Thursday, August 4, 2011
"It's Gratitude, Y'all"
My yoga teacher said this in class tonight and I thought it was amazing. Amazing was a word that came up a lot, too. His class isn't one that I go to regularly - maybe once every two months, but when I do, I'm always happy that I did.
Often in yoga we're given permission to be grateful. I say permission because, outside of a spiritual place, we tend to move so fast that we lack the time, space and energy to think about such things. In yoga, our teachers will ask us to consider our gratitude during particularly challenging poses. It's usually the thought of this that gives me that extra push. What am I grateful for? To be alive, here today, in this pose -- that crosses my mind.
More specifically, I'm grateful for what I did when I came home from work. Not entirely sure what my night would become, I was almost paralyzed by options: a walk in the neighborhood, a trip to the market, an outing with friends. In times like these, I often get worked up and overwhelmed by decision making -- but today I decided to sit down in my chair and just be still. From this stillness, I had the most intense, bodily desire to go upside-down. So I did.
Typically, my headstand practice involves using the wall as a prop because I'm too afraid to do it in the middle of the room. During inversions, I'm afraid that I will topple over onto my back and hurt myself. So it goes, I went over to the wall and lifted up into headstand.
After hanging out with my heart above my head for a bit, I came down and settled into child's pose. Then, I realized that being in the privacy of my own home would probably be the best and safest place for me to try a freestanding headstand. Before I could talk myself out of it, I was up! No wall, no safety net - just legs floating in the air. I honestly couldn't believe it! How did I get up there?
When I came down and settled back into child's pose, I actually said out loud to myself: "I did it!" It was at that moment that I figured out what I would do with my night. Off to yoga! (I felt so blissed out from my freestanding headstand that it only made sense to extend this feeling into an hour and half long yoga class).
When my teacher asked what we were grateful for, I thought of my headstand: I'm grateful for the headstand that brought me to class tonight. A few hours of reflection later and no longer puzzled by how I floated up so easily and weightlessly, I realize now it was because I was ready. That's what that was. I conquered my fear with fearlessness.
Of course, I'm not a pro and I'm certainly still afraid of headstand in the middle of the room and will surely be using the wall next time I go up. However, it's nice to know that fear isn't the end point. Fear is a question. There are many answers. It's your choice which one you pick. It's what they call yogi's choice. It's as simple as that and, really, it's gratitude, y'all.