When I Think I Can’t…Yoga

I know that I’ve talked about it here a million times and I’m sure that people in my life are sick of hearing it, but yoga has changed my life in so many ways that it’s hard not to talk about it. Where once anxiety waited around every turn, preying on my weaknesses, telling me that I would never amount to anything and that each little task was a mountain to climb, I now have tools to keep it away and keep myself strong. Where I once saw the words “no,” “I can’t,” “never,” I now start to see “I can” and “I will.” Anxiety still lives down inside of me, sometimes bubbling up to take over, but now it is easier to push it back down and make it behave. Anxiety now lives largely in the background, leaving the rest to be filled with living life. Some of this is because I found a great psychiatrist. Some of it is because I’ve gotten older and more comfortable with myself. But a large part of the credit goes to yoga.

Because so much of my anxiety is centered around my body and health, yoga is an excellent counter to it. If I can control what my body does in so many ways, there is less room to find fault with it. Add a little meditation and breathing to interrupt those ruminations and yoga is the perfect recipe for my particular brand of anxiety.

I still find myself daunted by certain tasks, especially those that might interrupt the calm(ish) little life I’ve got going here. But it has come to a point where my life needs a shake-up. I need to push past the “I can’t” and into the “I will.” So again, I’m turning to yoga

7 years ago I couldn’t do this.

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5 years ago I couldn’t do this.

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1 year ago I couldn’t do this.

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If I can hold warrior II, balance on my arms, and freakin STAND on my HEAD, I can do anything right? At least, that’s what I tell myself when my mind is full of doubts. Yoga reminds me that I am strong, that I can overcome fear, and that I have control. With that on my side, the only thing left to do is to move forward.

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So, That Was Cool

After a long, and very trying week including family health scares, work deadlines with no childcare, preschool drama bombs, and more friggin cold weather I was more than ready for the weekend. By some miracle I managed to actually do enough before Saturday that I made my deadlines and didn’t have to work. We were heading up to the in-laws’ house to get out of the city for a bit and stopped at Starbucks before we went to get the car. As we were walking in a man was ahead of me and saw that I was carrying Declan so he stepped aside and held the door for me. I looked over at him to say “thanks” and lo and behold it was Geoffrey Zakarian! If you don’t watch Chopped or Iron Chef America he is a chef and restauranteur. He is often a judge on Chopped and I am more than a little addicted to that show. I was psyched. I was a good little New Yorker and went on about my business. But after we left I tweeted him a thank you and he favorited it! That was pretty damn cool.

We had a very nice day up at the husband’s parents’ house and even stopped quickly at the mall where I got an awesome dress that I can wear for Easter and the Spring school auction. Score! We had a nice dinner out and a relaxed evening. I really didn’t think today could add much to what was already a pretty sweet weekend. Then I went to yoga.

The instructor who first got me into tittibhasana at Lululemon recently started teaching Sunday afternoons at the studio I belong to. She is seriously the bomb. I’ve done way more cool poses in the last few months. But there is one that I have been dying to achieve. Today, as my head dangled about an inch from the floor in prasarita padottanasana (wide leg forward fold) my instructor came over to me as she explained how to come up into a tripod headstand (sirsasana II). She put her arms out and motioned for me to lift my legs. My head wasn’t down and I said so and she told me to move my feet a bit further apart. I did, my head easily hit the ground, and I then lifted my legs into the air until…I WAS STANDING ON MY HEAD! I did a tripod headstand! I was wobbly and very happy that my instructor’s arms were there to steady me, but I held myself upside down on my head! I am still so giddy I feel like I’m floating. I basically fell to the ground when I came out of it. My core was a little spent and I could see part of myself in the mirror which was kind of disorienting. I have informed the husband that he will now be spotting me in practice until I’ve got it down.

I know yoga isn’t about “winning” and it isn’t a competition. But today I feel like I won. I beat my fear of falling, my fear of not being strong enough, my fear of people seeing me try and fail. Plus it just feels really good to stand upside down! So how’s that for a good weekend? Family time…check. Good food…check. Celeb encounter…check. Super sweet yoga moves…super check.