Most of you know my background – I’m a vibrant 57 year old, thankful to be a 24 year breast cancer survivor. To stay healthy, I took up the practice of yoga about 2 years ago. I love it. Yoga is both a demanding physical workout and it exercises the mind by incorporating the concept of mindful meditation.
When I started practicing, I was enthusiastic to learn and to become better. With this goal in mind and with helpful instructors, I have steadily progressed. I notice positive changes in my physical self with improved posture, energy and strength. Just as important, I feel that my cerebral nature is enhanced too. Yoga connects the mind, body and spirit. I’ve learned that feeling good about my physical self reflects positively in my mental outlook and confidence.
Lately though, despite my progress, I was hitting a wall. I felt weak and incompetent to try some advances poses like “crow” – where you squat down, rest your knees on the back of your upper arms and float with your feet off of the ground. I also wasn’t confident enough to kick up and do a handstand. I felt handicapped by my past (reconstruction) surgery and my age. Most times, my yoga classmates are lithe 20 and 30 somethings. It’s nice that I can keep up with them throughout most of practice but not when it came to these things. I realized that the only thing holding me back from these advanced poses was fear and a lack of trying.
So, when masterful yoga instructor Kristin Frederick offered a handstand workshop this past weekend at Sol Yoga www.solyogastudio.com I decided to sign up and to Face my Fear. As usual, I was the only one there “of a certain age” but I was determined to learn. This was my chance amongst other handstand newbies regardless of age.
It was as hard as I thought that it would be. I clearly lacked the core strength that it took to kick both legs up, even one at a time, and to balance them straight. But I had Kristin or a partner to assist me with getting my legs up and I Did It – several times too (though I fell over once). It was exhilarating to have accomplished this.
Kristin said, in the beginning, 9 times out of 10, you don’t get up fully. Like everything else in life, it takes persistence and patience to master. (Don’t I know those lessons well from my past)? I am determined to practice crow and handstand at home now and to one day feel confident enough to do these in a crowded class without the fear of falling.
When we closed our practice with meditation, Kristin read an encouraging poem that she composed just for this class. When we ended, I shared with her that her poem inspired me to write this blog and to share my workshop experience. Her words are sage advice to live by and are applicable to multiple life situations.
“We are all afraid of something.”
“Fear is a part of life that we all experience.”
“We face our fears because if we don’t, we stop growing in life.”
“And when we stop growing, we stop living”.
This is wise advice from an experienced and wonderful person – Thanks Kristin!
Another famous quote that I love is:
“What would you attempt in your life if you knew that you could not fail?”
Lesson: Don’t let your fears hold you back