“How do you keep your feet on the ground when you know that you were born to fly?”
– Darrell Scott
Today, in yoga class, I flew. I wasn’t expecting that. In fact, a few things were not going as expected.
When I walked into class this morning, there was a substitute teacher instead of my typical instructor. Years ago, this would have made me very anxious: What are they going to make me do? Are they going to make me pair up with someone and do scary inversions? Are they going to make me try a handstand? I really, really hope not. This time, my brain did a very unexpected thing. It said:
Oooh, someone new. I wonder what she will do. I hope she kicks our asses.
And you know what? She did. I didn’t know there were so many versions of vashistasana! And I did them all. I might have actually been smiling. It was the weirdest freaking thing. Yo, G, I thought you hated vashistasana! Guess not!
Now wait, here’s the weirdest thing – we were in a chair pose, then we folded over, and she told us to put our left hand in between our legs and then twist to the right. Ok… Wrap your right arm behind your back. Ok… Slide your left hand under your leg and bind your hands together. Ok…
At this point, I’m folded over with my arms circling my left leg. Can you picture it? BTW, I don’t suggest you try this at home, especially without a warmup!
Then, she said, “Float your left leg off the ground and stand up for bird of paradise.”
Umm… Yeah…“Float” has to be my least favorite yoga term. They all say “float” and make it sound so easy. She wants me to do what? Lift my left leg? Seriously? Seriously.
Anyway, I’m not good enough for that.
But then, another strong voice came into my head and said, “Yes, you are.”
I’m not strong enough for that.
The strong voice insisted, “Yes, you are.”
I can’t do that.
“You haven’t even tried. Just try. Try.”
So, I lifted my left leg. As it came off the ground, I stared at it in glee.
Oh my god, I’m doing it.
I felt a turning point of tension, and then continued to watch my leg as I stood all the way up.
Oh my god, I did it. I’m freaking doing it.
Then, I looked around the room. My leg was bent, and several others were straightened.
Hmmm… maybe this isn’t enough. I’ll try to straighten mine too.
And then, I fell out of the pose. The minute I tried to compare myself with someone else, I totally fell out of the pose with a clumsy dismount!
To my surprise, I laughed. I knew what I had done. I caught it, and I stuck my tongue out at myself, and did the whole thing again on the other side, except I kept my leg bent and managed to stay upright and even come out of the pose with a little grace.
And you know what? That’s what the whole process needed: a little grace.
I gave myself a little grace instead of beating myself up. I gave myself a little grace and decided to believe I was strong. I gave myself a little grace and decided to laugh when I fumbled.
These days, I am getting so much better at giving myself a little grace.
Beautiful reader, the next time you think you aren’t good enough to do what you want to do, give yourself some grace. Believe that it might be possible. If you haven’t tried, try. If you fail, laugh. If you compare yourself to others, catch it and come back to center.
Stay, with grace, on your own side. Have your own back. Try. You might be surprised to find out that sometimes, when you least expect it, you can fly.