Oh, it has been a lovely few days over here in Vitadventureland.
Despite the late March snow storm that pummeled through Denver the last 24 hours. This morning, I woke up to a
spring winter wonderland- Mother Nature’s cruel reminder that the vernal equinox a few days ago was just a teaser- it’s still winter. Gus and I attempted to take a morning walk without snow shoes. This was a comical event.
But the snow was actually beautiful and peaceful- and a perfect time to reflect and be all pensive- which I was.
Yesterday afternoon I taught my second yoga class at work. I would give it a solid B. I could have done better- the biggest thing I need to work on is my articulation and clarity of instruction. But the roomful of patients didn’t seem to mind and thanked me by asking when I would be teaching again- that’s always a decent sign, right?
But the one piece of feedback that really made my heart swell came as the last patient left the room- she turned back to me and said,
“What I really appreciated about that class was that you smiled the whole time.”
Now THAT, my friends, made my day. I didn’t even know I was smiling the entire time I was teaching- not a clue.
But it reminded me of the importance of doing what makes you happy- emotionally, physically and spiritually. If you follow your bliss, you naturally radiate smiles- from the inside out. And frankly, the world needs more smiles.
And speaking of smiles, I had another reason to turn the corners of my mouth up later this afternoon in YTT.
We were learning the seated postures and sequencing. Pretty basic stuff. But the final pose was full lotus. Most people groaned, made some disparaging remarks along the lines of “my body doesn’t move that way” and chose to take a bathroom break or check their cell phones. Which is what I usually do.
Ah, full lotus. The asana that everyone, yogi or non-yogi, associates with the word “yoga”. Because all yogis sit around in this state of contemplative bliss- no big deal, right? Wrong.
I’ve been practicing yoga for 11 years. But I’m not remotely flexible. Wrapping my body into strange postures has never been my thing.
I really did some damage to my quads, hamstrings, knees and hips with hard-core cardio and running years ago– basically, overexercise from which my body is still recovering. Every time I’ve attempted lotus or half lotus, my knees and quads laugh at me.
“Silly girl,” they whisper, “we don’t move that way.”
And I’ve been OK with that story. I’ve respected it. I’ve never been one to force my body into a pose that I don’t believe it is capable of achieving.
But today, I figured, “oh, what the hell, I know I can at least do half lotus.” So I threw a leg into half lotus and hung out. I started to move into what I know is the PREP for full lotus with my other leg and then stopped and laughed at myself.
I looked up and my fellow trainee Jonathan was watching me. He smiled and motioned with his hand-
“Do it!!!” He grinned. I grinned back and mouthed, “I can’t, never have, never will- my legs don’t bend that way!”
And literally, as I locked eyes with him and said those words, I slipped my other foot onto my thigh and I was in full lotus.
“Holy Shit!” I said out loud.
If that doesn’t get a roomful of yogis to quiet, I’m not sure what else will. Profanity in the yoga studio? Everyone turned back to me and began applauding. Someone even said “That looks beautiful!!!” I turned bright red.
“Holy shit!” I said again, “Someone take of picture of this quick- it’s never happened before!”
Everyone started laughing. I started laughing. While full lotus may be no big deal to some of you bendy-flexy people, for me, it was a big deal.
What I found so humorous was the discrepancy between what my body told me and what my mind said. For 11 years, I’ve had a story that I’ll never be that yogi who sits in full lotus. “My legs don’t bend that way” was my story. I believed that story 100%. I believed that story so much that I told it to my fellow trainee. (PS- thanks Jonathan- had you not told me to do it, I would have never tried)
But for some reason today, my body had a different experience in mind. It didn’t need to listen to my mind’s bullshit. It didn’t KNOW “I can’t”.
So if I can relay anything to you today of importance, it’s this:
Ask yourself what stories you believe to be true about yourself. What basis do you have for these stories? Because often times, our minds lie- but our experience does not. And if we start to trust our experience rather than our mind, we create a new story, based in truth.
Simply put- don’t believe everything you think