Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How powerful this mind can be.

Now that I’ve been practicing for some time, I find yoga to be a brilliant teacher. For someone who is very typical of the western mindset (meaning my thoughts are constantly a mile a minute… It is constantly a challenge to quiet them) exercising mindfulness honestly enlightens me. Yesterday’s practice offered me one of those moments.

Scorpion pose is a very challenging but gratifying posture. At first glance, it seems worthy of Cirque du Soleil: a pretzel-like pose achieved by balancing on your hands. 

An example of my oh-so-talented friend B mastering Scorpion on a gorgeous day this past summer.

However, your perception can make all the difference. As my instructor illustrated, it is basically dolphin pose (balancing on your forearms) with a back bend.  She also reminded us to “look up” (a step I somehow always missed). A simple piece of advice I know, but somehow it clicked. The way you internalize a concept mentally can largely affect your ability to execute it. I can perform both aspects individually, but with that little added awakening, I decided I could do this. 

And with that snap decision, I did. I had been working this pose for quite some time, and suddenly I jumped the hurdle. It made me realize just to what extent our minds play a role in our ability, and how much our own confidence and drive and make or break an accomplishment. Having spoken to a recent iron man athlete, he admitted that after a time, completing such a feat is all in your mind. The training is intense, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to focusing your mind to do it.

It’s simple, but deeply reassuring, not to mention powerful, once I fully internalized it. For someone as motivated and ambitious as I can be (not always a good quality I find), this was huge. You control what you choose to accomplish. Cliché perhaps, but definitely inspiring.