Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What happens on (and off) the yoga mat...

I did something in a yoga class last week that I have never done before. I was holding revolved side angle pose {parivrtta parsvakonasana} minding my own yoga business, when BOOM. I fell out of the pose.








Oh, but I didn't just fall out of the pose - I kind of rolled and tumbled out of it. And when I finally stopped tumbling and rolling, I was sitting and facing the back of the room and completely off of my yoga mat. For the love of Pete.



At first I thought I'd hurt my knee but I shook it off and got back into the pose just as my teacher was leading the class to come out of it. As he led us through alignment for the other side, I realized that the only thing I'd really hurt was my pride/ego, and even that wasn't all that bad.

Oh sure, the words "how embarrassing" crossed my mind, but as luck and joy and experience would have it, I shook it off and chalked it up to a lesson learned. But I'll tell you, the lesson to let it go was greater than the lesson of falling out of the pose.

For those of you who may have never tried yoga for fear of falling, let me assure you that this really isn't the norm. I lost focus in class and for whatever reason, the pose was not meant for me that night. It's common to fall out of a yoga poses - I do it all the time with tree pose {vrksasana}. That's why it's called a yoga practice. :o) So please don't let my tale of tumbling keep you from giving yoga a try! {xo}









It just so happened that the teacher leading the class is one who encourages an attitude of self-respect and self-kindness. What happened to me could have happened to anyone. A few years ago I might have even shed tears out of embarrassment. I might have felt completely humiliated and ashamed and reluctant to ever go back to that class again.

Was I embarrassed? Sure. And am I still a little humbled, writing this blog post days after the event took place? Uh-huh. But there's a different frame of mind - thanks to yoga. Falling out of a yoga pose and off of my mat does not define me or my yoga practice, but the thoughts I choose to go with it do.

And isn't that the way it goes outside of yoga class as well? Those times when we trip up and do something human like stumbling or tumbling or standing out in the crowd? The way we choose to think about it later defines the event on a much deeper level than the actual event itself.

Truth be told, I'm actually kind of glad this happened. Falling off my mat just gives me one more little piece of experience to add to my yoga bag. Perhaps it will help me to be more empathetic to my own students struggling to hold a pose. Perhaps I will adopt my teacher's advice and pass that on to my students as well.

"Are you being kind to yourself?" my teacher will ask during class.
"Are you being self-respecting? Because if you aren't, you're not practicing yoga."

13 comments:

Abi said...

You are so wise Deb. I love your attitude. Letting go and moving on and taking away the postitives are such valuable lessons. You will be such a great teacher.

Sian said...

It's all to the good. You're going to be much more help to a student who does the same thing, than a teacher who doesn't know what it feels like to cringe. It's going to help you be a EVEN BETTER teacher

Ruth said...

Both Abi and Sian have it absolutely spot on!

scrappyjacky said...

Ditto to all the above,Deb

Stephanie @ La Dolce Vita said...

"The way we choose to think about it later defines the event on a much deeper level than the actual event itself." This, exactly. We so often put ourselves out of sort when we convince ourselves to see the event differently. I think I need to save this quote for sure.

Karen said...

Another wise post, Deb. You're going to be an awesome yoga teacher!

Maria Ontiveros said...

Great story. And I love the Spirograph thing going on inside your mandala

Miriam said...

Lovely positive things to think about.

Audrey said...

Oh Deb, I love that you shared this! I couldn't stop smiling as I read it. It reminds me of one of Alain's stories. He took tae kwon do years ago. One day they were doing some kicks and Alain kicked and FELL OVER (I think in front of everyone). The instructor (who was Asian) said "Take Easy". Still, about a decade later, it still makes me laugh just envisioning that happening. And our family uses the phrase "Take Easy" almost on a daily basis. Reminds me of that saying, "Life begins outside your comfort zone". Yep, pretty much. LOVE your mandala, by the way! XOXO!

yogamatsandcowboyhats said...

I love this! You are so genuine to share your experience and let others know that falling is seriously no big deal! You just get right back on the mat. Can't wait to see you soon :)

alexa said...

Indeed! Great wisdom learnt and shared - if the former doesn't happen for a teacher, then the latter is not going to come from a place of truth. Taking up yoga/Pilates again is going to be my focus for February :).

Beverly said...

"The way we choose to think about it later defines the event on a much deeper level than the actual event itself." powerful stuff there, Deb

CatieAn said...

sometimes falling out of a pose frees us up to fall into being kinder to ourselves. This is such a wise post and you will be a very wise instructor

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