
“My arms are too weak.”
“I can’t risk injuring myself before the marathon.”
Three weeks ago, when I took my first Strala Yoga class I realized that I didn’t know a single person in the class other than Melissa. My relationship with Melissa is one of complete trust. She’s seen me at my worst points of a 26.2 mile run and my best moments during our three years of friendship. Feeling at peace and free of judgment, I asked the teacher ahead of class if we were going to do any inversion work.
“Would you like us to focus on it towards the end.”
My response was one of someone who felt unsure, self conscious, and embarrassed.
“Well, I know I can’t do it but I want to start trying.”
In a calm and easing voice he stated what I always knew. He explained that yoga teachers are there to assist and aid students. He, and every yoga teacher since, has happily assisted me for at least a few minutes during class in my inversion practice, as long as I’ve asked them in advance.
From that moment on, I’ve spent at least 30 minutes each week, both in and out of yoga class, practicing my headstand. Much to my mother’s dismay, I spent time in our small New York apartment practicing even though I risked falling into our sofa, TV, or damaging our freshly painted walls.
Tonight, for the first time, I had the confidence to attempt every move during class, including a side crow and headstand. While other students moved to the side of the room for wall aide, I said a prayer, bowed my head between my clasped hands, and talked myself through the movements.
It wasn’t a dream.
Tonight I finally reached a milestone in my yoga practice and now, more than ever, am looking forward to the next.
Side crow, I’m coming for you next.