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My Week in Ashtanga Yoga (4.16.18-4.22.18)

I’d be lying if I said it was easy to maintain, but I have not allowed my yoga practice suffer as a result of graduate school. I am proud of myself for that. I refuse to sacrifice my daily devotional time for myself. I need it! It makes me a better person…a better therapist. How can I expect my clients to work toward their goals if I’m not working toward goals of my own? With two weeks until graduation, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. So for now, I’m being quite forgiving with myself in terms of my asana practice; as long as I show up on my mat and do my best, I’m pleased with myself. But the list of things I need to clean up is steadily growing, and on the top of that list is, of course, Dwi Pada Sirsasana.

It’s getting better. I’m able to get both legs behind my head pretty easily now, but I still have a lot of difficulty keeping my toes pointed instead of flexing my feet in order to hook them. Instead of hooking the feet to keep them fixed, I should be pulling my leg down my back by engaging my hip and hamstring. It’s frustrating because I would like to work so much harder at this asana that I physically am able to. Since it’s the last pose in my practice, I am already exhausted by the time I get to try it. After 3 attempts, I’m usually wiped and on the verge of hurling during backbends. But trusting the process, and working at it a little more every day.

My backbends are also re-working themselves. On Friday, with the help of my teacher, I caught my ankles in backbending for the first time in about a month. It was a great catch. I felt my spine crack several times, opening further than it ever has. I came up smiling and quickly sat down to take my forward fold. My teacher pressed me down further and said, “so good… next time, I’m letting go.” I can barely wrap my mind around the fact that my spine can bend backwards far enough to catch my ankles…. to be able to stand independently while doing so is mind-blowing to me.

Outside of the yoga studio, this practice is asking me to question how my perception (of myself and my abilities) holds me back in other ways. This weekend, I spent some time contemplating how I limit myself in terms of my every-day decisions–the relationships I pursue, the opportunities I seek out, the problems I tackle, even the biggest accomplishments I dream about achieving. I realize that sometimes just by setting a goal, I limit myself… which is silly because we all have truly an unlimited capacity to achieve. There is always going to be another problem…something else to overcome, but I trust myself to get past it.

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