Longtime readers know this used to be a “running blog.” For three years my tagline and blog name were all about running. I ran a lot. Forty-some races over the last four years. And I still run and race from time to time.
Three years ago I tried yoga. It wasn’t my first time. But it was the first time I took yoga seriously. Running made me feel good about how my body looked. Yoga makes me feel good about the strength my body has. I’m wildly in love with yoga and I realized it this past week.
“Take a few handstand hops.”
Typically I abhor this statement. Usually the yoga teacher is encouraging everyone to “get outside their comfort zone” and to “challenge themselves.” I am miffed. I halfheartedly try a few hops just to make it look like I’m doing something and then eagerly anticipate the next downward dog or half moon pose.
Something changed last week. I was in the moment. I tried the hops. I suddenly felt my feet go higher in the air then they have before. The weight of my body was on my arms and shoulders. Now before you get too excited – it was not a full handstand. But it was the closest I have ever come to being in one.
I left class on a yoga high. I realized if I placed my yoga mat next to the wall next class I might actually try this again. Maybe I could do a handstand against the wall? Who am I? I have no idea who that person doing the handstand hops was but I want to find her again. The challenge of this pose and the idea that maybe I could do this really excited me.
It also took me back to high school. I believe it was sophomore year. The year I tried out for the high school dance team. The year I walked home from the tryout – having not made the team – and realizing how far from being athletic I was. Those girls all grew up taking gymnastics. Grew up taking dance lessons. They could do the moves the coaches wanted. They could do things I couldn’t. They had learned when they were little. I had not. And the reality really hurt. If I didn’t do these things as a child I would probably never do them as an adult, I thought.
I’ve tried so many forms of exercise from running, to pilates, spinning, aerobics, bootcamp and more. Yoga is not a high school dance team but it makes me feel like I am athletic. Like I am qualified. Yoga has helped me believe in myself in a way I never though was possible. It has helped me get to a point where I might do a handstand.
I thought handstands were only learned by gymnasts when they are 5 years old. Maybe I was wrong.