I successfully held crow pose for five-ish breaths today–the first time I was actually able to stay in the pose until the instructor gave us the next one. Progress, hooray! When I see people doing crow in photos (like the one above), I always think the pose looks so cool, but I hardly feel that graceful when I’m attempting it. 😉 Nevertheless, only a week or two ago I could barely hold it, and today I could, which feels pretty miraculous.
I’m reminded of a quote that appeared in an issue of Yoga Journal:
“Yoga is a powerful vehicle for change.
As you build strength, you start to believe in your own potential.”
ㅡ Tiffany Cruikshank
Yoga teaches us that we can do things that at first seem impossible.
Of course, yoga also teaches us humility. One day you might be rockin’ the hell out of crow pose, the next day you might fall on your face when you try it. Or you might nail one pose and then struggle in the next one.
The only thing that really matters is that we’re practicing. This idea translates to life in general too: the thing that really matters is just that we’re living. We’re moving forward, we’re doing what we can–which looks wildly different for different people at different times of their lives. We’re failing, and every so often, we’re succeeding–all because of our willingness to fail first.
A note: Just in case anyone is reading this and thinking, “Ugh. She’s so corny and disgustingly optimistic. I could never be like that. I’m just not that kind of person.” I’ve been you many, many times. And because those times discouraged me, I’d like to clarify that I don’t always feel this way. I only reinvigorated my practice about two months ago after a bout with depression (during which I only had an occasional at-home practice), and there have been many days I stepped onto my mat and thought, “This sucks.” There have been moments I became caught up in “can do/can’t do” (for example, “I can’t do side crow at all, therefore I’m terrible at yoga, and I don’t have the right body type, and the world is an asshole”) and wanted to quit. There have been practices when I felt worse afterward than I did before. I often feel angry, sad, embarrassed, anxious, especially with so much going on in my life right now. But somehow, with the help of my yoga practice, I’ve been able to have moments when I feel like I am capable and powerful and worthy.
So, if anyone like me happens to come across this, I’m saying this for both of us: Keep going.