"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Holding Back

After two weeks of yoga class, some things are getting easier. I no longer feel as though I'll drown in my own sweat. I don't have to think about breathing through my nose, and I can even laugh at the instructor's jokes. The 90 minute session feels like an hour and a half of elapsed time rather than a day and a half.

More of the poses seem less daunting, although there are a few I can only approximate. And often it's a really wobbly approximation. Anything involving balance is beyond my ability to perform consistently right now.

Because I'm feeling more comfortable and slightly more flexible, I'm pushing a bit harder to reach the farthest potential of the poses I can do. Carefully.

I'm also beginning to hear a theme begin to emerge from the steady stream of instruction being provided.

"Lunge into it. Holding back will only make this harder."

"Go all out for every pose. Don't ration your energy. You won't know the limit of your potential, and you'll sell yourself short, if you don't give it your all."

"Kick as hard as you can. The harder you kick the easier this will be."

"Go to the point of pain (defined as stretching pain) and then go just a small bit beyond that."

And yesterday as I was on my knees, hands on my lower back, head tipped back, in the camel pose I've come to dread, a small airplane flew through my mind trailing a banner that shouted, "You hold back - always."

Completed, this pose involves bending all the way back until your hands hold your heels and you form a smooth circle with your body. I can never get beyond tipping my head back. Not because my back hurts - I don't get even that far into the pose. I get so dizzy the minute I tip my head, I'm sure I'm going to pass out.

Part of the teaching for this pose involves a warning about emotional involvement. The opening up of the chest that happens with bending back exposes the heart, and any unresolved feelings that might have been protected there.

My body has been so programmed to hold those feelings in, it would prefer my unconsciousness to opening up and letting them go.

I hear and accept the challenge: Caution only makes the journey more difficult. Being careful does not prevent pain. The safety of holding back is a lie. Now if I can only convince my heart, and my still sore back.

photo from Flickr


Pam said...

This describes your journey beautifully Deb. Yoga is great on so many levels and progress is wonderful when you can look back and see how far you've come.Congratulations on "extending yourself".Thanks for your visit and commment - much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

I never thought of yoga like that but it makes sense. I'm awfully rigid, always protecting myself. More thinking required.

Amber said...

Oh goodness. This could be about me! LOL! And again you inspire me, because i just got a yoga dvd...But have been putting off starting. Or, "holding back". Yep.


Janna Qualman said...

Lots of correlations and analogies come from this post, and I'm glad you wrote it.

I'm also glad you're -- enjoying? -- yoga a bit more, too. It seems as though it's doing its job, in that it's freeing your mind, and finding you insight.

Tabitha Bird said...

In fact caution sometimes promotes pain. :) Love this post. Love Yoga. Glad you are enjoying it.

Jessica said...

Being careful doesn't prevent pain. So true.

Now I'm wondering if I could do that circle position. LOL!

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Hmmm... I have to process this one, because to me, you are not a holder-backer.

Angie Ledbetter said...

I'm too cautious and old not to be somewhat skeptical & careful in just how far I jump without a net. :D

Great progress going on for you. Yay!

patricia said...

I'm not ready for yoga. =)

Jerri said...

Like Carrie, I don't see you as one who holds back. Your generous spirit and true heart shine from your eyes and your words, both spoken and written.

Still, only you know what you hold back.

You've stepped into the unknown with great courage, Deb. In so many ways, including this yoga adventure. Thanks for sharing it with us.

She said...

You inspire me ALWAYS!

I would love to try this type of yoga because I sweat so much anyway that I can't do the regular type!

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Caution only makes the journey more difficult. Being careful does not prevent pain. The safety of holding back is a lie."

Don't think about your heart and take some ADvil for your back. Send out 20 queries on Monday. No less.

Elenka said...

I haven't done yoga in over 20 years...maybe I should start.

Elenka said...

I haven't done yoga in over 20 years...maybe I should start.

Trulyana said...

I am happy that you have encountered such experience, and that you have learnt a lesson about yourself through it, as that is why we are here. I think through the journey you will begin to unfold, and notice more about yourself you hadn't realised before. It's amazing what a few classes of yoga can do! It's your time, keep enjoying. :) And don't work too hard to get to where you want to be, as sometimes we loose ourselfs in it, and forget where we are. It's not a patch on being here, but it helps, makes us understand who we are better. So good to be back on your site Deb.

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