The other day, I was walking along outside. I had inadvertently dressed a little bit like Sporty Spice, with my new gray leggings, a tank top that's long enough to pass as a mini dress and my R2D2 t-shirt. My sporty new tennis shoes rounded out the outfit perfectly. My every day fashion plan is to be able to go easily from sitting at a microscope to getting on my yoga mat. But any way. Here I was walking outside when I suddenly felt like doing a cartwheel. This is the part of the story where you think I'm going to tell you how I fell on my head while attempting a cartwheel. I will tell you that this is not the part of the story where I tell you that I fell on my head while attempting a cartwheel. That's because I did not do the cartwheel. The thought I had immediately after "I feel like doing a cartwheel" was "I cannot do a cartwheel."
Except I can. I can totally do cartwheels. At least I used to be able to do them. Sure, it's been a while since I've actually done one and maybe I'm a little out of practice. I might forget to point my toes just so, but I'm sure that I can still do a cartwheel. Yet in that moment, I stumbled. Fear. Doubt. Worry about what someone would think if they saw a grown woman doing a cartwheel. Falling. What if I fell? These are the things that stopped me. I let the idea of doing a cartwheel enter my brain and then I just kept on walking until I had walked it right on out of my head. Then I spent the next fifteen minutes berating myself for not doing that dang cartwheel.
I avoid doing anything that puts serious weight on my arms. Handstands. Arm balancing. Just forget any arm balancing yoga pose all together. Maybe it has something do with my broken arms or too much anatomy knowledge. I have a huge carrying angle and even when I straighten my arms, they are not straight. I don't have joint on joint alignment when I come into handstand or try to do an unmodified salabhasana. Every time I attempt them, my elbows hurt for days. I've never been strong in my upper body. My gymnastics coach used to hang me up on the uneven bars and then tell me to pull myself up. He'd walk away, leaving me just hanging there. My work around for this was to swing myself around and up. I never pulled-up. I look at my gangling arms and know that I am weak.
So you can imagine that I avoid arm balances in my own practice on my mat, even though I know that poses like Bakasana has nothing to do with arm strength. Nothing at all. The first step to Bakasana is open hips. Those knees have to be up near the arms. The second step is core strength. It's your gut that lifts you up and holds you in place. I know these things. KNOW THEM. Yet every time I attempt this pose, I panic. My breath is thin and shallow and I may get mostly into this pose while leaving one toe on the mat. Then I come out immediately because my brain is screaming in fear. Everything about this pose tells me that I am weak, a failure. I am going to fall.
All of that changed yesterday. I came into Bakasana and stayed there for at least five calm and easy breaths. I did not leave one toe touching the mat. My brain did not once raise it's voice to tell me that I cannot do this. I did it and if I can quiet the negative voices in my head while I am on the mat, I can quite them off the mat. I am far from weak. I am the strongest girl you know. I have super power strength. Ok...maybe that's going a little too far, but yeah. I am woman. Hear me ROAR. I am thankful for my yoga practice. I am thankful for this body.
Tomorrow, Michael and I are off for an adventure to the dairy where the infamous cotton candy flavored milk comes from. I'm so thankful for this body, I'm going to fill it with milk and then probably get violently sick to my stomach. My taste buds love it; my intestines do not. I don't even care. I am excited about the prospects of petting (stealing) a baby cow and learning how to make cheese. The last time I was on a working dairy was probably kindergarten. Every kid that went through Collinsville elementary school before, I don't know, 1998 (?) toured the Sallee Dairy farm. I can already smell the cows mixed in with the crisp smells of Fall. I am thankful for this day trip because Michael and I haven't really had any just the two of us time in a while.
I am thankful for silly animals, a session with my massage therapist Jeana, and scooter days. I am thankful for you. Here's to an adventurous weekend and truly Thankful Friday!