Doing it despite the fear.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Falling and flying

Today I thought I would do a progress report on my yoga practice. 
I have been practicing daily (more or less) since March 1, which marks today as day 101!

Yoga is a wonderful, humbling practice. There are many days when I feel like I can't do anything right: I keep falling over, my muscles feel as tight and inflexible as iron rods and I don't manage the simplest poses. But by showing up day after day on the mat you do get stronger and more flexible, little by little. In fact, the changes happen so gradually that I wouldn't even realize it, were it not for the pictures.

I take photos of my practice for a variety of reasons:
1. To see if I do the pose right. Since I practice mostly outside, without a mirror or a teacher for feedback, I rely on the photos to see if I do the poses correctly. It's amazing how different it can feel from what it looks like:  
Top picture found here
2. To stay accountable. I share a lot of my yoga pictures on Instagram for challenges I participate in. Frankly, without the challenges I would have given up a long time ago. They keep me motivated, and the support of the yoga community on IG is incredible! Joining it has been one of the best decisions I have made this year.

3. To document progress. Like I said before, most changes are so small that they are not immediately noticeable. However, by looking through old photos I can see that there actually is progress, which is such a huge confidence booster! Wanna take a look with me?

Crow/crane pose, or Bakasana
Yogis always refer to flying when they get up in crow pose. It was the first arm balance I ever did, and is still a favourite. However, just as often as I have taken flight I took a fall - falling is a daily part of the practice for me. I'm curious to see if it will ever change.

Flamingo pose
I copied this pose from a fellow yogi on Instagram, not sure if it's a "real" yoga pose or not. But it's fun, and after some practice I have now managed to wrap my arms around myself without the help of a strap!

Side crow or Parsva Bakasana
I'm still shaky and can only hold side crow for a few seconds, but I love it! Another fave.

Then there are the poses were I have made no progress whatsoever. Like Firefly:
Firefly pose or Tittibhasana
The legs are supposed to be straight, but my hamstrings have other ideas. 

Even worse is doing the splits. I have never been able to do them, and if I keep going at this rate I won't ever get there. 
Two months, no change

I have to admit that I am not practicing them every day either - gotta get on that.

But despite a few setbacks, yesterday was a big day for me: I managed the elusive grasshopper pose for the first time!
Grasshopper pose
I have been trying to do that one for at least two months, and yesterday I managed it! I did end up falling on my face right after the picture was taken (startled the puppy), but I don't care: Perseverance paid off! Best feeling ever. 

My main fitness goal for this year is being able to do a freestanding handstand, and I am practicing every single day. In case you are wondering how that is going, Google+ did a nice little movie of my handstand tries that shows my current stage perfectly: 
video

Still a long way to go, but you know what? We didn't learn how to walk in a day either, and managed it eventually after falling a thousand times. I'm confident with enough determination it will come. 

Other yoga goals I have are getting comfortable in lotus:
Elevated lotus pose or Utthita Padmasana
Right now it's still quite painful, and I'm sure it's not supposed to be. 

Do more experimenting with arm balances:
Hurdler's pose or Eka Pada Koundiyanasana II
And manage this sequence one day: 

Holy ABS, she's strong!

Before I leave you, here is one of the videos I sometimes watch and dream of doing myself one day:

I may have shared this one before - isn't she amazing?

One day, one day...






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20 comments

  1. wow, the progress! must be the best feeling in the world to see how your practise pays off. i'm not a big yoga enthusiast, but i really like seeing how much fun you have with it. keep up the good work!

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  2. You are very impressive to me! Way to go!!

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  3. You amaze me. And inspire me. I really need to get back to yoga. And these photos just make me want to do it right this second. Although it would take me a LOT longer than three months to get anywhere near able to manage most of those poses. But hey, you gotta start somewhere.

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  4. Absolutely amazing progress! You are so strong, keep up the hard work, it's totally paying off :)
    -Linds

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  5. You have made such outstanding progress!! The photos don't lie. It's so inspiring.
    Also inspiring are those two videos at the end. Such strength! It's awesome. And you'll get there!

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  6. These before and after pictures are awesome! I am really impressed. It's hard to see change in small amounts, but documenting it like this is such a great idea!

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  7. I will! I love how it's making me feel, and it's so empowering to get stronger. :-)

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  8. Thanks Bailie, I love it!

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  9. The physical progress is rewarding, but what really makes me get on my mat every day is how amazing it makes me feel physically and mentally. Yoga helps me let go of anger and doubt and trust in myself. It teaches you to find happiness in yourself. I'm also getting to know my body in ways I never have before, and I keep being impressed by what it is capable of.
    Give it a try again! I hope you will fall (back) in love with the practice. ❤

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  10. Thanks my friend! Some days it feels like I'm going one step forward and two back. Yoga definitely teaches patience! But it feels amazing, and it will be so interesting to find out what my body is capable of :-)

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  11. That kind of body control is something I admire so much. It's so awe-inspiring! Will my ordinary body be able to do that one day? It seems impossible. Can't wait to find out ❤

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  12. Without it I don't think I would be so motivated. Being part of a yoga community where we support and encourage each other is amazing! Plus it's completely free. Win/win!

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  13. Holy shit! That last sequence is AMAZING, almost unreal. I love when I'm able to finally do a pose I've been working on for a long time. I held bird of paradise for a solid minute last week and was giddy! You've made great progress Miriam.

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  14. One minute??!! That's insane! I can barely stand up in it, let alone hold it any amount of time. You rock it! Seeing yourself getting stronger and more accomplished is a fantastic feeling. Yay yoga!

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  15. What?! Is that girl made out of rubber? Oh Miriam, I'm pretty sure you will get there!! Can't wait for your video take on that :)

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  16. You have come so far in the past 101 days! And I do see some progress in the front leg of that split :)
    Kino is freakin amazing! I lovr her so much :)

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  17. Me, too! She's such a beautiful person inside and out. And thanks for noticing the teeniest, tiniest little improvement in my inflexible splits ;-)

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  18. Haha, just give me 10 years or so ;-)

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  19. I was thinking about the picture taking of the poses the other day, and how I bet it does help to see your progress and how you are aligning. You have made amazing progress. I second Mary, I totally could tell your front leg is straighter in the second pose. Very amazing M!

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  20. Thank you M! It's crazy how different the body can feel from what it looks like. I could swear half the time that my legs are straight, but when I look at the pictures they totally are not. It's such a helpful tool!

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