High Five Poses

I have a list of asanas in my head that I would like to do on my mat - sometime during my lifetime.

Some of these are poses that I am not even close to being ready to attempt. Others are ones that I patiently work at a few times a week, or once a month, or when I feel the urge.

Among these poses: scissors, handstand in the middle of the room, splits (I am on year 2 of the 15 year plan for that one), dolphin strut, and maybe 20 others.

One of the most awesome things about our yoga practice is that we will never master it all. It is not about winning or achieving, it is more about building - strength, connection, and movement. Landing fun poses becomes the bonus.

I don't have too much of an obsession about any one pose. When I say that I can be patient - I mean it. I actually do love the journey to get to a pose. It makes the peak of being there that much more amazing. I am fairly certain that I will not be climbing Mt. Everest in my lifetime, but when I finally rock out handstand in the middle of the room - it is going to feel like the summit to me.

In taking stock of the past few months, it has actually been a great summer for progressing in poses: archer, interlock, and even a few inches in scissors. Not to mention feeling so much better in eagle and camel. It has been a great reminder that patience - and practice - win the day in poses, not pushing and forcing.

But sometimes, you randomly find your way (with help) into a pretty awesome place.

Today, I landed a pose that I had never really had on any list. In fact, I had to look it up in Light on Yoga when I got home to identify the name of the pose:


I found my way into this pose only after telling Pete that I did not believe I was flexible enough yet. I also privately and publicly blamed my new kick-asana Lulu pants for being too slippery. Clearly, I had reached the bottom of my excuse barrel.

Are you getting frustrated? Pete asked.

I was not, but I was dripping in sweat and honestly was willing to let this one go until the next time it was taught in class. This crazy pose was not even on my asana bucket list.

But there Pete was - to make sure I did not give up.  You know what makes a great teacher in yoga? Someone who can talk you into believing in yourself and talk you into the pose - all with just watching and words. I can only imagine how a teacher wants to grab a student and put them in an arm balance. But the truth is, the individual has to make the mind and body fire together - the teacher can only lead a student down the path and wait.

And all of the sudden - there I was - in Astavakrasana of all places.

It was probably ten seconds of holding the pose, just long enough for the audible YAY to fly out of my mouth as I realized I was actually in it.

I looked up as I dropped out of the pose, Pete's hand raised for the high five.

For those who think that yoga is not a team effort - I assure you that it can be.

There are times and places for me in a personal practice. I feel the need for it more and more as I get stronger. But days like today are why class practice is so unbelievably important to me. Sometimes, I can't see that I am ready - or that the potential is there in a pose. As it turns out, I am flexible enough. I am strong enough. And my yoga pants are operating just fine.

We all need little pushes in life.

And I may not obsess over poses, but I hate to be a one-hit wonder. Guess what pose just got added to the lifetime list?

Trying to recreate the pose in my bedroom after class...I'll get it again soon!

In gratitude for teachers who know when to push, so we can fly.