Monday, September 20, 2010

The measuring stick

A few weeks ago I had one of those moments that feels like a punch to the stomach because of the clarity with which it reflects everything else that's going on in my life. The sense of deep tranquility and release I'm left with after my mind-blowing Squam experience makes me feel like I'm finally ready to target this, and thus I would like to share.

This is my standing bow posture.

So is this.

(It's one of my favorite postures, so I practice it whenever I can.)

I've been on the verge of locking my leg out for over a year and the damn thing just won't lock. It's not a problem of flexibility. I can do the splits. I can hyperextend my splits. I can sit in the splits and get into this posture. So why I cannot get into the posture when I'm standing was frustrating me beyond belief.

My "ta-da" moment hit me on the yoga mat a couple weeks ago as I was struggling in this very posture. It was actually a rather wordy, complex ta-da so bear with me.

I'm competitive by nature. It is one of my strengths, but more often than not my competitive side causes me more grief than good. And that day in the yoga room, as I balanced on one foot, kicking and stretching as hard as I could, I noticed myself keenly aware of the woman in front of me, whose leg was slightly closer to locked than mine. Every time she moved deeper into the posture, I pushed myself to go further, not wanting to be beaten. With every breath I kicked harder, yet I wasn't getting anywhere. I was blocked.

In that moment I saw clearly that I was COMPETING in yoga--the ultimate oxymoron. And I realized that up until that point, I had always been competing, measuring my practice against that of other yogis-- even teachers. I wanted to show the world that I was up to par with the best, even though I've only been practicing a short time, and inconsistently.

As I acknowledged the absurdity of it all, I saw how this was such a clear representation of my current struggle to move into my fullest self. I have been so consumed by the addictive need to measure myself against others, to determine my alleged value based on things external to me, that this in great part is what has kept me on the treadmill, unable to move forward. (See previous post.)

I'm not making any promises to have abandoned my competitive tendencies by making this public declaration, but I do somehow hope it will keep me accountable, on and off the mat. And I'm pretty certain that when I stop pushing, that leg will finally lock. I just need to LET GO!!


  1. help me understand this "locking" you speak of...

  2. It always happen when you do indeed let go. Just breathe;)