One of the things that I say over and over again in my yoga classes is that the practice of yoga is a journey. It’s about meeting yourself on your mat practice after practice and facing whatever is going on in your body, in your head and in your heart…becoming more aware of how you feel and the impact movement and breath can have on that.
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard people say that they can’t do yoga because they’re not flexible. That is just not what it’s about. When I teach classes I have yogis who can barely bend over and touch their knees practicing next to someone folded forward with chest to thighs and palms on the floor. Both are getting the same benefit from practice. With practice you begin to open, expand and notice small shifts in the way that you feel physically and emotionally. With practice and dedication things begin to become available to you that you never thought possible.
I hit a major milestone in my practice a couple of weeks ago. I would consider myself fairly confident and adept when it comes to basic/intermediate level arm balances and inversions. But for five years titibasana has been unavailable to me. No matter how many times I tried, my tight hamstrings would never allow me to extend through my heels and get my knees straight. I always looked more like a broken little spider with bent knees over my triceps than like the “firefly” this pose is supposed to represent.
To be honest, it did frustrate me that I couldn’t do this pose. I fell flat on my butt more times than I can count but I kept trying it over and over and over again and it never happened. Until one day it did.
I don’t know what the magical secret to finally getting titibasana was but I do know that my yoga continues to reward me in so many ways both on and off the mat when I stay dedicated to practice. Just remember that change in your body, change in your mind and change in your heart doesn’t happen overnight. It might take 5 days, 5 weeks, 5 months or 5 years but with practice, focus and intention, it will come. My titibasana still looks nothing like it’s “supposed to” but it looks pretty perfect to me.
Yogis, do you have an “elusive, just out of reach” pose?