Pincha Mayurasana

Pincha Mayurasana forearm balance

Last week, my love of yoga was put to the test. Traffic was so thick on southbound I25, backed up to 120th Street, because of an accident or some holdup I never actually saw with my own eyes. There came a point in the commute home that I just had to surrender to the fact that I wasn’t making yoga. (And it was a Thursday class. My second favorite of the week. I despise missing Thursday classes.) But not before I let out a stream of curses that lasted for miles, at one point involuntarily yelling out Fuck—I didn’t even know it was coming, my body took over and reacted in a way I have not experienced before, or at least for quite some time—and reaching up to punch the roof of my car. As quickly as I threw my fist in the air is as quickly as I stopped it before making contact—instinctively, I knew throwing a tantrum is not how a yogi, or a sane person, goes about life. But I continued to picture the freak out in my head: my knuckles slamming into the roof, I immediately imagined my swelling hand and the pain I would feel (I’m a rational person, I would never actually inflict pain on myself—I just write stories in my head). But, I have to admit, I didn’t feel silly after this little outburst. I didn’t feel like I was being too dramatic??? If some person beside me saw me act all crazy-like, so be it is what I thought. I submitted to the anger, (built up from a particularly rough week) repeated the mantra in my head, “please let me make it to this class, please let me make it to this class,” as I navigated between three lanes, filling in holes that might gain me time and millage. In the end, I missed my second favorite class of the week by eight minutes. I’m thankful it was eight minutes and not three. If it had been only three, I undoubtedly would have been impossible to be around the rest of the night.

This week, as I practiced, I felt a certain calm that I haven’t felt in quite a while in class. I reflected on my emotions on Thursday, on my imagined injury, on my frustration level, my inability to let go, my need to push, and realized: I still am not ashamed. Honestly. I still feel that my reaction was true, for how much I wanted to move in a sea of sweaty yoga poses, for how much I wanted to pull energy out of the floor and ground myself in my place. I also realized I have some growing to do in the surrender department. Toward the end of class, as I raised my right leg up into the air with more calm and grace than I’ve ever, ever done in Pincha-Mayurasana forearm-balance pose and so slowly but unsteadily brought my left leg to meet it, standing straight into the air, I felt true surrender for a few happy seconds in what patience, understanding, balance, and nurturing of a practice can bring.