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Flying Splits

Today I finally got an arm balance that I’ve been working on for years.

I attended a workshop this morning with Jim Bennitt at Be Yoga. The workshop focused on balancing postures and arm balances and we also did a lot of back bending (which I love). We didn’t really do much in the way of balancing postures but I did make some big steps on some difficult arm balances.

I have been working on flying splits for years. For whatever reason, I could never figure it out. It’s really not that hard but it literally felt impossible for me until Jim gave me one new cue that totally opened up the whole pose for me. Bam. It happened.

There is something about taking classes from new teachers and attending workshops that fires me up. I love being in a zone of complete non-judment and learning. Everyone was there to soak up the experience and learn all that we could from Jim. The workshop was two and a half hours and it was so nice to get my body open and have time to play around.

One of the things I enjoy most about taking from different teachers is learning new ways to cue poses and open my body. Take this pose for example, an excellent way to open the hip flexor and quad as well as the upper thoracic spine. Eventually your triceps should be against the wall and you should be able to grab your toes. One day!

Jim had an easy and likable presence and I did not feel nervous or intimidated in his class. In fact, he came over to assist me when we were working on natarajasana (dancer) and I was able to reach back with both hands and grab my big toe for the first time. It was a pretty monumental moment.

Where’s the lesson in all of this?

#1 – Continuing education is so important no matter what your field. Like I mentioned above, I always return from workshops totally inspired and with new creativity.

#2 – Don’t give up. This is two-fold. I started this post by sharing that I finally mastered a pose that I’ve been working on for years. At the opposite end of the spectrum, I left the workshop feeling light and happy. Then I checked my phone and saw that I made major mistake at work last week. It instantly brought me to tears and I spent most of my evening correcting the error.

I subbed a yoga class this afternoon and straight up shared with them that I messed up at work…but at the same time something happened today that I’ve been working on for years. The point being that we aren’t perfect. We have to work for what we have and we all make mistakes along the way. There is so much growth to be had from owning up to your mistakes and then being determined to keep trying. We learn the most from the difficult times.

{ 30 comments… add one }
  • Anna August 5, 2012, 9:39 pm

    Hey!!! Can you tell me what brand your black capris are in this post?? If lululemon, do you know the name/style?!? Thanks a lot and congrats on mastering the new pose!!! 😉

    • Jen August 5, 2012, 10:03 pm

      lululemon wunder under crops. best basic black capris ever!

  • Elizabeth Sclafani August 5, 2012, 9:40 pm

    Congrats on getting into flying splits, Jen! It’s always such an awesome feeling when you get into a pose you have been working on for a while 🙂 the workshop sounded awesome!

  • Courtney @ Fitness With A Fork August 5, 2012, 9:51 pm

    I love when you post about yoga! 🙂

  • Brooke @ sweats & sweets August 5, 2012, 9:51 pm

    Inspiring pictures! Congratulations on the new poses! I look forward to the day I can do down-ward dog without having assistance to push my back into the right position.

  • Krystina August 5, 2012, 10:00 pm

    I have been working on crow pose for the better part of a year and it’s so frustrating. Even when I think I get into it, I fall within seconds. I know that these are advanced poses that take years to be able to do correctly/successfully, but damn I want to do it!

    I, too, love when you post about yoga. You seem genuinely happy and in your element whenever you talk about it.

  • Danica @ It's Progression August 5, 2012, 10:05 pm

    That pose….amazing. Congrats!
    You’re right–Life is all about learning and improving, sure we make mistakes, but we learn from them and grow from them!

  • Arianna Finnane August 5, 2012, 10:43 pm

    Hi there,
    Congrats on the pose; that is amazing. I love hearing about your ups and downs; certainly we all have our ups and downs.
    Do you mind sharing how you make your overnight oats?

  • Miriam @ Bellaspire August 5, 2012, 11:12 pm

    It’s funny how a teacher can say the same exact thing over and over but one day you finally actually hear them. I remember when I finally locked my knee on standing bow pose and it made all the difference. I love your new pose. I want to pin it under inspiration!

  • Sana August 6, 2012, 12:26 am

    🙂 I hope the mistake was fixable! have a lovely week!

  • Hayley @ Running on Pumpkin August 6, 2012, 12:42 am

    I had a similar day last week, I felt really accomplished in something and then I realized I badly messed up on something else. It was hard not to let the negative outweigh feeling proud. Loved this post, you are truly inspirational (especially with your yoga poses)!

  • Michelle August 6, 2012, 1:57 am

    Congrats on mastering the new pose. It’s so true that we’re constantly a work-in-progress, and it’s pretty exciting and frustrating all at the same time!

  • Cath August 6, 2012, 5:26 am

    That’s awesome about the new pose! I hope you were able to feel good about your fantastic yoga achievements after the stress of the work mistake was over. Everyone makes mistakes, but it’s important to celebrate the good stuff. 🙂

    Also, just wondering, what would you say is the best thing that you get out of yoga? I’ve got a pretty busy schedule at the moment, so it’s hard to fit in yoga particularly from the point of view of purely physical benefits (strength/fitness). So what makes you go back to it when you’re often incredibly busy?

  • christy August 6, 2012, 5:57 am

    Oh my gosh. I wish I could bend like that.

  • Kimberly August 6, 2012, 8:03 am

    Congrats on the split and dancer pose! I remember the first time I did crow for the first time and realized that “this isn’t so hard” and once you get it, it’s kind of like riding a bike. I haven’t been able to do the flying split or dancer. Sometimes I feel like I will never be able to do full dancer, but I know it just takes time.

    • Jen August 7, 2012, 10:20 am

      kimberly – it’s so true about poses “clicking” and then just being available for you. i am a long way off of being able to consistently do full dancer too but it’s so beautiful and i want to get there!

  • Jodi August 6, 2012, 10:16 am

    Great job jen!!! I have also been working on flying split and it is just not clicking! my head always ends up wayyyyy too close to the floor. I love experiencing new teachers and having those amazing moments when things just click.

    • Jen August 7, 2012, 10:19 am

      i know it’s crazy how one different way of cueing a pose can change everything. keep at it – it took years for it to click for me! 🙂

  • Ali @ Around the VeggieTable August 6, 2012, 2:40 pm

    Beautiful all around–beautiful yoga and beautiful lesson…thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Jen August 7, 2012, 10:18 am

      thank you so much! 🙂

  • Candice August 6, 2012, 4:09 pm

    oh my heck.. i don’t really take yoga.. in fact ill admit, i can’t handle yoga.. my mind won’t slow down but i just tried those two poses… and the one against the wall.. ouch. the one flying splits.. no way. HA! Guess i should get into yoga a little more..;)

    • Jen August 7, 2012, 10:17 am

      hahaha – if you came to my yoga class you would not have time to worry about your mind slowing down! i promise! 🙂

  • Addy August 6, 2012, 8:03 pm

    Awesome post, Jen – I can’t wait till I can do the flying splits! You are so right about continuing education, it’s so needed. And it keeps you humble too, that’s for sure 🙂 Thank you!

  • Brittany August 7, 2012, 11:15 am

    I can’t wait to try that stretch against the wall to prep for king pigeon! i absolutely love hearing new cues and instructions from other teachers that make a pose ‘click’ for the first time! kathryn budig is in chicago this weekend and i am going to her inversion workshop – i hope to have some similar experience!

  • kristen August 7, 2012, 12:46 pm

    This post is awesome and Congrats on the flying split :)I

  • Ellen @ Wannabe Health Nut August 7, 2012, 4:47 pm

    Wow, you look amazing in that pose! And yeah…life has a way of giving you a reality check doesn’t it?!

  • Brittany @ GOtheXtraMile August 7, 2012, 7:57 pm

    Omg, you are amazing!

  • Michelle D. August 7, 2012, 10:43 pm

    OMG! So inspiring! Especially when you have been adding crossfit and yet remain so flexible! Beautiful! Did you say what the one cue was that he gave that clicked for you?

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