During every yoga class, there are certain pose that you just know that you cannot do, and you hope that you can do them one day. For me, so far it’s the plow pose and the crow pose. I know the plow pose is comparatively easy – it’s the one where you basically lift your legs up and then bend it over your head to touch the ground behind your head. For some reason, I’m just terrified of doing it, because I’m sure my neck is going to break if I do it. So, I lift my legs up and then I start bending them backwards as well, but then I stop, and my legs just hover in the air for a while.
The second one is the much feared crow-pose. This one I’m not so terrified of, but my arms are still too weak to lift my body up properly. First time, I did it, I was terrified of even lifting myself up, and I remember my arms got a little bruised as well. But, now I can lift myself for exactly a second before I plop back on the ground again. That’s still something, and I’m determined to keep trying till I get that pose right.
Oh, and then there’s the headstand of course. That terrifies me as well. I’m sure my head is going to crack if I try to do it. So, when we had to do that in class, once again, I lifted my legs and just stayed in that awkward position for a while, before the yoga instructor said we were done. I’ve decided that the headstand is going to come after I learn the plow and crow pose. However, all of these poses have forced me to challenge my body’s flexibility and get me out of my comfort zone. All these while, I felt that I was reasonably healthy, because I go to the gym and I swim every once in a while. However, yoga has forced me to accept that my flexibility needs some serious work.
Now, the point of recounting these embarrassing snippets from my yoga classes is that along with improving my health, these simple poses have actually helped me come face-to-face with some of my fears in real life. Growing up, I was quite adventurous, but lately I’ve become a little cautious in my daily activities. I think that’s the case with most people. As children, we’re just more carefree, and as we become adults, our mind just creates constraints which don’t really exist. To retain that childlike spontaneity, sometimes we need to just push ourselves a little more.
Getting back to yoga has really started helping me expand my perspective. Pushing myself to stretch my legs just a little more in yoga class has somehow translated into helping me take that one step more to push myself out of my comfort-zone. Whether it’s about throwing my slippers off and running barefoot in the dirt, or about getting myself wet and muddy in the rain or even about trying some exotic food, I’ve learnt to shed off some of my rigid rules.
I also tend to worry a lot about little things. Yoga has helped me think more about the task at hand and focus on getting that done, before thinking of something which is going to happen next month. I kind of understand where that comes from. Even during yoga class, when we’re focusing on holding our body in a particular pose, we tend to just forget about everything else, and just think about how our limbs are coming together to help our body form that pose. I think this way of thinking and focusing on the immediate task is really important, and something which has helped me stop worrying in general about the future.
All-in-all, yoga so far has been a real mind-opener, and helped me change some of the ways I think about life in general. So far, it’s been good just letting go and being in the moment. I’m thinking of combining my new-found love for yoga and travel to try out some of the yoga retreats. Let’s see how that goes!