I'm sitting on my knees, butt on my heels, focused on my breathing. Following instructions I've heard over a hundred times now, I scoot my heels just outside my hips and try to get my butt on the floor. No go. So I spread my knees apart until finally there's no daylight showing beneath me. I move my hands back, first right, then left, fingers faced forward on top of the bottoms of my feet so I'm supporting my top half with my arms. On a good day I can rest on my elbows like this:
That's as far as I've ever gotten, and it's hard not to be frustrated that everyone else in the room looks like some version of this:
I hear the word "relax" used a number of times during this part of the pose. I've always wondered how that might be possible, but today I get curious about where my exhales might take me. I focus just on my breath. Inhale. Pause. Exhale. Pause. And my hips surprise me at the exhale by letting go, so that for a very long second I'm actually melting into the floor and having fun.
Since it's considered poor form to happy dance in the middle of class (and I'm not exactly in a happy dance position anyway), I settle for a "small inner smile" as we're so often told to practice with.
I'm still on my elbows, but can feel for the first time the possibility of my shoulders finding the floor.
I'm excited to try the second round, always more limber then. Maybe this will be the time I get all the way into the pose. Unfortunately in my excitement, in throwing my mind ahead of my body, I forget to breathe. I have to pull myself back to the beginning of the pose, calm myself back into my breathing, stop the yelling voice coming from inside my head. And of course by then, it's time for Savasana.
Two steps forward, one step back. Except my body knows now the power of exhale, and what "relax" actually feels like. I'm already wondering what else in my life I might be able to exhale myself into.