I have always been a skip ahead kind of girl. When I play Candy Land with Lily, I always feel a deep thrill when I draw the Ice Cream Cone card and can skip ahead. I hate to rush, but love to get there. In an effort to avoid the rush, I just skip all the steps and head right where I want to be. Fake it until I make it, cross my fingers, stomp my feet, hold my breath and call it a day. My mother always referred to me as confident and imaginative. When really I am just scared and impatient.
It is a terrible habit, one that got me thrown out of architecture school and still stymies me in many endeavors. This is why I need yoga.
As a college freshman, I majored in architecture. My second semester, I sat in studio sketching the space around a dancer. At the time it seemed like the most idiotic and ridiculous thing. I wanted to be sketching buildings or gardens or sky scrapers. The 20 year old spinning around in ballet shoes was the furthest thing from architecture. My eye rolling, blank sketch pad and general aura of disrespect, led me to my professors office and eventually right out of the architecture program.
It took me until today, 14 years later, to understand why I had to sketch that dancer. This afternoon I set off to work on crane pose. Crane Pose is a challenging arm balance that loosely resembles a cross between hand stand and frog stand (remember in your elementary gymnastic days). It is hard. You cannot muscle into it. You cannot just stretch your way into it. You need the perfect balance of strength and flexibility. Over lunch I read what Yoga Journal had to say on Crane, Googled it, searched through my library and then sat on my mat. I centered, meditated and then decided to head right to crane.
I've never actually done Crane before. I've had it taught to me, but I've never really found Crane.
Ignoring everything I read, I just tried to jam myself into Crane. One article wanted me to work through navasana (boat pose); another suggested that I open my hips; yet another prescribed a month-long practice of core and arm strengthening. I ignored it all. After all, I am a yoga teacher. I am flexible. I am strong. I can do Crane.
As you can guess, I couldn't really do Crane. Jamming myself into Crane was ridiculous and frustrating. I walked away from my mat. I only came back because I had a lesson plan to work on. Going through the lesson, writing down some key points for my students--I thought back to that dancer and my ill-fated year in architecture school.
I was a student-a cocky, impatient and scared student. Scared that if I did not rush into "it", some how I would miss "it."
One of my favorite Shakespeare quotes (often used in yoga), reminds us: "How poor they are that have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degrees?" We have good days and bad days in life and in yoga class. But, we can't give up because we don't understand or don't have the patience to understand.
Yoga asana is a constant lesson in patience. This afternoon I went back to my mat. I made my intention to forget about "it," to forget about Crane and just follow a sequence of poses and see where I ended up. I did not make it to Crane. It might take 10 years. It might take a month. I have no idea, but now, finally, I have a little patience.