Post-class savasana. The room is silent; the lights are off; students quietly gather their things and exit the hot room. I walk to the back of the room, stand with my back to the wall, about two feet away, and take a deep breath. I bend backwards and place my hands on the wall. Slowly, I place one palm a few inches lower on the wall. Then the other palm. Repeat. So I’m essentially “walking” down the wall. Soon, I’m less than a foot away from the floor. I’ve never been this far down before. I am terrified.

It is interesting to think about how I’ve gotten here. To this point. Now.

My yoga journey, though just barely over two years, has taken me through some interesting paths. Some parts have been wide open, clear, straight-forward, like a lush grassy field beneath a calming blue sky. Some have been rather stagnant, like a field of mud – I’m stuck, trying to wade through, but not making much progress. And some have been absolutely unexpected, in a bad way. Like taking a step only to have the ground give way beneath my feet.

Yes, at one point in my yoga journey, about a year into it, I fell through. I wasn’t watching where I was going; I had no idea that I was using the practice to push my body past its limits until my mind was numb, drowning out the disappointment and regret left by past empty holes in my life. I wasn’t using the yoga practice to cultivate awareness; rather, I was using it to shove the past into a corner out of sight instead of dealing with it directly. Yes, I fell through in my yoga practice, and landed in a crumpled pile, scarred, scared.

I didn’t return to the yoga room for month after month after month. I couldn’t bear the thought of stepping into that hot room, for fear of my mind once again non-stop racing through those criticisms and negative reinforcement that the practice brought up. The practice forced me to accept reality and be present… but I didn’t want to do that. So I just stopped practicing. It was interesting to experience (with sadness) how my physical practice, all the stamina and endurance, all the strength and flexibility that I had worked so hard for, slowly disappeared. There was a point when I would wake up every day in pain. I didn’t believe that my body, which once carried me to the stage at the National Bikram Yoga Championships in LA, was really mine. It certainly didn’t feel like it.

What was interesting, though, is that as so many aspects of my physical practice became inaccessible, my backbend did not change. It was still as strong and deep as it had always been. At the time, it was the only thing that reassured me that not every part of my yoga practice was slipping through my fingers and shattering on the ground…

But really, I love the yoga so much. It pained me not to practice, it tore both at my body and my soul. The process of returning to my yoga practice was a long one and certainly not easy. I was so emotionally attached to so many things (both positive and negative) and yoga forced me to realize that if I wanted to move on, with my yoga practice and with everything else, I had to let go of those attachments that were only holding me back.

Yoga introduced me to self-acceptance. At first, I hated it… but I grew to realize that self-acceptance is the only way to make progress in certain situations. Yoga taught me not to judge so much, not be so critical of myself.

Yoga taught me not to fear. Not to fear my possibilities.

Today, I think I took a huge leap in letting go of that fear. In that backbend, my hands less than a foot away from that floor… I decided to let all inhibitions aside and take the final step, the final step of taking my hand off the wall and trusting that I can place it on the floor without collapsing.

I did it. I backward bended and touched the floor. I trusted myself. I didn’t collapse.

Letting go of fear… it’s very powerful.

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7 Responses to Powerful.

  1. Wow, this was such a powerful post. I see myself in many of your words even though I never had an established practice before I quit last year. It sounds like you are glad to be back, as I am . Your post reminds me of the quote : 'Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure…'

  2. "Yoga taught me not to fear. Not to fear my possibilities."Another way of putting this, I think, is that yoga teaches you not to fear your POTENTIAL, in the hot room and in life. We are so much stronger than we give ourselves credit. Beautiful post.

  3. catherine says:

    Yes. Yes, yes, yes. My backbend, too, has been the only thing that stayed with me after nonpractice for almost two years. It's good to be back, isn't it? *hugs*

  4. Yolk E says:

    Nothing to say except… wow. What a journey you've been on, huh? Hannah said it; it's our potential that we're afraid to reach for. In breaking out of our comfort zone in the classroom, we do the same i life. I honestly don't know how we'd get there otherwise.As usual, it's so good to read your posts! 🙂

  5. Big G says:

    Great post. I'm glad you're back in the hot room:)

  6. anna says:

    hey I want to get in touch with you to get your address etc. for your prize! but don't want either of us to type our emails out in internet world… you can find my email at my biz website http://www.thebenefitsalliance.com

  7. Is there even anything to say about this? I don't have the words. Awesome.

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