Friday, March 11, 2011

My deep, dark secret...

My deep, dark secret.

I have, until very recently, had a deep, dark, secret.  Well, it’s not really a secret, as everyone in yoga class (my students and teacher very much included) can see it clear as day, but it’s something that, for some reason having much to do with my ultra-powerful ego, I never wanted to admit.

Ok, here it goes.  Until about one week ago, my arms didn’t straighten.

I’d be in class, in urdvha hastasana, and would just wait for the inevitable, “straighten your arms, Kat! No, really, straighten them!”  Or in down dog.  “Press your arms down to straighten the elbows, Kat!”

And trust me, I was trying.  I wanted so badly to look just like my teachers, and like my fellow students, but due to some combination of genetics and muscle tightness, my arms hypo-extend. And no, that’s not a real word.

Le sigh.

After years of dealing with this, I finally went to my mentor, Chrissy, and asked for some help.  She gave me some fabulous instructions (bring your arms out in front of you, rotate the biceps towards the ceiling and the triceps to the floor, then raise the arms from there, stopping when they start to buckle.  Let the inner edge of the shoulder blade up towards the sky, and the outer edge descend.)

After a week of doing the correct modification for me, my arms are vastly straighter, and I can come to straight arms fairly easily from most positions.

Which caused me to ponder, if it only took a week to correct the imbalance, why did I wait so long to talk about it, to ask about it, to question it?

It’s that old ego coming into play – the one that insists that I look, act, and perform just like everyone else, or else I am inadequate. 

Once I let go of needing to be just like everyone else, and started to love my body for it's...well...quirks, I found myself able to focus on my own practice, which quickly transformed.

This apparently is a lesson I have to keep learning over and over, through injury and disappointment, but it’s a lesson that I hope will actually sink in someday soon.

Until then, I’ll just keep plugging away, for a long period of time, with passionate interest, and without attachment to result.

Thank Goodness for the Sutras, right?


  1. I'm so proud of your honesty, openness and willingness to share your experiences to help others. xoxo mom