"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

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Relax

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:
Today I allow my weight to fall onto my elbows and decide to ignore everyone else and to see how long I can stay here before my thighs decide they've had enough fun. And I breathe.

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. 

11 comments:

kario said...

I love this! It's amazing how hard it is to concentrate on relaxing sometimes, isn't it? I didn't do a small inner smile - I grinned from ear to ear for you.

And I love the new look of your blog - it is so totally you!

Jessica Nelson said...

I'm planning to exhale my way into some brownies tonight. ;-) Love this post. Even when I could do splits as a teen, I was never able to put my knees to the side of me like that, let alone lean back.
Small inner smile, huh? ;-) Good for you.

Carol............. said...

OUCH!!!!!!....it does take time to work up to some things.

I think for that one "inner grinning like a Cheshire cat" may be better than the "small inner smile"!!! lol


The yellow and blue colors in your photos in your last post are amazing.

Wanda said...

Relax and that position do not go together for me.

Tabitha Bird said...

'Small inner smile' I love that :)

And flexibility is just practice. We stretch down like this at boxing at the end of every session. Except my coach physically pushes us into the stretch. I have learnt to relax into it rather than fight my coach. He knows how far to push. I know how to breathe. We work it out just fine :)

M said...

You made me laugh at the thought of you wanting to do your "happy dance" but the beauty of your inner smile was nearly as perfect to visualize.

Keep exhaling!!

I love you
Mark

fullsoulahead.com said...

It's funny how unrelaxing some "restful" poses are.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

"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."

Love this. I really do think your Yoga blog posts should be made into a book. Seriously. Don't forget. Promise you won't forget.

Jody Hedlund said...

I loved your descriptions in your last post, Deb! And I also love the idea of a small inner smile. What a lovely way to think about the small beauties of life!

Lorna said...

Love the "decide to ignore everyone else and to see how long I can stay here before my thighs decide they've had enough fun. And I breathe." part. Sounds like a great life plan too!!! Hugs :)

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Shoot, I'm not sure if I got in that position, I'd be able to get myself out. How brave you are.