I’m not the most flexible person I know. Not even close. I can touch my toes but can I do a split? Gimme a break. Too many years of running and not stretching before or after have left a legacy of tight hips and hamstrings. Not to mention the whole lower back problem.
I can’t do a handstand without the assistance of a wall. Forearm stand is not in my practice either. In fact, I don’t particularly like dolphin pose or any posture that requires me to be on my forearms because it causes pain in my outer wrists.
I’m getting better at arm balances, headstand, standing balance poses, etc. but my level of success really depends on the day. Some days I can float from one-legged pose to one-legged pose to one-legged pose without a bobble and others I’m a wildly swaying tree. I’ve taken my fair share of tumbles on the mat.
But yoga is not about how many hard poses you can do or not do. It’s not about getting it “right” each time, which is maybe why I love it so much. Living in a city and working in a profession that thrives on picking on the carcass of failure, it’s refreshing to have a sanctuary on the yoga mat, even if the physical aspect of yoga is really just a small part of the overall practice.
At the beginning of each yoga class, I set an intention and it’s usually a variation on a theme. Be playful, open-minded, graceful. Don’t be afraid. Just try. I don’t check these intentions at the door when class is over, but carry them with me long after the mat is rolled up and put away.
All of this is a long-winded way of telling you that this weekend I started a six-month, 200-hour yoga teacher training course at Mind the Mat. After two days I’m exhausted but also exhilarated and eager to get back to class today. I credit yoga with leading me to writing, my dharma, and while I don’t know where the next six months will take me, I feel a sense of purpose and fulfillment in setting off on this journey.