We have liftoff
I don’t like falling. I don’t like things that include the risk of me getting hurt. I tend to hold back a little to keep myself safe, maybe more than a little. Knowing this about me you can imagine discovering that crow pose, or bakasana, would become a regular part of my practice induced more than my usual amount of anxiety. This came about the same time I decided, at thirty years old, to learn how to ride a bike. All of a sudden there was the potential for a lot of falling in my life and that didn’t sit well with me.
At Power Life crow is included in every Level 1 class and usually as part, in some shape or form, of a Level 2. My first, and second through thirty seventh, instinct was that I could not do it. It would never be a thing for me. I held back. In arm balances, and riding a bike, holding back isn’t really an option. Being afraid of falling, generally, makes you fall.
Crow, while a challenge in itself, is a foundational posture to arm balances. It strengthens your arms, tones your core, and is a great transition to more challenging postures. You can read more about bakasana HERE. I’m lucky my studio does a fantastic breakdown to set students up for success in crow. Except, rather than absorbing how to make myself successful during the breakdown I would look at every tip as a reason why I couldn’t do it.
“Shift your weight into your arms” Um, have you seen my arms? They’re weak and I’m heavy. There is no way I can support myself.
“Hug up through your core.” Cool, yeah...I don’t have one of those. Like, at all.
“Look forward, really far forward, looking back will make you fall.” I don’t want to see the ground rushing up to meet my face. I’ll be looking at my feet if you need me. There’s a bigger life lesson there, but we can save that for another time.
“Breathe” If I breathe, I move, if I move, I fall.
Then I was reminded when you fight for your limitations, you get to keep them. Clinging desperately to why I couldn’t do things was chaining me to the ground. I decided I could and would do it, maybe not right then but eventually. I started actually trying, for real trying. I had bruises up and down my triceps from trying. I fell. I fell a lot. After a particularly brutal face plant I cried to Drew that I could only fall on my face so many times. And, in true Drew fashion he responded, “you can fall until you don’t.” He also recommended using a block in front of my face as a little bumper. Not sure which piece of advice was the bigger game changer.
I don’t know when things started to click but at some point I realized I really do need to look forward, way forward. Engaging where my core should be, still confident I have no such region in my body, makes a difference. Breathe. Don’t stop breathing. Not every crow is perfect. Some of them aren’t even “good.” Sometimes I can only hold it for a second or two. Sometimes it’s for a few breaths. Sometimes it’s wobbly. Sometimes it isn’t. But it’s part of my practice, something I choose to focus on to see how it changes day to day. And this week, for the first time, even if only for a split second, I held side crow. I fell on my face a few times to get there but it happened. After class the instructor stopped me for a minute to chat about my side crow, she had noticed there was a difference in my trying things. She asked what had changed and without even thinking I responded…
“I stopped being afraid to fall.”