Wednesday, February 17, 2010
go big or go home
"Go big or go home."
I've been attending an intermediate flow yoga for the past few weeks, and this seems to be the instructor's favorite motto.
I love it though. It's all about giving your all. It's about passion.
She leads us through a challenging sequence of standing poses, and we hold warrior pose on one side throughout several variations, with 3-5 breaths per pose. Warrior I, hold. Warrior I with arms behind, hands clasped and fingers interlaced, expand chest. Bow forward into Devotional Warrior. Back to Warrior I. Warrior I to Warrior II. Warrior II to Reverse Warrior. Reverse Warrior to Extended Side Angle. Extended Side Angle with a half bind or full bind. Oh, and she might throw in Half Moon too. And yes, about 3-5 LONG breaths for each pose. Without switching sides or to the other leg in between any of those lunge poses. At one point the instructor even sat on one yogini's thigh while she was in warrior. (Thank goodness it wasn't me.)
Towards the end of this sequence, my right thigh is shaking, and finally I feel like giving up. I let out a loud "WHEW!" And she says, "Go big or go home!"
And sometimes that's all it takes - a little encouragement, a friendly push to find your edge.... then finally, we go through a vinyasa to rest in Downward Dog for about 5 breaths. I tell you, after that sequence, that Down Dog is the best Down Dog ever.
Then we switch to Warrior on the left and do the same sequence all over again.
"Go big or go home."
At the end, it feels great though. To know that I've given my all. Pushed myself to find my edge... not to be competitive with others or with myself (ok, maybe a just a little competitive with myself...), but to reach that point of a little discomfort in order to grow stronger...while recognizing that it's ok to lose my balance from my Half Moon pose. I don't have to judge myself when I fall; I just accept it. I can get back up and try again. Recognizing that someone is there to help you stretch just a little bit further - not too much, but just enough. Just enough for the challenge to be right for you at that moment.
And isn't that what we do in life, anyway? We dream, and we dream big. We push ourselves beyond our comfort zones, to know what we're capable of. But we also forgive ourselves when we fall and make mistakes. We can accept help and support. We also accept periods of rest, and when we do, the rest is so deliciously blissful... much like the Downward Dogs after the challenging standing sequence. And in this state, we know that we are stronger for it, and that we made every moment count.
Go big or go home!
* The Yoga Journal website is a great resource for photos of yoga poses. Click here.