I recently took up yoga and so much about what I am learning in this journey can be used in every aspect of life. We are not perfect or good at anything in the beginning of a goal. Be willing to be bad, make mistakes, be wobbly in order to learn and become strong. The goal is always there waiting, so surrender to the process, fall in love with it and in that? You will find joy and happiness. But it took me beginning my yoga practice to really get this for the first time in my life. (keep reading below Mouse if you want to hear about it.)
I started my yoga journey at the very end of December – literally December 31, 2014. I had never taken yoga before and I’m not gonna lie, it was intimidating. But for some reason, I saw a random yoga post on Instagram of Irene Pappas. This woman was AMAZING. I mean, I was in awe of what she could make her body do. I followed her on a whim – I mean, me? Yoga? I am this big, uncoordinated lady who comes from Iowa farm stock – you know the kind, big birthing hips! Yoga was not for people with MY body type. Yoga was for thin, light, flexible girls who were probably gymnasts as kids.
Big secret? I was always so jealous of those girls when I was little. You know the ones – they could do headstands, handstands, back handsprings, cartwheels. Me? I was a chunky monkey little girl and my body was staying squarely planted on the GROUND. I played softball – and I was GOOD I might add. (I once had a track and field coach literally BEG me to come do shot put instead of softball one year. Have you seen most women shot-putters? Can you imagine how that made a teenage girl feel? Yeah, I stuck with softball thankyouverymuch.) I was confident with my abilities there, but I always was jealous of those gymnast girls who had such control of their bodies in ways I could never fathom having.
Fast forward to about a month and a half ago. Why this woman Irene intrigued me so, I have no idea. I looked her up. I found out she had only begun her yoga practice in 2012. I was IN AWE. She’d only started 3 years ago?? Now, maybe she had been a gymnast in her past, but still she only BEGAN yoga 2 years ago. That was when that first kernel began. “What if?” I thought.
Then on her Instagram one day I saw her advertise an online yoga class she had for beginners. And that was it. I had to try. I told no one I was doing this. I didn’t want anyone to know in case I was such a big, fat failure.
And so I began. (And side note, she follows me on the app I log my workouts with, and she actually comments to me!! How cool is THAT?!) And like anything anyone starts with no experience, I was not good. I have ZERO flexibility. Years of running with very little stretching has made my muscles super tight. I could barely touch my toes the first day. But then there were some poses that I was so GOOD at. I am strong. I have always prided myself on how strong I am and I was good with strength poses. That inspired me to keep going.
Something Irene says in her class is, “For some of us in yoga, flexibility is our strong point, for others strength is our strong point. Figure out where you are and work harder on the weaker point.” I have strength and I have to work lots and lots on becoming flexible. But I know I can do it. And I will.
My biggest goal for some reason, was to do a headstand. It was something I could see in my head doing. But I was scared. I was so scared of trying and finding out I couldn’t do it. So I did lots of prep poses to strengthen my shoulders and core hoping that whenever I decided to try, maybe just MAYBE I could do it.
Well, just two weeks ago, I did my first inversion! And I was ELATED! Only after I did it, did I realize how much I had brought my childhood fears right along with me on my journey to adulthood. I was strong enough, but I had been too scared to try. When I did this pose below, I felt like I had let years of fear go. I just dropped it off and watched it drift away. And the little girl Michelle inside me? Well, she was jumping and cheering and giving me high fives for finally letting her experience a dream!
How often have I done this before? Let fear stop me? Well, I waited an awfully long time to try to get published because of the same type of fear. And once I started trying to write books? I was awful. And wobbly. And terrible. But I got better. And I began to love trying to get better. And now? I just sold my 6th book.
And so? It worked with books, so I kept trying with yoga too. And then this happened!
Then I wanted to try supported headstand, but for some reason I was really scared of that one. But then just yesterday, I decided to try. And? BAM, Y’ALL!
I guess some life lessons require learning lots of different ways to get into our heads. Maybe begin upside down, this time it will stick. What other experiences have I not tried simply out of fear?
(And y’all KNOW I want to do a handstand. So, I’ll keep you posted.)
What is it YOU want to try in life? My advice? Begin. Be willing to be terrible and wobbly and awful. And fall in love with the process of getting stronger, more flexible in whatever it is you want. Because if you don’t quit? It absolutely WILL happen. And trust me, if I can do it? SO CAN YOU. I promise.