In addition to my obvious and possibly extreme competitive nature, please add to that a need to be the teacher’s pet. (Baby Jane, why do I automatically assume that you too are the same?)
I could attempt to pop-psychologise and say it’s because the ultimate in competition would be against the instructor – the acme of performance – but that disrespects my own sensibilities as I am extremely respectful of the role of any teacher.
Mama was a teacher; maybe that’s it?
No matter. Point is, competitiveness means I work hard to excel. Ultimate validation of excellent performance comes primarily from myself, and then as equally important, it must come from the individual teaching me.
In this case, her name is Amber (she of my two favourite yogic guides). A beautiful blonde Amazon with legs for miles; legs which could out-stand, out-bend, out-run any man or woman any of us know, unless some of us know professional athletes. Even then, I would say that depends on the nature of the game.
Exhibit A; she performed the following pose for 10 minutes and nearly cried at the end, but did not come out of the pose.
A Runner’s Lunge, with shoulders to the inside of the knee of the forward leg, and fingers then intertwined in front of that same forward leg’s ankle.
I completed that pose for approximately 45 seconds; a slice of heaven for the first 15 seconds, at which point the reality gnome stepped in and punched me squarely in the bottom (such a b-stard, he is). I nearly collapsed in to a sobbing heap, looking for my mother, this a little awkward as I was in the yoga studio with 54 other adults.
Right. Enough about her, back to me.
For the last few days, I have been performing Power Flow yoga rather than Moksha; thought it only appropriate to up the ante this last week. During Power Flow, Amber recommends that we perform Bridge Pose, at which time two or three individuals would then majically swoop up on to their hands and land in Wheel Pose.
Cue my competitiveness and I was left offended that others were outperforming me.
And so three days ago, I began forcing myself to do a wonky half-assed Wheel Pose, legs poised properly and arms in the right place, only I couldn’t force the rest of my body up properly and so had five points on the ground (including the top of my head, hands and feet), rather than four (only feet and hands) which is the proper way to perform this Pose.
Yesterday, Amber came over, stood at the top of my head, and told me to grab her ankles hard and then push my body up towards her, while she placed her hands beneath my back to brace me. I did just that and there I was in Bridge Pose, with the help of this amazing Amazon person…my head hanging back and I staring at the wall behind me.
Today, she did the same thing. We had three goes at it, and she helped me through the first two, at the end of which I said to her: “One day, I’ll be able to do this without your help”, and she said: “I know!”
She walked across the room for the third one, in order to help another individual in the class.
I don’t know what happened. I don’t know how my body did it, but I am not asking questions. Suddenly, I was doing this on my own…
…and I nearly screamed out AMBER!! because I was so worried she wouldn’t see me. I didn’t, though, because the reality gnome (you b-stard!) screamed inside my head: “Shut up! This is a QUIET room!”
But she did; she said that she couldn’t miss me. She said I had the biggest smile on my face and I was so highly arched and ‘open’. I don’t know what ‘open’ means, but it’s a term used by both Amber and my other favourite instructor when something is good. So it was something good.
When it was time to come out of the pose, I was terrified I would fall over and break my neck. But I didn’t. I listened to Amber and tucked my chin in and rolled down like a sane person. Then I laid on my mat and cried quietly out of sheer euphoria. (A sucker is born every minute, ladies and gentlemen.). I DID IT!!!! I did what had just been impossible!!!!
Amber came over and patted me excitedly on the head, like I was a little puppy who had just performed the most awesome trick, and as I was leaving the studio, told me I made her day.
She also made mine, and even as I type, I am still a little overwhelmed by this little breakthrough.
Thank you thank you thank you for and to every thing, most of all the Amazon.
Three days left. Amazing.
Image courtesy of Yoga(dot)am