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Practice Progress: Handstand to Crow and Learning to Be Stronger

I wasn’t planning on practicing today. I started my day at 6 a.m. teaching yoga, trained a client at Metro after and then had my butt glued to my office chair for eight hours. I was driving back to the gym to train a client at 6 p.m. when I got a text from her that she needed to late cancel due to an emergency.

I immediately redirected the car and decided to take a 6 p.m. yoga class instead to help keep up with my 62 day yoga challenge.

For the last few months I have tirelessly been working handstand to crow pose. In every single class that I have taken I have practiced it countless times. I get so close…my knees hit my triceps…and then I lose it. It’s been incredibly frustrating but also amazingly exhilarating to be pushed and challenged by my practice. I maintained faith that with time, it would come. As guruji says, “practice…all is coming.”


I kicked up into my third or fourth attempt of handstand to crow halfway through class, lowered down and found myself in crow. I held crow and said out loud, “I did it. I did it!” I was terrified to try again thinking maybe it was a fluke but I did it once more in class and two times after.

A few months ago, a fellow teacher shared with me a talk given by Kino MacGregor about being stronger. “Be stronger” has become a MANTRA in my practice. As Kino says, not just physically strong but strong enough to believe in myself.

“They want me to be strong enough to believe in myself…However big my mission is in life, is how strong I need to be…Even if I’m the only one who believes in this I will stand for this truth and I will work for it no matter how long it takes. For me that is strength.”

Whether or not you are a yogi, I think Kino’s message of being stronger is amazing. I encourage you to watch Kino’s talk on Being Stronger. It’s a little over 4 minutes long and totally worth your time. I have listened to it at least 20 times and it lights me up every time.

I need to be strong on and off my mat. Strong enough to believe I am not only capable of but also worthy of what I want to achieve. I need to love myself and believe in myself first in order to become strong enough.

The road to handstand to crow was not easy. Tonight was probably my 300th+ attempt at the pose but I knew it would come. When I was ready. Tonight I walked into that classroom and it was an unexpected gift to have the time to practice. And I was surprised by finally being strong enough inside and out to make it happen.

DON’T GIVE UP! You can have what you dream of. You ARE strong, you ARE worthy…you just have to truly believe. I pictured this happening in my head a million times before it came true. Before I really believed that I was THAT yogi who could do it. We are our own worst critics and enemies. STOP! And believe. Be stronger.

{ 20 comments… add one }
  • Linda @ The Fitty December 1, 2015, 10:12 pm

    I want to be a personal trainer, but it sounds hard that you have to cater your schedule to the most inconvenient times for you but convenient times for people getting off work or before going to work. What’s it like, being a personal trainer with your kind of schedule?

    • Jen DeCurtins December 6, 2015, 10:08 am

      You do have to work around other people’s work schedules for sure! My days normally start early and end late but I have time for things like my own workouts or blog and marketing work during the day when I’m training or teaching. It’s not for everyone, but I love what I do and never dread waking up to work in the morning!

  • Laura December 1, 2015, 11:00 pm

    Wow. This really resonated with me tonight. We are all so much stronger than we think. I truly appreciate you sharing that. Will definitely be listening to this awesome and powerful message again. Why is it we are usually our own biggest critic? More self love needed, for sure. Keep preaching, Jen! You’re doing amazing and inspiring things! Xo

    • Jen DeCurtins December 6, 2015, 10:09 am

      I know! I seriously need to listen to that video every week as a reminder. Thank you!

  • maya December 2, 2015, 4:51 am

    Awesome post Jen, thank you for such inspiration! And congratulations on your progress, your form is beautiful. Have a great day!

    • Jen DeCurtins December 6, 2015, 10:10 am

      Thank you so much!

  • Pam December 2, 2015, 8:38 am

    Perfect post read at the perfect time in my life. Thank you for ALWAYS inspiring me and causing me to be better. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season. Blessings in the New Year.
    PS I’ve gifted your new book and it was WELL received!

    • Jen DeCurtins December 6, 2015, 10:11 am

      Thank you so much! I’m so hoppy to hear that. I really appreciate it!

  • Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine December 2, 2015, 9:37 am

    Perfect message Jen! Just what I needed right now in my life!
    And I think I need to work on handstand to crow now myself!

    • Jen DeCurtins December 6, 2015, 10:16 am

      Happy to hear it! Thanks!

  • Janice December 2, 2015, 11:19 am

    Congrats on nailing it! Thank you for sharing how long it took you to get there. I think we see people on social media doing things and we think I will never be there, but we forget that we have to practice and grow. We all have to start somewhere. The Be Strong video by Kino is amazing. I am going to add this to my YouTube list to remind myself to watch it over and over again.

    • Jen DeCurtins December 6, 2015, 10:18 am

      Yes! It’s so true. I’m glad the video resonated with you!

  • Haley @ Better With Toast December 2, 2015, 2:38 pm

    Thanks for this! I’ve been struggling to meet one of my own fitness goals, so this was just what I needed to hear. 🙂

    • Jen DeCurtins December 6, 2015, 10:19 am

      You’re welcome! I’m glad it resonated with you!

  • Pamela December 3, 2015, 1:38 am

    Goodness I love this and Kino (even though Ashtanga continues to daunt me). I love this message and the fact that you are keeping on keeping on. Thank you so much for this post.

    I have been trying to post for a while but have no luck on my phone. I’m so happy you and your girls are enjoying your new home and I love all of your posts on balancing that which you need to do with that which you love. I hope your family is well and you are enjoying the holidays!

    • Jen DeCurtins December 8, 2015, 9:59 pm

      Thanks so much! You certainly don’t have to be an ashtangi to appreciate this message!

  • Cath December 3, 2015, 2:53 am

    YAYY!! Awesome work Jen! I’m so happy for you that you made that transition! After all that hard, consistent work, it must have felt amazing. I really admire your perseverance and dedication, especially since it is something a lot of us struggle with – that inner dialogue saying, “oh I’ll never get there, I may as well give up now, what’s the point.” Personally it is something I’m definitely still learning and have trouble with, so thank you for your post.

    On that note, I wonder if you’d be interested in providing a post or video blog entry sometime about how you’ve grown/changed from doing yoga? From a physical point of view, I know you’ve mentioned your running pain (I think it was hip?) that went away, but what poses/stretches/inversions can you do now that you couldn’t to begin with? I remember a PT saying once to me a long time ago that muscles and tendons shortened as we aged and there wasn’t any way to re-lengthen them. Is that true? If not, what else is possible? I’m asking about the physical mainly because I think delving in to all the benefits might take a while. 😉 Though naturally I’d be interested. Or is there a previous post that covers this?

  • Rebecca Marich December 3, 2015, 11:34 pm

    Cograts!! I am fairly new to yoga…practicing for a year. I have been challenging myself to do things that put me out of my comfort zone. Like you said….I’ve had several ” i did it ” moments lately. Its such an amazing feeling when all of the hard work pays off. It is also comforting to know that even advanced yogis experience the same things. You just have to believe in your heart that it is possible….and then it will be. Thank you for your onstantly inspiring words. Keep up the great work.

    • Jen DeCurtins December 8, 2015, 10:03 pm

      Those moments will keep coming! You’ll always experience obstacles in your practice no matter how advanced you are-and some days more than others! One thing I love about yoga is there’s always room to grow.

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