When I came onto my mat for the first time and heard the class begin with the beautiful sound of three Om’s, immediately, I knew that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. Slightly overwhelmed with the intensity, as I was not an exercise person – leaving with a feeling of being alive and completely excited about what I was able to do and how I felt, I couldn’t wait to get to the next class. I started with the ‘Intro Series’ because I thought it would be less intimidating, I had never practiced yoga nor knew anything about it, the eight class commitment was something I felt completely comfortable about making and needless to say, I have not looked back since! My life on my mat has become a symbol to me.
I love symbolism and metaphors, they bring me comfort, help me to make sense of things, seeing how they relate to my life. What is the lesson that I should be learning when I find a particular situation in my life stressful, or the meaning of the beautiful white butterflies that were sent to me today? I completely recognize, from what I refer to as the human part of myself that they are just symbols and metaphors, but my Spiritual side knows they have special meaning. This is the world that I choose to live in . . . no coincidences; everything happens for a reason, law of attraction, Spirit is there to guide us, a little esoteric but as I get older I find it easier to allow myself the freedom to just be.
Deep down, I struggle with a fear of not being good or smart enough . . . I find my thoughts creating stories, reasons and excuses for why I shouldn’t even try certain things in my life. Just like being a teenager who is terrified of trying out for a sports team because they might not make the cut. I was terrified of yoga, but as I continued to practice I realized I can do more than I think I can do.
One day I found myself in a class where they were practicing handstands… All I could think about was once I was able to nail that handstand, I would no longer be afraid. In my world that translated to mean I would no longer have that fear of not being good or smart enough. Truly a metaphor, however, I honestly believed that all my fear and doubt about things in my life would disappear!
During an inversion workshop, after a good yoga flow practice that included a little additional core work, up against the wall we went! Here I go – I am going to get this . . . 3rd try, 4th and YES! I finally did it! I nailed the handstand – getting up by myself up against the wall! This was monumental . . . I am here . . . I did it . . . look at me . . . yeah!!!! Wait, I still feel scared, isn’t this interesting. Dismissing the thought quickly, Okay . . . was that just luck or can I repeat it? Let me see, once again I am able to get up – this time on my 2nd attempt. In my handstand feeling ever so strong, I noticed that those voices were the reasons why I was not able to do this earlier in my life. Don’t get me wrong, the voices were still there running through my head as to why I am not able to do a handstand, but here I am in one – apparently I do not need to listen to what the voices tell me I can’t do – I need to ignore them and try anyway. As I left the workshop with a smile on my face, I realized that there was still that story inside my head about not being good or smart enough, only this time it was so much easier to dismiss by taking my yoga off my mat! I just nailed a handstand at the wonderful young age of 51, I am so proud of myself, I feel so strong, something new that I had been working hard to achieve and I finally did it. I couldn’t do this when I was 16! How much more am I capable of? This is my yoga . . . as my body continues to become stronger; my practice develops and takes me to places that I never thought I possibly could go; yep the ego was definitely inflated!
A few days after nailing my handstand and still feeling ever so proud and even modestly vain, I walked into the studio early for practice only to see the instructor in a one-handed handstand with her legs in a wide-legged straddle! Immediately the vanity left as Spirit reminded me that there is always room to grow! Once again, a lesson to take with me off my mat, this is why I love yoga!